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.


 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.

An average day 2

A year ago I recorded an average November day, here’s an update…

I’m currently touring with Smashed in France so things are a little more hectic than my average London days -mainly lots of traveling and very few good coffees to be found. :-/

My 16th of November 2013 was reasonably standard for a touring schedule, perhaps a little heavy on the travel side:

7:00 Get up
7:15 Taxi to train station
8:06 Train 1.5 hours
9:45 Coach 2.5 hours
11:20 Car pick up – drive to hotel
11:35 Hotel – Juggling in my room, read.
13:00 Lunch in a local restaurant
14:00 Hotel – emails & rest
16:00 Theatre – juggling practice
19:00 Meal local restaurant
20:00 warmup & set
21:00 Show
23:00 Hotel – sleep

I wonder how my day will look in a years time…

101 Lessons


101 Things I Learned in Film School ®‘ by Neil Landau & Matthew Frederick is a beautifully concise book which caught my eye when browsing the Tate Modern gift shop. I thought it would be nice exercise to go through the book and apply some of the lessons to circus. I’ve picked and adapted 39 lessons which I think could easily be applied to circus performance.

1) Start strong

Prompt intrigue

Suggest the central theme

Revel back story

2) Start late

Cut the first 30 seconds of a piece.

3) Show, don’t tell

4) Three stages of show making

Pre-production – meetings, fundraising, planning etc

Production – rehearsing

Post-production – selling the show etc

5) Audiences want to be as close to the action as possible.

6) Conceal the action.

Creates curiosity and intrigue

7) Story telling -> Beginning – Middle – End

  • Act 1 – Establish the problem
  • Act 2 – Complicate the problem
  • Act 3 – Solve the problem

Establish • Complicate • Solve

8) Practice the perfect pitch.

High concepts can be explained in one sentence.

9) A good title says what the show is.

10) Create memorable entrances.

11) Create a show on different scales.

12) Every scene must revel something new.

13) What can the human eye process?

14) Set rules early, clearly and simply.

15) If it can be acted why do it with circus?

16) Make the setting a character.

17) Define the relationship to the 4th wall.

18) Beware working with children & animals.

19) Have a plan but enjoy the detours.

20) Signs of novice circus.

It’s a dream, all black costumes, sequins, bare feet, m

Amely sound track,

21) Leave breathing room.

Both theatrically and practically.

22) Place figures in uncomfortable proximity.

23) Ensure everyone is making the same show.

24) Have some show stoppers.

Big tricks, tear jerkers, hilarious jokes etc.

25) Every show is drama, conflict and suspense.

26) Dig deeper.

Do fewer things better.

27) Good writing is good rewriting.


28) When you receive a no write back thanks.

29) Different spaces, venues, audiences might be better for a different kind of show.

30) Rhythm / Tempo

Larger pace created by the show / pace of scene or act

31) Don’t cast by looks.

32) Actions speak louder than words.

33) If you want to make circus, see circus.

34) Work in the trenches.

Take less than ideal gigs, learn around your subject / ultimate goal.

35) Let it go already.

Make->assess->move on->repeat

36) Play well with others.

37) Make it shorter.

38) Don’t over use cliches or coincidences.

39) “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry