Revolutionary integrated circus company Extraordinary Bodies is returning to Woolwich Works this October with their brand-new production: Delicate. Raw and relatable, this new circus show is all about what it means to be delicate and combines physical theatre, acrobatics, dance and ballet from a dancer who hasn’t performed ballet professionally in over fifty years. Extraordinary Bodies is a collaboration between Cirque Bijou and Diverse City, who have worked together for the last decade creating multi-disciplinary circus shows with disabled and non-disabled artists.
Touring in the UK in autumn 2022, Delicateis a show in three acts: chaos, acceptance, and renewal. It was conceived and written by Jamie Beddard and brought to life for the stage by co-directors Eilís Davis and Lydia Harper. Presented by Extraordinary Bodies and co-produced with Figurteatret i Nordland (Nordland Visual Theatre) and Theatre Royal Plymouth, Delicate is BSL-interpreted, audio described and captioned.
Delicate revolves around four different characters united in their frustration at their bodies changing, aging, breaking, and no longer obeying. They delicately climb, hang, dance, balance, slide, collapse, and hug each other through the show’s three acts. As they examine the marks that life has left on their bodies, fragments of film and audio mirror their scars through the damage that has been inflicted on the earth.
“Circus is a unique way to communicate with audiences: it can articulate pain, joy, and many different emotions with every part of your body in a way that goes beyond language. This show will make audiences feel the delicacy of someone else and recognise it in themselves. They will leave the venue thinking about what delicacy is, go out into the world and recognise where it can be found,” said DelicateCo-Director Lydia Harper.
The idea for the show came from a conversation between writer and director Jamie Beddard and performer Aislinn Mulligan when they were working together on another Extraordinary Bodies show. As Jamie explains, “The inspiration… came at a time I was beginning to feel my age, with my mobility decreasing and feeling not as fit and robust as I once did. Aislinn, although quite a bit younger than me, was beginning to suffer from her rigorous work as a top circus performer. We had conversations about what it meant to be delicate, and what happens when the body becomes unruly or no longer does what it once did. The more we spoke between ourselves and to others about being delicate, the more we realised the multiplicity of meanings, sentiments, and perspectives on delicacy. Underpinning all this, was a sense that the world and environment were becoming more delicate, and that narrative is also interwoven into the show.”
Delicate does not follow traditional, expected circus techniques and is instead developed as a collective. The co-directors combine the performers’ individual talents to create a new kind of circus. The cast is made up of people with different circus skills, ages, ethnic backgrounds, and disabled and non-disabled bodies, coming together to explore their delicacy.
“On a community level, we’re in a very delicate place in the world at the moment. Wars between nations, and division and unrest within nations. We have to accept that, as a civilisation, we are delicate, and there are delicate things between us. Only once we accept that our relationships and world are delicate will we know peace,” said Co-Director Eilís Davis.
“Circus is fundamentally delicate. It’s about risk-taking, experimenting, and putting your body out there. First, you have to go through your individual journey, pain and delicacy, and then accept it to be able to see it in others,” added Jamie Beddard.
Show Details for Presenters
Autumn 2022 UK Tour Dates:
Tues 4 to Sat 15 October – The Drum, Theatre Royal Plymouth
Thurs 20 October – Washington Arts Centre, Sunderland
Tues 25 October and Weds 26 October – The Lowry, Salford Quays
Sat 28 – Sun 29 October – Woolwich Works, London
Weds 2 November – Lighthouse Studio, Poole, Dorset
Fri 4 and Sat 5 November – The Connaught, Worthing
Weds 9 and Thurs 10 November – The Junction, Cambridge
Mon 14 and Tues 15 November – Mast Studios, Southampton
Fri 18 November – The Civic Theatre, Barnsley
Fri 25 Nov and Sat 26 Nov – Jacksons Lane, London
Fri 2 and Sat 3 December – The Gulbenkian, Canterbury
Duration: approx 60 minutes
Age recommendation: 12+
Access: Captions and BSL are both embedded into the show and displayed on a large screen at the rear of the stage. Audio Description is pre-recorded and played through headsets. Access tours (15 minutes) are available before the show. All performances are chilled.
Conceived by Jamie Beddard and Aislinn Mulligan
Written by Jamie Beddard
Co-directed by Eilís Davis, Lydia Harper and Jamie Beddard
Circus & Movement Direction by Lydia Harper
Performed by Pat Garrett (Gillian), Laura Dajao (Beth), Jordan Morton-Trowers (Sam), and Edward Muir (Andy) with additional devising by Kathryn Ball.
Sound Design by Damien Coldwell
Lighting Design by Marianne Thallaug Wedset
Video Design & Audio Description by Michael Achtman
Set Design by Will Datson
Photo Credits © Olufsen Media / Language Guide for referring to disability.
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