Upswing Mockumentary “Common Ground” Searches for New Global Majority Star of Circus
In this short mockumentary, Upswing goes behind the scenes of their latest show, “Common Ground,” with Artistic Director Victoria Dela Amedume and comedy writer Athena Kugblenu as they search for a new Global Majority star to rebrand circus for the 21st century. A satire on the world of contemporary circus and issues around Global Majority casting, the film watches aspiring cast members Rafiq, Lou, Ayesha, Eric, and Shane audition and navigate the ups and downs of the creative process, all whilst showing off their skills in Cyr wheel, pole artistry, dance, Chinese pole, and acrobatics. Mixing comedy, music, and physical theatre, this mockumentary features a script by Athena Kugblenu and original music by Afrikan Boy.
Victoria Dela Amedume said, “The film has emerged from conversations I’ve had with other Global Majority circus artists and the things we eye-roll at amongst ourselves. It has literally been a joy to work with Athena and her sharply satirical take to extract humour from situations that are not always funny. There are also a number of outtakes that should never see the light of day!”
Upswing, a diverse-led contemporary circus company founded by Vicki Dela Amedume in 2006, is committed to exploring relevant and thought-provoking themes across all its work. Their recent shows include the outdoor show “Catch Me,” which was also presented digitally, and family shows “The Ramshackle House” and “Bedtime Stories.” Through its creations, Upswing aims to inspire curiosity, share urgent ideas—especially those relevant to Black and Global Majority communities—and tell new stories in extraordinary ways. Upswing strives to break new ground in performance, seeking authenticity in the representation of Black experiences and innovating in circus/physical theatre.
Original concept and directed by Victoria Dela Amedume
Written by Athena Kugblenu
Filmed and edited by Dan Martin
Music by Afrikan Boy
Lighting design by Danny Vavrecka
Costume design by Alice McNicholas
Cast: Ayesha Agogo, Shane Hampden, Ericson Mitchell, Rafiq Shah, Louiseanne Pui Chi Wong, Victoria Dela Amedume, Athena Kugblenu, and Shola Ajose (AKA Afrikan Boy)
Supported by The Space and Arts Council England