Ahead of his time.

Occasionally I would slip into an always enjoyable philosophical, futurist conversation with Luke. He had a deep love of technology, an Apple fan boy before it was cool and then not cool. He was optimistic about the future. Excited by the new.

I’ve recently been listening to Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari, it’s brilliant to listen to the thoughts one of todays most famed historian and futureist. It’s striking how close Luke’s own thoughts and predictions seem to aline with this book.

I’m still struck by how overwhelingly sad I am that Luke isn’t around to discuss rambling ideas like this. And I know there are others who feel the same.

But I should remind myself that there are many new and exciting ideas to be found, better experiences to be shared and plenty of happy memories of Luke that he left me with.

4 years to the day.

Immersive Juggling Research

Circus Geeks received Lab:Time funding to carry out research into an immersive juggling experience.


Doreen Großmann, Iñaki Sastre and Arron Sparks spent 3 days in the Creation Studio at the National Centre for Circus Arts generating juggling material and working through experiments on a friendly guinea pig voluenteer audience.

Inaki Sastre suggested the concept of creating a juggling piece in an alternative enviroment from the traditional show format of a juggling performance- imagining what and how a juggling installation might function. From that original concept, Arron generated a series of questions to explore and an array of different directions the research could head.

“Over the first couple of days we created two short pieces, one in which the external viewer could move where ever they pleased while a juggling piece took place in the same space (much like how a traditional gallery space operates with a sculpture). In the second version the performers guided an audience of one through the piece which happened over, around, to and with the aid of the audience member.

Based on audience feedback from day two and our own insights we decided to focus on the second more personal method used. We spent day 3 creating a 7 minute piece which we then performed as a continuous loop for close to two hours, receiving feedback throughout and testing adjustments.

With more research time it is probable that the first “free-range” method could be developed and refined to get over the obstacles we encountered, such as the audiences self imposing rules which restricted their viewpoint, enjoyment and even understanding of the piece. This could be circumnavigated by stating the rules of engagement from the start (with, for instance, the use of a sign) and is an area of research that could de explored and tested in its own right.

Exploring the possibilities of putting a non juggler into the world of juggling is something I have considered before. In an early version of Beta Testing we attempted (unsuccessfully) to simulate the pressure onstage that a professional juggler has to confront with an audience volunteer. However in this research -thanks to the questions we set out with and the softer, intimate approach Doreen and Iñaki brought to the performance helped us communicate to an audience the physical experience of juggling and the pleasure that it brings us.

After 3 days of research and a series of tests and feedback we are confident that this is an area of juggling rich with possibilities. We hope to further explore the area of immersive juggling in the near future.”

Arron Sparks

Immersive Juggling Research made possible thanks to the National Centre for Circus Arts, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, The Production Shed and all our friendly guinea pigs.




I just got back from 5 days at 101 Outdoor Arts near Newbury (England). Matt and myself have been working on our new outdoor show, Project_Vee. The days were spent practacing technique, creating segments of the shows, making some set and going for runs by the old nuclear bunkers and abandoned military landing-strip that nature has reclaimed, two minutes away from 101.


A video posted by Lauren Hendry (@theproductionshed) on

It only really occurred to me how lucky I am to have access to such an amazing resource when talking to Matt and Lauren. I was of course grateful to be able to have had time in residency there, but I didn’t appreciate quite how unusual a space like 101 is.

Boom Passing with @mrmattpang #ProjectVee

A video posted by Arron Sparks (@arronsparks) on

Other art forms have creative spaces, destinationas for artists to arrive and fill their time in the studio, spaces suitable for their medium. Outdoor arts and circus have very particular issues- they need space, lots of it- regularly working on a scale that the fine art world doesn’t have to deal with too often. For the outdoor arts creative spaces need to be large, felixible and have the ability to deal with lots of people.

Building stuff for #ProjectVee

A photo posted by Arron Sparks (@arronsparks) on

101 is an all too rare occurance in the UK. It offers accomodation for visiting artists, a working kitchen, office, even a workshop kitted out in which to build props or set and most imporantly, space. Focused, warm and welcoming space. The number of companies and shows that travel through 101 inspiring. The only down side to 101 is that it’s so unique.