It’s Circus Season in the South East…

*Originally written for This Is Cabaret

Crying Out Loud are the UK’s top independent producers of contemporary circus, and pride themselves on championing extraordinary artists.  They returned from this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival with both Total Theatre Awards for physical/visual performance – for Pirates of the Carabina’s Flown’ and Company Non Nova’s L’apres-midi d’un Foehn’ – and they’re now offering something new to audiences in the South-East.

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Company AOC
IMAGE: Mark Sherratt

In 2010, Crying Out Loud helped establish the Circus Channel network, linking circus partners in France and England to provide wider exposure for artists in the sector.  This November, they are bringing a double-bill of energetic circus to venues on our shores, featuring hand-to-hand acrobatics, BMX skills, comedy and break-dance, in novel productions from French company Collectif AOC, and rising British stars, Barely Methodical Troupe.

Barely Methodical Troupe was formed only this summer by three graduates from Circus Space, and their first show, ‘Oversees, won the Circus Maximus prize earlier this year.  Opening the double-bill, the company blend fearsome tricks with sequences of lyrical, gravity defying hand-to-hand choreography from Louis Gift and flyer Beren D’Amico.  The pair met at Circus Space but bring very different skills and backgrounds to their performances.

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Louis Gift and Beren D’Amico of Barely Methodical Troupe
IMAGE: Bertil Nilsson

London-based Beren discovered a natural talent for acrobatics after taking up Taekwondo when he was just eight years old. The acrobatics lead to an interest in Tricking, which combines gymnastics with martial arts, and he moved to Circus Space after studying performance at East 15 drama school.  Meanwhile, Louis came to circus after an active childhood as a basketball player and under-11s British fencing champion.  He later discovered free running and Parkour, taking up gymnastics to complement this hobby; a passion for performance developed through plays staged during his time at sixth form college.

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Company AOC
IMAGE: Mark Sherratt

In contrast, Collectif AOC have been working together for 13 years, and their production ‘K’Boum’ has been performed to audiences of 1000s across France.  Creative director and performer Cyrille Musy explains, ‘Circus is a very important part of French culture, and we are very excited to be visiting the UK to show our work. This is one of our original productions, and displays the fun we have on stage. We want to leave our audiences happy, entertained and curious to know how we perform our tricks.’

The company are well known in France for their multidisciplinary style, mixing various circus skills and techniques, as well as dance, live music and BMX skills.

Whilst these established productions tour theatres across the South-East region, Crying Out Loud are also offering a short festival of developmental experiments in collaboration with The Place, in London.

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Each night of ‘Currencyoffers audiences the chance to witness a studio sharing – fresh collaborative work which is the outcome of a 2-day studio intensive involving a selection of dance and circus artists – plus a double bill of performances and the opportunity to meet artists over an informal supper.

The artists involved, representing Belgium, France, Germany, Portugal, UK, Sweden, Austria, Czech Republic, Romania and Finland, will be asking the questions: where does one discipline end and another begin? What do we mean by the terms contemporary dance, physical theatre, contemporary performance and circus? How useful are these definitions in expressing what happens on stage and how this is experienced by the audience?

An exchange of physical ideas across disciplines is the core theme that runs through ‘Currency’.  Imagine placing in a room a contortionist and a dancer who don’t know each other, are from different countries and have different stories they want to tell…  This is your chance to discover how they will find a common language and create a cohesive piece of material to share after only two days!

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Jeanne Mordoj in La Poème
IMAGE: Bertrand Gaudillère

Due to an injury, the originally programmed equilibrist and dancer Julia Christ will be no longer be performing, so the 14th November sees a return to the UK of Jeanne Mordoj’s La Poème, alongside Lizbeth Gruwez and her televangelist inspired It’s Going To Get Worse and Worse and Worse, My Friend.  The exchange sharing will be between Austrian dance couple Alex Deutinger and Marta Navaridas, and Niki McCretton – a physical/visual theatre artist who trained as an aerialist and unicyclist, and is now a comedian exploring Roller Derby, a women’s contact sport, and the art of falling over.

On 19th November, the exchange will be from dance artists Stav Yeini and Giuliana Majo, with full performances from choreographic trio Simon Tanguy, Roger Sala Reyner & Aloun Marchal, in  Gerro, Minos and Him, and Portuguese Lander Patrick’s Cascas d’OvO.

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Alma And Amanda, by Krepsko
IMAGE: Srdjan Stanojevic

The 21st offers a double-bill from Ludvig Daae, performing a virtual duet with himself in MM, and Navaridas & Deutinger, who present Your Majestiesbased on Barack Obama’s Nobel lecture. The sharing sees conceptual artist Hetain Patel meet with Linnea Happonen, who is the creative director of Czech/Finnish circus-theatre company Krepsko, and fascinated by human oddities and defying gravity.

On the 23rd there is a chance to see Krepsko perform their own piece Alma and Amanda, as well as the innovative As It Fell from Marisa Cabal and Stav Yeini.  The final sharing will be presented by Ludvig Daae, and Mish Weaver, one of the UK’s few directors of contemporary circus. Weaver is particularly interested in instability, movement and props, and applying circus technique to emotionally challenging material.

image002Currencyruns from 14th-23rd November at The Place, 17 Dukes Road, WC1H 9PY

Full price tickets cost £17 / £30 (for two nights) / £40 (for three nights) / £45 (for four nights). Concession price tickets are £14 per night.

A ticket gives you access to every activity of the night (light supper, sharing, film showing and the double bill at 8pm). 

‘Oversees’ and ‘K’Boum’ Double-bill:

13th November, 6.30pm

Folkestone, Quarterhouse

14th November, 7pm

Brighton, The Old Market

16th November, 7.30pm

Leatherhead, The Theatre

17th November, 2pm

South Street Arts Centre, Reading

18th November, 7pm

Farnham, Maltings

19th November, 7.30pm

Great Yarmouth, St. George’s Theatre

20th November, 7.30pm

Cambridge Junction

24th November, 3pm

Peterborough, Key Theatre

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