We are extremely grateful to our supporters Arts Council England and The Esmee Fairbairn Foundation for funding Extraordinary Bodies. We are also the extremely proud winners of the Clore 50th Anniversary Top Prize and would like to thank the Clore Duffield Foundation for their outstanding support.
Extraordinary Bodies is a partnership between Diverse City and Cirque Bijou
Diverse City www.diversecity.org.uk are cultural entrepreneurs working for social change through the performing arts. They create exceptional performances that feature diverse artists. Diverse City was founded in 2005 by current Chief executive Claire Hodgson. Diverse city is expert in integrated work both participatory and professional bringing disabled and non disabled performers together. They received an Unlimited commission in 2011 to deliver Breathe – an international project between Brazil and Dorset that brought together 64 young disabled people to perform as part of the opening celebrations of the Olympic sailing events to an audience of 13000 on Weymouth beach. Six disabled artists travelled to Brazil to work with their peers and 26 young Brazilians with learning disabilities returned to the UK to take part in the final production. In August 2013 the company created ‘Come Dance With Me’ a commission for the Big House Festival and The British Council in Ireland featuring twenty performers with learning disabilities in a ballroom spectacular. Diverse City are currently delivering Moving On a three year programme funded by Esmee Fairbairn that supports young people who have learning disabilities and physical impairments to enter the arts and culture sector. In May 2014 as part of this project Diverse Futures will be launched – an interactive website that enables young people who are disabled to find inclusive training opportunities across the UK. Diverse City has worked with a number of high profile organisations to develop their approach to diversity including The National Youth Theatre, London Youth, The Houses of Parliament, and Oxford Brookes University.
Cirque Bijou www.cirquebijou.co.uk is an experienced creator of outdoor spectacle, circus and street theatre. Mixing live performance disciplines, Cirque Bijou seeks out the new, unusual and surprising to present creative, high quality shows and events. Switching effortlessly between delivery of artistic creations for commercial producers and private events, and accessible arts work for theatres, festivals and public celebrations, the company’s breadth of experience gives it a unique edge that few can match. Since its foundation in 1999 by directors Billy Alwen and Julian Bracey, the company has actively sought to support the circus and street theatre industries. They have created professional development programmes for young and emerging artists such as Step Up, putting young people in control of the creation and production of new performance for outdoor events. They were creators and co-producers of Battle for the Winds, celebrating the Olympic sailing events at Weymouth and Portland in summer 2012. In 2014 they developed Kitchen Circus Project working with local communities to bring performance on to their streets, and in to their houses, and during the summer they toured around seven London boroughs on a huge human powered water spurting machine as part of a new participatory outdoor street show called Source in partnership with Nutkhut. Cirque Bijou are also experts in designing and building specialist props, systems and special effects, they have created large-scale automated props for rock band Muse’s stadium world tour, and have recently designed the cutting edge LED suit as part of a new show Light Energy Dance. This year Cirque Bijou presented the High Wire spectacle ‘Bridging The Gap’ for the launch of Bristol Green Capital 2015.
Lastly, a huge warm thank you to Les Finnemore, a loyal supporter of Extraordinary Bodies.
“I am inspired by Extraordinary Bodies’ diversity, inclusivity and professionalism. Their integrated approach succeeds in creating great circus and performance, provides real opportunities for artists, crew, musicians and singers and celebrates everybody disabled or not” Les Finnemore