Circus News

Closer Short Circus Film from Jacksons Lane

Jacksons Lane arts centre has released a contemporary circus short film, Closer, produced by an international collaboration during lockdown between circus companies from Germany, Finland and England.
Closer film
Sasu Peistola of Agit-Cirq balances life outside with some chairs

Shot entirely outside, Closer features seven circus artists against the backdrops of magnificent Berlin colonnades, Helsinki’s urban wetlands and the historic skyline of Norwich, performing from sculptures, swing-sets, benches and bridges. Developed to help outdoor artists negatively affected by Covid-19, the film offered an exciting opportunity to explore new ways of working while touring and performing were unfeasible.

Closer, created with financial support from 101 Outdoor Arts, was produced in collaboration with Jacksons Lane’s Artistic Director Adrian Berry, who acted as outside artistic eye. The project builds on the arts centre’s strong relationships with each company – Jacksons Lane has produced and internationally toured work by Lost in Translation Circus, and hosted the London premieres of productions by Agit-Cirk and Still Hungry at CircusFest and the London International Mime Festival, respectively.

Adrian Berry comments, “We began this collaboration pretty much at the start of lockdown and it was the first creative ‘live’ initiative we produced. It was thrilling to work with three of my favourite circus companies who really gelled. I found the whole project profoundly moving and it really helped the artists get back in their feet during an incredibly difficult time.”

Berry describes how the project came to be, “One of the main drives for Closer was for myself and Jacksons Lane to create for these artists, at a time when they may have believed it impossible, the opportunity for artistic freedom and the impetus to adapt, dream and collaborate. Although they had never met before, the relationships became deeply caring, symbiotic and nurturing, which I feel comes through very strongly in the film.”

Head of 101 & Outdoor Programmes at Corn Exchange Newbury Danielle Corbishley adds, “We are delighted to have been able to play a small part in helping to make this fantastic collaboration spark as part of our 101 Digital R&D Awards. For this collaboration Jacksons Lane have sensitively brought together three excellent companies from across the continent to remind us all how resonant the universal language of circus can be in the face of adversity.”

The film is tied together by the three companies’ exploration of intimacy and touch in a year of distance and finding community in a time of solitude. Aerial rope, aerial straps, contortion, and hand-to-hand acrobatics are featured alongside many other circus skills.

The project forms part of Jacksons Lane’s digital programme of work, launched while arts organisations were shuttered during the 2020 lockdown. This programme spans artistic and creative engagement output, including the bitesize JL Shorts series teaching accessible circus tricks, long-form Quarantine Sessions teaching young people performance skills and Circolation, a round-up of lockdown circus.

All photos provided courtesy of Jacksons Lane. Feature photo Romy Seibt of Still Hungry climbs the walls

Kim Campbell

Kim Campbell is the chief content officer of CircusTalk and the editor-in-chief of CircusTalk News. They have written about circus for Spectacle magazine, Circus Now, Circus Promoters and were a resident for Circus Stories, Le Cirque Vu Par with En Piste in 2015 at the Montreal Completement Cirque Festival. They are the former editor of American Circus Educators magazine, as well as a staff writer for the web publication Third Coast Review, where they write about circus, theatre, arts and culture. Kim is a member of the American Theater Critics Association. In 2019 as the editor for CircusTalk News, Kim was on the jury at el Festival Iberoamericano de Circo (FIRCO) and presented the first CircusTalk Critic's Choice Award. In 2021, Kim was on the voting committee for the International Circus Awards.