WEST END BARES, the hottest theatrical fundraiser of the year, that benefits the Make A Difference Trust, is back bigger and barer for 2016 with two shows on Sunday 25 September at 7.00pm and 9.30pm. After six sell out years, this year’s show is moving to the beautiful Novello Theatre in the heart of the West End. So with just over a week to go to the show we thought what better way to get excited for this year’s performance? Interview some of the cast of course. Over the next week some of the hottest West End stars will be baring all and revealing everything from what they’re doing in the show to when they last got naked.


Ben Irish


Illustration of West End Performer Ben Irish for Excalibare


Taking to the West End Bares stage for the first time is a daunting experience but one that Ben is looking forward to being a part of. Having worked extremely hard on his body over the years he is ready to show it off. And we don’t blame him. Nonetheless there is more to Ben than just pecs and a charming smile. He’s full of personality and his career is going from strength to strength. So before he takes his clothes off we got him to keep his clothes on and fill us in on everything from his favourite Snapchat filter to what we can expect from his performance in the show.



Hey, how are you?

Hi, I’m ok thanks, sore but well.


So talk us through a typical day in the life for you right now?


A typical day in the lead up to West End Bares is pretty much based around food and fitness. Wake up and eat porridge straight away then an hour later have a proper breakfast ready to head to the gym (with a friend) to have a heavy work out, leave the gym for food and a break then go back to another gym for cardio and light weights followed by more food. My Snapchat story must be very dull at the minute, I apologize! Other than that I’m just fitting in guitar practice, drinking good coffee (skinny) and watching Orphan Black on Netflix!


So for those of us who don’t know you, start by telling us a little about West End Bares and what does it mean to you?


Well this will be my first West End Bares, soooo, I’m pretty nervous about the whole thing. I mean I’ve done charity gigs before with little rehearsal and you kind of thrive off the excitement, but I’ve never done it whilst taking my clothes of. But hearing about the show for years through friends it sounds like it’s a laugh and a great way to raise money for such a good cause.


So what made you want to be part of the West End Bares experience?


I’ve always had a passion for doing things for charity weather it’s a sporting event, Tough Mudder, a concert or just a simple bake sale but taking my clothes off is one I never thought I’d have the confidence for…and I just thought why not, if all I have to do is take off a few layers…all of the layers 😳 to be able to raise money for MAD, on paper it should be the easiest of them all!

As a performer there are obviously times when you have to show off your body, is that something that feels natural to you?  Or are you nervous about baring all on stage?
I think going through 3 years at drama school on a musical theatre course, and just working in the industry you get used to not wearing too much and being comfortable around your peers or colleagues weather its changing for class or quick changes side stage, but getting naked on stage is totally different! I’ve never been very body confident as I’ve always been the tall skinny one and hated it since being a teenager. It’s always been a real struggle to put on weight over the years especially when doing what we do you have to be so active.

I know people will read this thinking “oh poor you, you can eat what you want!😒”

But it’s just as frustrating as when someone is struggling to lose weight but because people aren’t calling you fat they think it’s ok to comment on how “skinny” or “thin” you are when it’s just as hurtful. I’ve only really started putting on weight over the past two years spending lots of time and money in gyms to try and change how I look. I also met one of my now best friends, Will Lucas, around that time who has taught me a great deal and I owe him a lot in helping me change the way I look. I do now feel a lot more body confidence in myself and though I know I still have a long way to go, I’m heading in the right direction slowly. 

Have you been doing anything special to prepare for the show?


I guess we are all doing similar things in preparation for the show. Personally I’ve upped my gym routine to twice a day, 6 days a week, moisturizing the skin, keeping body hair at bay and I’m yet to be introduced to the world of fake tan! Then just rehearsing with the guys and girls in my number, who are all brilliant and we have such a laugh in rehearsals, making it all the more relaxing to bare all!


What are you most excited for about the bares experience?


Performing in the beautiful Novello theatre with so many friends, the atmosphere is going to be great!


Can you tell us anything about your performance in the show?


Hmmm…..what to give away?!? I’m performing in the opening number written and composed by the brilliantly witty and talented Mark Anderson and Luke Di Somma, I think it’s going to be a great start to the evening and the amount of [poppers on the] costumes is ridiculous!


Why should people come see the show, apart from helping such a great cause?


People should come and see the show for the great entertainment on show, the dancing, singing, lots of laughs and getting to see the people you normally watch on stage in a way you’ll never have seen them before!


Quick Bares with Ben Irish…




Follow Ben on Twitter:  @bencirish

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Tickets for WEST END BARES are now on sale  and available from www.delfontmackintosh.co.ukwww.seetickets.com, the DMT WEST END BARES booking line 0844 482 5172 and in person at the Novello Theatre Box Office. *Booking fees apply. Exclusive VIP packages are available through DMT Hospitality (0844 482 5166).