This Friday: Convention & Conference begins.

By Luc

published Monday 9 April, 2018

The State of Play and The State of the Art

An introduction and invitation from Tom Rack (Artistic Director, NoFit State).

Circus250 provides an ideal context and framework for us as a sector to come together to meet, to play, to discuss and debate here in the Circus Village in Newcastle under Lyme, the birthplace of Philip Astley - the man who created the first circus 250 years ago this year.

The State of Play: The (un)convention, 13 - 16 April

The convention will be about workshops, training, meeting like-minded people and exploring ideas in the spirit of playfulness and misbehaving.

At NoFit State, we believe that the circus performer is so much more interesting if they bring onstage their doubts, fears, sensuality and vulnerability. Technical excellence is not enough to engage an audience alone; without a level of humanity and contact with the audience, why should they care?

I believe that everybody whatever skills they do at whatever level will benefit and enjoy a few days of classic performance technique and the opportunity to workshop with different directors.

We have invited John and Richard from Desperate Men, Petra from Spy Monkey, Mick Barnfarther ex-Complicity and teacher at Gaulier now at NCCA, Firenza Giuidi long-standing director for NoFit State and a host of other interesting people (full programme here).

The first few sessions will focus on traditional techniques where the workshop leaders will share their philosophy and performance language rooted in Buffoun, Dada, desperation, Commedia, physical theatre and physical clown - and they all take their play very seriously.

In the latter sessions, we will bring circus skills together with the performance language to inspire new creative directions and to enrich personal ongoing research and practice.

There will also be opportunity for people to train in the Big Top as well as the traditional renegade show.

Just as we have done with our own research for LEXICON we want to take a 360-degree look at the world we are in; our history, our heritage and our future.

Come and join us for some, or all of the convention. Full details can be found here.


The State of the Art: a radical Circus Conference , 17 - 18 April

The State of the Art is a 2-day informal conference facilitated by Orit Azaz on Tuesday 17 and Wednesday 18 April. We have asked the sector to suggest topics and themes, and we have great speakers lined up. The full programme can be found here.

To set the tone, I have some provocations that I hope will stimulate the debate. To be overtly controversial I want to ask:

Is 'contemporary' circus still new and original? In our constant desire to be fresh, are we in danger of throwing the baby out with the bathwater, and losing touch with the spirit and root of our art?

Circus is a disparate and diverse art form with many strands. Is the distinction between traditional and contemporary outdated? Do we or the audience need a better language to define and understand the many strands of what we do?

As 'circus' is being embraced by theatre makers and other practices and venues are opening up to the accessibility and universal appeal of our art, is our direction of travel being subverted or colonised by other sectors and their needs, agendas and views?



The State of Play: an old school Circus Convention for the new generation

Friday 13 - Monday 16 April 2018

An opportunity for circus artists, enthusiasts, performers, and makers to come together - to share and exchange skills, take part in a curated programme of master classes in circus techniques new and old, and experience different approaches to making and directing circus. 
With sessions and workshops lead by Desperate Men, Spymonkey, NoFit State, Firenza Guidi, The New Vic Theatre, Mimbre, Milton Lopes, The Gandinis, Professor Vanessa and other special guests. There will also be rigging workshops, skills shares, open training sessions and the traditional renegade show.
Together, let's celebrate the last 250 years of circus and inspire each other for the next.

Thursday 12 April
Blake’s Circus work in progress
Arrivals and registrations

Friday 13 April
Workshops // Mick Barnfather, Desperate Men, SpyMonkey and Gandini Juggling

Saturday 14 April
Workshops // Desperate Men and Gandini Juggling
NoFit State surgeries
Kate Kavanagh // How we talk about circus
Open Space Training

Sunday 15 April
Open Space Training
Workshops // Firenza Guidi, Desperate Men, SpyMonkey
Renegade Night

Monday 16 April
Workshops // Firenza Guidi
Open Space Training
Silvia Frattelli // How to look after yourself
Milton Lopez // on his project Elephant
Professor Vanessa // What is circus
Scratch show
Pub Quiz and party!





The State of the Art: a radical Circus Conference 

17 – 18 April 2018

A two-day radical circus conference; explorations, interrogations, provocations and conversations for makers and thinkers. Designed through consultation within the sector, this event has been shaped for and by the people who make circus in the UK today.
This is a conference aimed at producers, presenters, artists and circus fans. Let’s discuss the next 250 years of circus together, without the establishment’s agenda, and foster creative debate amongst ourselves.
The State of the Art will include open space discussions, debates and inspirational TED style talks.  Confirmed speakers include: Ali Williams, Gerry Cottle, Firenza Guidi, Ken Fanning, Orit Azaz, The Flying Seagull Project, Professor Vanessa, John Fox, Jaine Lumsden, Kate Kavanagh.
What makes quality? 
Circus is a way of life.
Where are we going and how do we get there? 
How can circus respond to challenges we face in today’s society?
Dramaturgy in Circus
And whatever you want to bring to it.

Tuesday 17 April
10:00 - 12:00 Open Space Training
10:00 - 11:00 Registration 
11:00 - 13:00 Brunch
13:00 - 13:30 Welcome and Provocations
13:45 - 15:15 Open Space Style - What does our sector want to discuss? 
15:15 - 15:30 Ken Fanning - Tumble Circus
15:30 - 16:00 Tea Break 
16:00 - 17:00 What Makes Quality? Jaine Lumsden
17:00 - 17:30 Open Space Style - end of Day 1 together 
17:45 -18:15 Circus is a Way of Life - More Life needs to be Like Circus
18:15 - 19:15 Apperitif & Dinner
19:30 - 22:00 Lexicon Performance 
22:00 - 00:00 Drinks in the Bar
Wednesday 18 April
10:00 - 10:20 John Fox - Intro to Day 2
10:20 - 11:50 How can circus respond to challenges in today's society? Ali Williams
11:50 - 12:00 Flying Seagull Project 
12:00 - 12:20 Tea Break
12:20 - 13:00 Dramaturgy in Circus. Firenza Guidi 
13:00 - 13:15 Gerry Cottle - Wookey Hole
13:15 - 14:15 Lunch 
14:15 - 14:45 Contemporary and Traditional Circus - Dea Birkett
14:45 - 15:15 Luke Hallgarten - Why no two circus artists are the same and why this is to be celebrated
15:15- 15:45 How we talk about Circus - Kate Kavanagh 
15:45 - 16:30 Where are We Going and How Do we Get There? Vicki Amedume
16:30 - 17:00 Final Thoughts 
17:00 End
19:30 Educating Rita Performance New Vic





All registrations include one ticket for Lexicon and two meals a day within the circus village with the Nofit State company.

6 day Convention & Conference Pass £100 / £160
State of the Play Conference only £60 / £100
State of the Art Conference only £50 / £80
Day Rate Convention or Conference £30 / £40