Monday, 30 April 2012

I'm feeling terrified

Coming to Circomedia was the scariest thing I have ever done.  Though that statement may sound a little extreme, it's entirely true.  I was terrified of putting myself in a new situation with people I wasn't sure if I'd like, spending thousands of pounds of my own and the Arts Council's money on a course that I couldn't be certain would help me, and most of all, scared of failing.

And now it's happening all over again, but in reverse.  My year at Circomedia has been so amazing that I'm now dreading leaving the safety of this wonderful place and taking my first steps into back into the big bad world of employment, contracts, applications and constant judgement.  Even Bristol, which I used to feel was saturated with Circus-Theatre makers, has become my safety blanket because at least there is a demanding audience here, a network of contemporary practitioners, and pretty much any class/workshop/training session you could wish to take part in.  All of this needs to be established in the East Midlands, and it's a big thought to realise that if I want to take advantage of such an environment in the future, I'm going to have to make it in the present.

It's only worth doing if it scares you.
It's only worth doing if it scares you.
It's only worth doing if it scares you.
Repeat until breathing starts to return to normal...

Saturday, 21 April 2012

So here are some things I'm thinking...

On Thursday we had a warm up with one of our male aerial teachers, and as I knelt on the floor beating my chest with my fists and flinging my own arm over my shoulder to hit myself on the back in something that looks (and feels) like self-flagellation, I started wondering, what is it about circus that's just so male?

I think most would agree that the traditional vision of a female within the circus is of a beautiful sequinned lady being thrown into the air by a burly man, or looking weightless and ethereal on a trapeze.  Both of these women are clearly having a great time.  But why are we lying to the world?  The reality is that women in circus are covered in bruises and burns and smiling through gritted teeth, because these disciplines hurt.  We train like we're in the army, and pride ourselves on how many chin-ups we can do, yet we're only confirming our gender difference by allowing men to set the rules.  Even in contemporary circus women are physically working their knee high socks off to take over the male role of the base (myself included), yet this only furthers the idea that we define ourselves within the boundaries set out by our male counterparts.  What are we doing in circus to speak of what it means to really be female - to be naturally curvy and soft, to be mothers and sisters, to run households and businesses and yet be subjected to the male gaze in everything we do?

And in case you're wondering, no, I don't have any answers.  I just thought it was important to ask the questions.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

A Catch Up

So I thought it was about time I posted some extra videos that I hadn't got round to yet.  The first is our clowning presentation which took place at the end of last term.  Our clowning intensive week was very rushed and so we're doing more this term, which I'm really happy about.  I don't think this is the best clowning in the world, and don't feel that I've found my clown yet, but it's an interesting first attempt.

And the next is a presentation of an improvisation we'd been working on when we were studying half masks.  I really love the way these masks lead you towards a character you'd never have come up with on your own, and the physicality that's inherent within this.  Again, it's just a first attempt, but it was fun.

So for now it's back to portfolio practice - I'm trying to put together a series of audition style pieces to showcase what I feel I've learnt at Circomedia.  So far there's a physical theatre piece about a job interview, and a dance/acro/hat manipulation piece which is entirely non-verbal, and will hopefully lead into another idea I've had for a one woman show.  Exciting times are ahead...

Thursday, 5 April 2012


The Easter holidays are nearly over, and my thoughts are turning towards the third and final term of my time at Circomedia.

Work has already started coming in for when I'm back in Nottingham, which is fantastic, and I'm over the moon that people seem to be excited about what I've been learning.  The question which is niggling at me though, is how to take this training, and carve a sustainable career from it.  I know from past experience that careers in the Arts are unpredictable - that there will always be times when you're bombarded with work and others when the cupboard is bare.  However, I need to make sure that the work that I'm being offered now and the 'buzz' there is about these new skills coming to the area doesn't fade away after a the first year or so.

Actors, eh?  We're never bloody happy...