This announcement has been a long time coming, but it has been a busy spring. This year I will be making my directing debut with circus theatre extravaganza, HMS Stormus. HMS Stormus is set in a post climate crisis world, it is the year 2827 and the majority of the world is under water. Humans have only survived by living on cruise ships, endlessly traversing the oceans without much hope. Our 3 outlandish former enterainers are desperately trying to carry on with the ships' intenary and are controlled by the mysterious voice of the tannoy.

This is a fun, action packed circus cabaret that showcases the talents of Ellis Grover, Iago Morgan Jones and Daisy Williams. It weaves bilingual text with jaw dropping circus skills. Commissioned by the Welsh Outdoor Arts Consortium, it will be touring festivals the length and breadth of Wales this summer.

It is a big task to write and direct a show, now that it is all coming together, I am enjoying the challenge. I think it will always feel strange not being on stage, but I have an amazing team of performers who bring joy and enthusiasm to every rehearsal. I have also been well supported by the Articulture team, my mentor Gwen Thompson, writing mentor Kate Jones, who is also a prop making genius, and sound designer Daniel Rhys Lawrence. The work in progress showing at Machynlleth Comedy Festival went down storm (pun intended) We are now in our final rehearsals and the show will premier at Awen Trust's Seascapes Festival Porthcawl on June 1st. Click on the link for details, I hope to see you there.

https://awenboxoffice.com/whats-on/seascape-2024/about

Commissioned by the Wales Outdoor Arts Consortium (WOAC), supported by Articulture and the Arts Council of Wales. Comisiynwyd a Chonsortiwm Celfyddydau Awyr Agored Cymru (CCAAC), chefnogwyd gan Articulture Wales a Chyngor Celfyddydau Cymru.

Arthaus Berlin

The end of summer was a bit of a blur to be honest. Finishing up my Howl tour, with a great final performance for Span Arts in Pemrokshire. We were already set up and the audience were gathering as the rain started. It was touch and go to be honest, and I was sheltering in the gazebo with Dan (sound designer and musician) peering out with a feelign of despondance, when the rain slowed and finally stoppped. The Welsh audience were well prepared, and we were all happy to go ahead. Internally I thought, this is it, one last chance (for 2023) to do a great show. So we did it, and it felt like the best show of the tour, the audience were well behind us and there was a touch of magic in the air. It was a great show to finish on. From there, it was a whirlwind of packng down, dropping things off, packing a bag for Malawi and one for Berlin.

I mentioned in my previous post, my trip to Malawi. Straight from there, I went to Berlin to join a full time course- Devised Theatre and Performance. Doing this course has been a dream of mine for many years, but it felt difficult to take so much time out of my career, but this year I decided to take the plunge.

It has been one of the best decisions I have ever made, and I realise now that, had I have done the course sooner, I may not of got so much out of it, that I'm now in a place to really get so much out of it. Arthaus Berlin (formerly LISPA) is one of the highest regarded physical theatre schools in Europe. They take their training very seriously, the quality of the teaching and the culture of the school ensures a really fundamentally quality experience for the students.

The course is a deep dive into the practice of embodiement, and combines a movement based pedagogy with emotional resonance, voice work, writing practices, art, academic research and a deep devising process. It strongly encourages you to develop your own creativity in response to the provocations of the course.

It has been wonderful to be a student again, so refreshing and as I have already mentioned the quality of the tution is excellent, I feel my brain, body and creativity really coming alive,am stimulated and inspired by the course and my colleagues on it. It's also really fun to be in such a dynamic and happening city as Berlin, where there is so much going on, especially in the worlds of theatre, art, dance and film.

I'm doing the course part-time, so in Decemeber 2023 I completed term one, and willl now wait unitl Januar 2025 to return, which gives me plenty of time to digest and integrate the learnings so far into my life nad artistic practice.

September took an unexpected turn with a trip to Malawi to teach aerial to a group of trainees working for the charity Anno's Africa. It came about through a conversation with my friend and colleague Kate Jones of Cimera- a welsh community circus company who I have worked with many times. Kate was hugely supportive in the creation of my new show Howl this year, working officially as Welsh language support and costume designer/maker. Anyway, at some point it came up that some of Cimera were returning to Malawi to teach circus and costume making with Anno's Africa- a charity providing arts activities to underpriveledged children in Africa, and Kate invited me along too.

We were based in Mzuzu, in the north of Malawi, myself and Daisy Williams taught aerial to a group of trainees from the Malawi team, in an aerial intensive that took place in a tobacco auction house (it wasn't tobacco season at the time) and joined Kate, Alex, Lia, Bea and Andrew teaching stilts, juggling, slack line, hula hooping, unicycling, diablo and devilstick in the schools in Mzuzu. As well as costume and film making to some of the Malawian team- Emmanuel, James, Bilton and Hassan who work year round teaching drama, dance, song, circus and art.

The aerial trainees- Alinafe, Blessing, Foster, Mercy and Hassan took to aerial like ducks to water and worked incredibly hard to learn silks, trapeze, rope and hoop in the short time that we had. The project culminated in a celebration that involve children from Chipotula school showing off their ground based circus skills, the aerial trainees doing short aerial performances and Hassan and Mercy stilt walking in beautiful costumes made by Bilton and Kate, at Macondo camp, with the hope of attracting interest and investment in the project. It was a beautiful day and a great way to celebrate the end of our visit, The team gained many skills to pass on in the workshops and training they do in schools around Mzuzu. The hope is that they continue to work on their skills and eventually a circus centre will be opened in Malawi.

It was a wonderful and eye opening experience for me, and the positivity, willingness and commitment of the trainees and children really was humbling. I hope to get the opportunity to return to carry on teaching before too long. It was also a great priveledge to visit Malawi and to be immersed in a different culture even for a short time.

You can check out the work of Anno's Africa here: http://www.annosafrica.org.uk/

I was at The Circus Village/Yr Pentref Syrcas for 2 projects this spring, a residency with Kitsch n Sync Collective and my own residency with News From Nowhere, a project in development.

This is an idea that I have been working on in different ways for a wee while now. The idea is pretty big compared to my previous work- creating an ensemble narrative circus theatre performance with a bespoke piece of aerial equipment and commuity engagement. As the idea is complex it has been hard to gain support in the form of residencies, many venues simply can't accomodate the equipment. However, the Circus Village had an amazing, can-do team, a whole range of rigs and tents and equipment at their disposal and they were happy to offer us a residency.

The idea is still in its very early stages, the performance is a series of intersecting journey stories that meet in the performance moment, using a unique configuration of aerial equipment to play out that story. This residency focused on the exploration of the equipment, generating ideas and vocabulary under the guidance of Rowan Fae as director. There is still a lot of work to do to bring this idea to fruition, but it felt so good to begin working on it with Daisy Black , Saya Yamaguchi and Maisie Luk. I'd also like to extend my thanks to the whole team at the Circus Village who made it all possible. Watch this space for further developments.

I've been a little disorganised with my news this summer, so, here I am harking back to something that happened earlier in the year, in April in fact. The Circus Village/ Yr Pentref Syrcas is a really great thing that came out of those dark days of the covid pandemic. It is a circus festival organised by a collective of Welsh circus organisations. It was initially created to bring together the circus community after the isolation of the pandemic, for circus performers, teachers, techinicians, directors and students to be able to come together to talk, to train, to explore and create. This year was the second edition and the remit was extended to include a week of residencies and a performance festival.

As well a being there for my own residency (see next news post!) I was lucky enough to be invite down to be a performer/rigger with Kitcsh n Sync Collective, who are a brilliant company who specialise in fusing comedy, contemporary dance and circus in full length shows and walkabout performances.

Bitchcraft is a wry look at the witch trials, religious zealotry and feminie power, combining theatre, contemporary dance, comedy, circus and fire. We spent 5 days developing the ideas and then performed a work in progress show for an invited audience of industry proffessionals. It was tremendous fun, well recieved and, for me an honour to work with Kitsch n Sync for the first time. Being at the Circus Village, surrounded by other companies all working on new performance ideas was also great soul food. I'm looking forward to the next installment, and remember, You can't burn women made of fire.

Howl! Performances have been going well with the show bedding in nicely. We have some more dates coming up before summer comes to an end. If you haven't seen it yet then come along.

Mae perfformiadau wedi bod yn mynd yn dda, a dwi'n mwynhau gwneud y sioe. Mae gennym fwy o ddyddiadau yn ddod i fyny cyn i'r haf ddod i ben. Os nad ydach i weld eto, dewch draw.

Eisteddfod Genedlaithol Cymru 10 & 11 Aug/Awst https://eisteddfod.wales/programme

Awen Trust, Bryngarw Country Park 30 Aug/Awst https://www.bryngarwcountrypark.co.uk/whats-on/

Span Arts, Scolton Park 31 Aug/Awst https://span-arts.org.uk/whats-on/

Commissioned by Wales Outdoor Arts Consortium.

2022 saw a return to the full run of Christmas shows for Incandescence Circus after the disruption of the pandemic. I was lucky to again be a part of the huge team of performers. I returned to one of my favourite venues too, Manchester Central, for Morrocan Fire Nights. The evening, put on by Vivid Experience, is a high quality Christmas event, featuring a drinks reception, dinner, circus entertainment, casino, fairground rides and of course a packed dance floor.

Incandescence Circus shows are always big scale, spectacular, high skill level and feature gorgeous costumes, and this show was no exception. I was lucky to be the focal point of the first act, hidden inside the skirt of a giant sun puppet, on my rope. I was dramatically revealed when the skirt dropped before being lifted high on the winch to carry on my choreography, framed by two fellow performers - Lyn Routeledge and Maddie McGowan on silks and a team of dancers.

Act two featured triples trapeze, although due to various illnesses circulating in the cast there were a few nights when I had to dust off my solo trapeze act and fill in!! Although it was pretty nerve racking to have to suddenly perform for two and a half thousand people, I thourghly enjoyed the challenge. However, one person on a trapeze can never be as spectacular as three, so I was relieved when the normal cast of this act were back in the show.

Act three was very much the grand finale, featuring the spectacular Wheel of Death, performed by the courageous and very talented duo, Vitale Ermia and Ronaldo. Both from traditional circus families they have been performing since they were young and have a natural fearlessness and showmanship that can only be admired. The audience were always stunned by the daring and beauty of this act that culminated in fireworks being set off while the wheel was still spinning.

It was a fun December, and lovely to be back in the groove of a long performance contract after the strangeness of the last few years.

A sudden realisation dawned on me the other day, that these last two years, I've been in a very succesful touring show, and hadn't yet written about it on my website. So, here I am writing about The Swings by All or Nothing Aerial Dance Theatre. Conceive pre-covid, the show then had ot be adapted to comply with the ever-changing restrictions. Despite this, it has been a roaring success. The show is a light hearted aerial performance with a sound installation and then the opportunity for the public to have a go on the swings.

As you may have guessed, the show centres around a swing set, much like you would find in a playground, except our swing set is a giant one, and the swings are suspended on very long trapeze ropes, rather than chains. The two performers start very high up at the top of the ropes, descend before playing around on the swings in a set that builds up to a very big swinging section at the end, with trapeze tricks being performed on the apparatus.

"Swings" is now being prepared for its 3rd season of performances, having toured Scotland extensively in the summer of 2021 and England and Scotland last summer. We are hoping to take it abroad before the year is out. The success of the show is a credit to Jennifer Patterson, the mastermind behind All or Nothing and the show. Long may it continue!

The Cabaret of Misfits was a real treat this autumn, it really filled me with joy. Curated by Combine to Create artist, Rachael Macintyre as part of the Findhorn Bay Arts festival, it was my second opportunity to perform in my new home in teh North East of Scotland. The theme of the cabaret was LGBTQ and queerness in circus, and for me the perfect excuse to create an act based on Barbette. Barbette was a cross dressing trapeze and tighwire performer to rose to great fame in the 1920's and 30's and I came across them while researching my show Mirrors & Ribbons. Known to be both exquisitely feminine and in turn reveal themselves to be a macho man, Barbette was much admired.

The biggest problem I had in creating the act was deciding which way to play it- as a woman dressing as a man or vice versa, having it tried numerous versions, I settled on playing high-status feminine, becoming more uncomfotable with my idenitity and then transforming into a man mid-act. Of course I added some extra drama, some of my favourite rope tricks and a healthy dose of the ridiculous and in the end was really pleased with the result.

The cabaret was a tour de force, stuffed full of high quality scottish circus acts, and the audience in the Universal Hall were as lively and lovely as ever. They were treated to hair hanging, aerial chains, contortion, silks, trapeze, sword swallowing, hula hoops and of course rope. The whole night was a roaring success, and I was lucky enough to be in the headline slot, the act couldn't have gone any better or recieved a better reception. It was an absolute pleasure to perform, I hope an opportunity comes up soon to play Barbaretta again.

Credit for the night goes mostly to Racheal Mcintyre, Findhorn Bay Arts Festival, Ruariadh Milne and Emma Robbie for pulling it all together.

All or Nothing Aerial Dance Theatre and National Theatre Scotland

Autumn came around fast this year, and it saw me heading to Glasgow for the first of two community engagement projects for All or Nothing Aerial Dance Theatre. Like Flying is a brilliant project in collaboration with National Theatre Scotland that takes place in an academy or school. We headed first to Belahouston Academy, where the drama students were taught some aerial skills- harness dance, cocoon and aerial hoop and then created a brilliant promenade show around the school, with the students taking part in all the roles of the show. The project then went to Ardrossan and will happen again in Glasgow and Aberdeen in 2023. My role was as a rigger.

https://www.nationaltheatrescotland.com/events/like-flying-2022

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