I've been spending a lot of time photographing life backstage life as part of my ongoing project, 'Beginners'. Productions I've covered range from costume dramas in West End theatres to small scale touring shows. Last year, as I was photographing actor and friend Andy Hockley applying his lipstick and heaving on his huge padded undergarments for his eponymous role in Mother Goose, I realised that the subject of 'The Dame' was fascinating in its own right. A year later, as theatres around the UK launch their panto season, I've decided to tour round the country, going backstage to meet and document a selection of our favourite dames in every part of the UK.
Here are the initial photos that inspired the project: