Alyssa Kitt Hanley is one of the world’s leading minds and behinds of the global industry and art-form of the burly Q. Beginning her career in the emerging boom of Australia’s neo-burlesque revival in 2007, she has been at the forefront of shaping the modern world of burlesque. With 16 years experience in burlesque, she is renowned as one of Australia’s most in-demand performers and teachers. Based in New York City, she is a specialist burlesque historian, journalist, writer, researcher and lecturer.

Alyssa is currently undertaking her PhD in Theatre and Performance Studies at City University New York. She is a graduate teaching fellow and lectures in theatre history and production at Brooklyn College. Her academic focus is on erotic performance art, burlesque and striptease history, censorship of the body and contemporary theatrical sites of performative counter-culture. Her current research intersects with queer theory, theatre of the grotesque, physical dramaturgy, contemporary dance and ecology. Her specialist historical areas focus on Australia’s unique stripping history, including Sydney’s erotic performance art history from the 1970s-2000s – mapping the queer feminist strip-art activism in Australia’s neo-burlesque revival.

As a theatrical practitioner – she is a physical dramaturg, director, choreographer and conceptual creative powerhouse. Known as The Feminist Fatale Alyssa is renowned as a fierce and formidable presence on both the page and the stage. Her explosively powerful choreography and deeply moving energetic stagecraft has seen her twice selected to compete for Queen of Burlesque, Miss Exotic World at the Burlesque Hall of Fame in Las Vegas (2022, 2017). She has toured extensively both Australia and internationally as a headliner. Alyssa is the Director of the Australian Burlesque Museum and the Associate Producer of Mx Burlesque Australia. Her in-depth knowledge has been foundational in reimagining and rebranding Mx Burlesque Australia.

Photography by Joel Devereux

Research Interests

  • Burlesque
  • Erotic performance art
  • Queer theory
  • Contemporary dance