BETA TESTING – CREATION WEEK 5

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The 5th of 9 weeks of residency awarded by the Propellor Prize and our first in the Creation Studio at Circus Space National Centre for Circus Arts.

I’ve been lucky enough to use the Creation Studio for a few previous projects so it feels comfortable to be in the space. For a project like Beta Testing it’s perfect; good size, light, sound and WiFi. What more could a juggler ask for?

We spent 3 days recapping material we had produced up till now. It was our intention to work on a new scene as well, focusing on juggling all the furniture in the show. Unfortunately we got a little sidetracked relearning and cleaning previous work, we had a showing at the end of the week and wanted to present some close to finished material so we side tracked a little.

Mid way though the week we had a photoshoot in a functioning school science lab, it was a cool location to shoot on, if not a little strange. Jon reverted to a cheeky school boy in front of my eyes, strange what architecture and memory does to us all. Matt took one for the team putting some free (thanks to the monger on the right in Dalston market) fish in his mouth.

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 Back in the studio the chair juggling turned out to be pretty demanding and a little scary at times, we thought it would be pretty straight forward to create a slightly classic style act with furniture but this time we were a little ambitious.

Matt and Jon managed a brief cascade, while it may not be the most inventive thing we’ve come up with it certainly adds a different dynamic to the show, I hope we can work it in.

We also worked on a short everyday object duet with Jon and Matt, it promises to have a different feel to other bits in the show. It was fun for me to be outside eyes.

On the penultimate day we had a showing for some of the staff at Circus Space. The showing itself went well- we’ve produced a new 20 mins, add that to the material we already had and we are well on track to our premier in April.

However the next day was supposed to be spent working on more chair juggling but after a full week and focus of a showing it was pretty difficult to get back to making and throwing.

But with the vast majority of creating time over we’re happy and excited with what we have. Next up we have a private showing at Jacksons Lane, email me if you are interested in attending.

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.

Arron

Lab:time

I applied for the first round of Lab:time funding, looking for help developing ideas for a show. I received Lab:time funding for one part of my proposal, ‘Explore light trails with jugging’ and was allocated £750 and access to the Creation Studio at Circus Space.

The hardest part of the process was coordinating a date that worked with Circus Space, myself and the participants.

I spent a couple of fun, yet intense days working with Howie Bailey a VJ (and with the help of Jon Udry, a fellow juggler). 

Lab:time allowed me the luxury to explore and develop an idea that I was certain would produce useful results. Not having the pressure of a deadline or end client to please allowed time to investigate different techniques that may have been overlooked in a different environment.  

I’d strongly recomend applying to Lab:time if there is an interesting idea relating to circus lurking in the back of your mind. If there’s not, then get thinking!

Related links:

Circus Open Space

Funny I should find myself writing this on a bus on my way home from Bristol after just reading Jessie’s blog post about the very same commute.

But I’m not on a national express coach, I’m on a bus kindly organised by Circus Space to take anyone who wanted to attend Open Spaces, an event at Circomedia.

It’s Circomedia’s 25th anniversary and as part of the celebrations they have organised a networking/conference event for people interested in the future of British circus.

I’m a little surprised at the lack of artists on the trip but unfortunately it coincides with the 3rd year show at Circus Space so I suspect that didn’t help numbers and the coach also left at 7:15. Us circus artists are a driven bunch but morning people we are not!

The day was run on the Open Space method hosted by Improbable. The over all title of the day was ‘Devoted & Disgruntled. What are we doing about circus in the UK?’. Anyone can suggest issues they want to be raised and set up their own conversation at a given time and place in the room. One can drift in and out of conversation as one please and interject if feeling inclined. You can read more about it here.

The intro to Circus Open Space

I suggested a topic about ‘Circus & The Internet’ which a handful of interested people came and listen to me rant and rave about the failing of circus to embrace the internet and the various free useful web tools available to circus artists (watch out for an essay on this in the near future). It was great to meet the brains behind Sideshow Magazine and hear of some future projects they have planned.

Overall I found the experience a little frustrating, it felt like the conversations didn’t produce any clear outcomes or future goals – an action plan. While I think it’s great that people interested in circus actually meet each other and share opinion, it’s all rather academic if there is no real change. You can easily share opinion in the comfort of your own home and be far more concise and clear. Solution takes longer to work out and benefits most from dynamic conversation. I’m not convinced the conversations I heard produced real steps that people could undertake.

It’s too early to tell if there will be any lasting positive change from today’s Circus Open Space but I really hope there are. I enjoyed meet new people and listening to other passionate people talk about circus.

Thanks to all those who came and contributed and special a thanks to Circus Space, Ciromedia and Improbable.

Funny I should find myself writing this on a bus on my way home from Bristol after just reading Jessie’s blog post about the very same commute.But I’m not on a national express coach, I’m on a bus kindly organised by Circus Space to take anyone who wanted to attend Open Spaces, an event at Circomedia. It’s CMs 25th anniversary and as part of the celebrations they have organised a networking event(?) for people interested in the future of British circus.

I’m a little surprised at the lack of artists on the trip but unfortunately it coincides with the 3rd year show at CS so I suspect that didn’t help numbers and the coach also left at 7:15. Us circus artists are a driven bunch but morning people we are not! BTECH?

The day was run on the Open Space method hosted by Improbable. The over all title of the day was ‘Devoted & Disgruntled. What are we doing about circus in the UK?’. Anyone can suggest issues they want to be raised and set up their own conversation at a given time and place in the room. One can drift in and out of conversation as one please and interject if feeling inclined. You can read more about it here.

I suggested a topic about ‘Circus & The Internet’ which a handful of people came and listen to me rant and rave about the failing of circus to embrace the internet and the various free useful web tools available to circus artists (watch out for an essay on this in the near future).

I found the experience a little frustrating, it felt like the conversations didn’t produce any clear outcomes or future goals – an action plan. While I think it’s great that people interested in circus actually meet each other and share opinion, it’s all rather academic if there is no real change. You can easily share opinion in the comfort of your own home and be far more concise and clear. Solution takes longer to work out and benefits most from dynamic conversation. I’m not convinced the conversations I heard were real steps that people could undertake.

It’s too early to tell if there will be any lasting positive change from today’s Circus Open Space but I really hope there are. I enjoyed meeting new people and listening to other passionate people talk about circus.

Thanks to all those who came and contributed and to Circus Space, Ciromedia and Improbable.

The politics of circus

What can you and can’t you say? Politics is driving me nuts. What have I said to people that I shouldn’t have said? Probably quite a lot.

Sat in a breakfast bar this morning watching the world go by and chatting about many things. Started with meeting with Mish. We were talking about her new show, Box of Frogs, which, frankly, I cannot wait to get cracking on. Also talking about our new show, Backgammon for Beginners, and what we’re doing with that. Finished all the show chat, rehearsal chat etc etc and inevitably got down to the gossip part – which I always enjoy and Lauren is a particular specialist in. She remembers details as I am left flailing over who actually said what about whom. Mish had seen the 3rd year show last night and it was duly dissected. I love doing this. Listing who was your favourite, then maybe your top 3. Then changing it. Then really enjoying going over the one you hated. There’s always one, no matter how much you try and sit on the fence. We’re not going until tomorrow night but I sometimes enjoy listening to people who have already seen it. It’s like pre match build up I suppose. Then Sam, Matt and Em arrived and we went over it all again and there was the lovely “which did you like moment” which I already knew Mish’s answer to. And then, that beautiful moment when someone carefully asks what you thought of person x’s piece. And then the disagreement – or, in some cases, almost salivating as you get going on a particularly juicy shared like/dislike of someone’s act – or even the person themselves.

It’s a crazy world because everyone can’t like everyone all of the time but it’s rare that these tensions even remotely surface. It just leaves you wondering what people said about you when you graduated – or every time you do a public show. Is it best to know or not? Therefore, is it best to say or not say whether you loved or hated a piece/performer/person or not? Or is it better to polish that smile and pretend you love everyone and everything no matter how bland/badly done/offensive it is just in case it comes back and bites you in the arse? I just don’t know.  I suppose the aim of the game is just to know who to sit on the fence in front of and who to tumble off the side with.

I look forward to seeing the 3rd years do their thing tomorrow night. I love going to the shows each year. Especially the banter afterwards and just enjoying watching that fleeting moment that anyone who has been on any kind of long intensive course feels: of standing on the edge of a huge unknown. Good luck to them all.

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