Can you tell us about the main elements of your role as Artistic Director? As the Artistic Director I have to find creative ways of doing what often seems like the impossible. That is, finding extraordinary artists who create distinctive work that will appeal to audiences across the UK, and, making it work for everyone. It’s about making things happen that otherwise wouldn’t by bringing together a talented team to deliver each project and to do what they are good at (with enjoyment and lots of cake).
You started out as a theatre designer – why did you make the move to working in international touring? This was an unexpected turn of events that took me away from creating art myself to enabling others to do so. I made an enormous zig zag movement wearing creative boots in the direction of the unknown via Europe, Cuba and the UK.
What are the challenges you face when touring internationally with a company? The challenge is managing expectation of all concerned, from finding the best ways to communicate the essence of the shows to a new audience to giving the performers best possible conditions in which to do their show. Oh, and finding a good meal after the show when most towns have shut up for the night. Circus artists can’t perform on a full stomach and are ravenous afterwards.
Do you think that the recent EU referendum result will have an impact on international companies touring in the UK and vice-versa? Yes, the impact will no doubt be negative but we are not deterred because of it. Artists won’t stop developing collaborative projects because of borders or Brexit. We’ll use our 25 years of experience of international partnerships to forge new ways and continue to create extraordinary events by hook or by crook.
What advice would you have for any budding producers out there? Take risks, trust your gut instincts, use your imagination and don’t work in isolation. Ask favours, do favours for others as they come round in the end.
Gasp! Sounds like a truly thrilling show, what can audiences expect to see? It’s a poetic whirlwind! There are two elements to the evening, the first features the hottest new duo to recently emerge in the UK, Nikki & JD, and the second half is a show in perpetual motion with two of Europe’s most highly skilled performers, Circoncentrique, it’s also a good laugh
Have you found audiences in different countries respond differently to the piece? Humour can transcend culture, age and ability. But for those who are new to this type of work the response can differ, some clap and laugh throughout, some stay silent with a rapturous response at the end.
8. The whole show is a real feat of endurance, are the performers constantly in training to maintain their fitness? Yes, like any athlete, dancer or footballer, circus artists have to train each day to maintain their strength and resilience. Trust and intuition play a big part too.
How do the performers build tension during the show? Tension is built as the competition between the two gets more and more frenzied as they try to out-do each other. Think Tom and Jerry on overdose of double expressos.