Beta Testing – Creation week 8

Studio Theatre, Roundhouse. Easter weekend. Go. Go. Go!


Howie came to help us run the custom cueing system that we had made for us, allowing us to run the show cues from onstage. We ended up using extra cues from Tom and Adam of the Roundhouse (both top guys) but are in good stead to run it all ourselves when we come to start our rural tour (hopefully) next year.

Howie was constantly making tweaks in the system and accommodating our ever increasing demands to tight deadlines, while we were running scenes and final touches.

On Monday 21st April we did a dress rehearsal for a few friends who could make the week of shows. It was a little odd in term of atmosphere but we were technically solid and  trusted that when we had a full audience the show would sail.

The next day we performed <Beta_Testing>.

5 days later the week and year project came to an end*.

If you want to read a more in-depth account of how we made the show please e-mail

Many thanks to all those who came and supported us.


*but it didn’t really. We aim to tour from the start of 2015, get in touch if you are interested.



Beta Testing – Creation Week 1

We’ve spent a taxing yet rewarding week working on new material for Beta Testing, some planned from the initial stages of the project, some thought of in the morning mind mapping sessions.

Our average day has run something like this:

8something AM – Get up, breakfast etc. (not for Arron he likes his sleep and can run on air for a few hours)
9ish AM – Go to a supermarket and buy lunch (often various kinds of chicken)
10 AM – Start. Sit around a table with whiteboard laid flat (why is this not sold as a product?!), mind-map, discuss, suggest, joke, inspire, timetable.
11ish AM – work on more spoken word based work.
12:30ish PM – 1 hour lunch – much chicken, listen to Radio 2 ‘Death Hour’, make phone calls, send emails.
1:45 PM- work on new juggling technique needed for the show.
Midafternoon PM 10 min Coffee Break! <– No Such Thing!
4:45 PM – Club Passing practice
5:27:34 PM (allow 15 min-ish discrepancy) Endurance Practice & 6/7 technique
6goingon6:30 PM finish
7SomethingStillPM Craft Beer Pub – drink/food or both if you’re feeling rich!
ApproxPM – bed

We finished the week feeling exhausted, probably juggling more in the week than we had collectively done in the last 3 months. Celebrated a birthday, laughed a lot, picked up far too many props off the floor and probably spent more time than is healthy with each other. All this whilst avoiding getting hit over the head with a chair.

Excited for it to all start again on Monday.
Creating feels good.

Here’s a video of us failing…

Propellor Prize

In April Circus Geeks won the Propellor Prize.

The Propeller Prize is a partnership between the Roundhouse, Circus Space, Jacksons Lane, Jerwood Charitable Foundation, Seachange Arts and Le Brèche in Cherbourg.

The prize awarded by Jerwood Charitable Foundation provides a budget, support and space to develop Circus Geeks show which was presented at Jacksons Lane earlier in year. Residencies start in September and lead up to the premiering of our show Beta Testing in April 2014 as part of CircusFest. Dates and more detail to follow.

Exciting times.


Some exciting news…

Circus Geeks is stepping up and creating a show, Beta Testing. Thanks to generous support from Jacksons Lane and a helping hand from a few other friends.

The show’s been envisioned by Mr. Sparks but being made with strong support from Udry and Pang. Our blog will be updated as we work towards our first show together (so you might get an insight into how three friends become enemies, if nothing else)! As it’s our first attempt at a performance together it may be a little ‘rough around the edges’ (or as we like to think of it ‘fresh’) but that’s part of the charm of seeing something new, isn’t it?

The show will take place on the 1st and 2nd of February 2013 at Jacksons Lane theatre and it’s going to be radical. Be there (please). More on tickets later.

Here’s the official blurb….

Beta Testing. Circus Geeks very first attempt at a performance. Three british jugglers, Sparks, Udry and Pang seek to explore and share what juggling is, why they love it and what’s it like to be a professional dropper juggler.

There will be a Q&A session after the performance and you can watch the show being created @CircusGeeks on Twitter, on Facebook or this very blog!

Video of the week – Wall of Death

Just like you we love a bit of danger.

This beautifully made video by Benedict Campbell features The Ken Fox Troupe, one of a very few families still performing “The Wall of Death” in Europe.

I wonder if anyone is performing the bicycle version anymore? If not perhaps it would be a fun project for someone to do*?!


*Lions optional

Thanks to Howie for pointing this one out!


The full Undermän show (as part of CircusFest) was live streamed on the Guardian website here and you can still watch it!

I personally loved the show, so much so I gave a breif testimonial for the show. Obviously the video isn’t as good as seeing the show live but if you haven’t had a chance to catch the show yet have a gander!

Staying healthy on tour

Traveling to a different venue each day can be exciting, fun and refreshing. But it can also be gruelling, hard on the body and mind. Here are a few tips I’ve picked up along the way…

Photo by Sura Nualpradid

Don’t be afraid to get away from the group. A common mistake to make when working/living in close proximity to your fellow artists is not taking time for yourself. Of course you want to be a team player but it’s important to have some alone time, space to think. Don’t be afraid to miss out on a nights socialising to keep your sanity!

Watch a film, read a book, surf the net – anything that gets you some personal time and not thinking about the show or tour.

Exercises. This can be a tough one, particularly if you’re doing get in/build up, performing and traveling all in the same day but it’s important to do if your used to training hard and will make you feel better. Get up 30 mins early and go for a run. In every show run I’m in I try and find a point in the show where I’m not needed and do some simple conditioning, that way I don’t need to ‘remember’ to do it, it’s as much of a habit as putting my costume on.

Eat healthy. I’ve always found this one tough but when on tour it’s even harder. Eating out can really start to lose it’s appeal when you have to do it all the time. Take any opportunity you have to cook something for yourself. Smoothies also help!

What are your tips for surviving a tour? Please leave your suggestions below!

The Kitchen Sink Circus Cabaret

For those of you that are London based (at least this weekend!) there’s a circus cabaret you might like to see…

~ The Kitchen Sink Circus Cabaret ~

Witness hand-balancers, jugglers, acrobats and more!

See here for more information

*This post is an unashamed plug for some of my friends who are putting this show on. I’m not able to see it but it should be damn good!

The Lost Circus Sideshow

From midgets, wolfboys and human pin-cushions to Siamese twins, snake charmers and sword swallowers, the circus sideshow isn’t often seen alongside the main attraction any more.

But while the Sideshow element of circuses, carnivals and fairs may have dwindled, the Circus Sideshow, the Freakshow, and the Circus Freaks and Geeks themselves (see my previous post) are aliving and kicking. Continue reading “The Lost Circus Sideshow”


Been enjoying the London sun far too much to write blog posts, sorry about that! Here’s a quick, sloppy note of what I’ve been up to….

Last week I performed at the 24th British Juggling Convention (BJC). I’ve been going to the BJC on and off for the past 10 years so I know what to expect…. Sports halls filled with jugglers, from those learning the first throws of the 3 ball cascade to technical masters juggling 7 clubs.

A week of inspiration, perspiration and desperation.

In the show I was performing as half of Inside Loop, doing a ‘speaking/skills comedy routine’. A real contrast to my solo act. Sam is a genius, so much fun to work with. Great to see most of the public show, Wes is a juggling super hero…. I wish I could hate him.

I was asked to compère British Young Juggler of the Year, a real challenge given my appalling memory (still need to train it) and lack of ‘gift of the gab’ (if such things exists). An over all aim for this year is to challenge myself on stage, so I accepted. The show went ok for me, somethings I screwed up and other bits went better than planned. Once the competition was over I was a little disappointed with the results of my efforts. But had some nice feedback from some members of the audience and think it’s something I’m going to try again and improve upon, as I did enjoy being on stage for longer and being able to express myself through voice rather than tricks or physicality.

Over all I really enjoyed my BJC. Massive thanks to the organising team, a group of individuals who sort out an amazing week long event, for over 1000 people without getting paid! Good on you (you crazy, mad, wonderful, generous lot)!

Arriving back in London I received a voice mail asking if I wanted to see ‘Slightly Fat Features‘ at the London Roundhouse.

I’m so glad I did. Honestly one of the best shows I’ve ever been to. A true british variety show, with original skills and theatre. So funny, go see it!