Big top dreams and live circus

Working in the shadow of the beautiful, blue and white, shining big top tent that emerges out of the green of Keynsham into the bright blue sky, it feels like the weather is changing and future possibilities for Extraordinary Bodies are changing too.

Thanks to the Cultural Recovery Fund, one of our mother companies, Cirque Bijou, hired the big top tent for a couple of weeks. Since early June, we have been testing and exploring what post Covid-19 touring options may be possible. Having our very own accessible, touring mobile space could well be what lies ahead.

Because we want to take the world of Extraordinary Bodies to more places. We want more people to see the extraordinary disabled and non-disabled diverse bodies, stories and talents centre stage, together. We also want communities up and down the country to connect and create in a safe and inspiring space that is for every body.

Extraordinary Bodies wants to share more widely our fearless, beautiful performances celebrating the whole of humanity. We want to awaken in audiences a full awareness of the right of everyone to exist, to be seen, heard as well as to play their part in life. And we strongly believe that having our own mobile space may be just the way to do it.

Live circus in the big top

The cabaret event produced by Cirque Bijou and Circomedia gave us a flavour of what Covid-safe, inclusive performance can be like. Check out some highlights shared by audience members below. We love the snippet of the trapeze duo by Extraordinary Bodies performers Jonny Leitch and Tilly Lee-Kronick.

Rehearsing our new show Human

We have also been using the big top as an accessible space to rehearse our new show Human which goes on tour from September onwards. Human is a new show with live circus, music and film about the small moments that shape us. The cast includes trapeze duo performers Tilly and Jonny, as well as Alfa Marks, Rebecca Solomon and John Kelly. Alongside being a brilliant aerialist, Alfa is also the mother of 6-months old Faie, who came to watch some of the rehearsals.

The atmosphere of being in a big top and creating in a big top has this really magical feeling. I think it’s the energy that a traditional circus invokes, laughter, spectacle, fear, and the excitement of bringing those elements into a contemporary circus show and using them to create a show that is relatable and moves people.

– Tilly Lee-Kronick

As this may be my last show, it was amazing to be back in a big top. That’s how I began my circus career, touring in a tent with Gerry Cottle. It was lovely for Faie to get to see me rehearsing in a big top. Big tops are associated with old school traditional circus. That’s why I find it awesome to be part of a contemporary, more circus-theatre show in the circus traditional setting. Blending old and new. 

– Alfa Marks

The big top tent is impressive. Huge. Music vibrates. The future is sunny.

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Extraordinary Bodies is the collaboration between Diverse City and Cirque Bijou.

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