15 – 12

15 – 12 = 3

I had to do the maths.

Another year on and this time it’s particularly poignant to me. I’m currently working in the marvellous Krystallpalast Variete which was like a second home to Luke at times. I had the pleasure/challenge to work and live along side Luke and other friends in a show for 3 months over the winter of 2009.

Whilst in Leipzig I’ve taken the opportunity to reread all the articles Luke wrote about circus. He really was an articluate and thoughtful man. We need more minds to step up and fill the void of knowledge, thoughtfulness and excitment that Luke brought to our immature, underdeveloped and ultimatly young art form.

Contained in Luke’s writing are a couple of paragraphs that stand out. Still holding the same value and truth as they did on the day of publication. If anything they apply now more than ever to my own work and thinking.

I’ve pulled out a few of my favourite paragraphs and linked up the articles, I would strongly urge any circus artists to read and reread Luke’s words of wisdom….


“There was a major disconnect between the technique and the theatrical setting. It was to me a clear example of the wrong way to make modern circus. It was “I do this technique set, what theatrical story can I drop on top of that to make it more interesting?” Rather than making some kind of statement using circus technique, here was someone using the circus technique purely as punctuation. It was something in parentheses, something which was referred to rather than being the main event.”

Creative Technique 


“There are three elements to any play. The play, the actors, and the audience. And the responsibility for success lies with them all. Does that mean we should patronise our audience to the point of stupefaction, reduce them to unknowing vessels, undeserving of our attention and edification? As long as my audience has given me the respect to come and sit in a theatre and watch me perform, then I shall give them respect and, hopefully, provide them with entertainment that also has the possibility to challenge and evoke them.”

Too Complicated


“If we are using the circus arts (circus techniques, as in skills and tricks) to express ourselves, then we owe it to them, and to ourselves, to show them some respect and to create and show work where that technique set is needed. Needed means not added on as a bonus but rather integral to, and defining of, the work. The technique should be a necessity of the performance (and perhaps also the other way round, but that is perhaps a topic for another time).”

  • Technique is the major tool that we have to communicate our intent.
  • “Innovate your technique: create the right trick for the right moment.
  • Trust in your tools: and let an audience share that trust.
  • And always remember: the technique IS the character.

The Technique IS the Character

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