Wilton's

Male impersonators of the Victorian stage, a talk by Amber Butchart

16th May . 7pm to 8pm . Approx 60 minutes
Free (reservation recommended)

‘Masculine’ dressing has become such a staple of the style media that it’s easy to forget just how transgressive it once was to dress in clothing that was deemed inappropriate for your gender. Male impersonators were a popular feature of 19th century entertainment. This talk looks at the history of women in trousers on the stage and in style, with a focus on the Victorian music hall from Vesta Tilley - at one time the highest earning woman in the country - to Jenny Hill who performed at Wilton’s. 

Amber Butchart is a fashion historian working across cultural heritage, broadcasting and academia. She is an Associate Lecturer in Cultural & Historical Studies at London College of Fashion and has contributed to numerous productions for the BBC, Sky Arts and Channel 4, from Making History and Woman’s Hour to Great British Sewing Bee. She presents a regular ‘In Conversation’ series at the V&A museum covering areas from Shakespeare to David Bowie and is the author of 'Nautical Chic', the first ever book to chart the history of high style on the high seas - looking at the influence of maritime dress and history on our wardrobes. Somehow, she finds time to be the red-haired half of the Radio Academy Award-nominated DJ duo The Broken Hearts, a guise in which some of you may already have seen her here at Wilton's. 

The talk will be followed by a short Q&A session.

Photography by Kensington Leverne and Fanni Williams

Part of our series of free heritage workshops supported by Heritage Lottery Fund.

Supported by:Heritage Lottery Fund
  • HLF 2
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