The Empire Strips Back: A Star Wars Burlesque Parody

05/02/2016 4:46 PM AEDT | Updated July 15, 2016 12:51
Empire Strips Back

Star Wars has permeated practically every facet of our culture.

From droid building workshops to heavy metal tribute bands - even a lightsaber academy that teaches special need kids valuable life skills.

So what could possibly be next? A touring burlesque show complete with custom built costumes, movie props and a chorus line of dancing stormtroopers?

Check your local entertainment guide people, it’s coming to a theatre near you.


With Star Wars mania in hyperdrive, there’s no letting up for the Empire Strips Back -- the Star Wars burlesque parody that is the brainchild of Sydney based creative director Russall S. Beattie.

“Our shows aren’t gratuitous,” Beattie told HuffPost Australia.

"Our audience is probably 50 percent female and we have age groups from 18 to 70."

Beattie designed the show for the small stage, but the public appetite for dominatrix Darth Vaders and gyrating Jedis saw the show expanding to larger venues.

And how do they get away with it?

Australia’s parody laws provide the necessary safeguard against any objections Disney might have on copyright grounds.

“We are parody show, we have no affiliation with Disney whatsoever,” Beattie said.

“You just have to respect the people who you are parodying. You can laugh along with them, not at them."

This respect for the source material is evident in the painstaking attention to detail put into the production.

To build the expanded show, Beattie assembled a team which included people who worked on the original Star Wars films.

For six months they designed and built all the costumes and props, bringing the iconic movie imagery to life.

“That’s the biggest kick I got out of it, taking these things from my childhood that only existed in the scope of film, and making it work in real life," he said.

The Empire Strips Back is touring Australia now and a U.S. tour is being planned.

Check their website for dates.

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