Next month, the third in the #CircusVoices series of opportunities for circus artists to develop their critical practise is taking place in association with Circus City festival in Bristol, UK. Making work is one thing but, it seems, talking about that work or communicating on a wider scale is another. Over the last four years I have been growing my mission to create a culture of critical discourse within circus, such as that already established in other arts. The #CircusVoices residencies, which began at Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2016, are a key progression of these aims.
When I first began writing about circus performance, it was as a result of several years of frustration at the black hole of information surrounding circus artists and their work. Several years of irritation at never being able to find any details or reviews of the shows and companies I was interested in. I had begun my career as an actor and theatre maker and, in 2008, found myself suddenly immersed in circus after applying for a 2-week volunteer residency with NoFit State Circus – then on tour with their show Tabù – in order to learn acrobatic skills that would enhance my performance resume. In the daytimes, I would train aerial, tightwire, German wheel… the various disciplines the artists performed in the show – in between site chores such as cleaning toilets, cooking meals or putting up fencing. When the lights went down, I would sell programmes or work the ...
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