I am a Bristol-based circus-theatre maker, director, choreographer, consultant and mentor.
In a previous life, I’ve worked as an aerialist, a street performer, a fire-eater and a clown. I stopped touring with circuses in 2003 to focus on building my freelance career in street performance and narrative circus-theatre. I now collaborate with UK circus and theatre companies, specialising in creating performance work that crosses the boundaries between skills and narrative.
In addition to my freelance work, I am the artistic director of two outdoor performance companies: Circii (family-friendly, comedic physical theatre for outdoor events) and Juggling Inferno (high-skill, choreographed fire performances).
Primarily an autodidact, I ventured into the world of academia in 2018, gaining a Masters degree in Directing Circus with Circomedia and Bath Spa University.
In 2019, I received funding through the Jerwood New Work Fund to research a cross-art form collaboration between circus, outdoor arts and technology. This project is ongoing and has formed the foundation for further R&D into a new outdoor show, working alongside Gwen Thomson.
Trusteeships / directorships:
I am a longstanding volunteer manager/trustee of The Albany Centre, a unique training facility for circus professionals in Bristol, and I am committed to promoting circus arts and street theatre in Bristol.
I am a director of the Sexual Health Circus, a Community Interest Company that combines circus and theatre in an informative show engaging young people with Relationship and Sex Education.
For the past five years (Covid years aside) I have co-coordinated the Bath Fringe New Work Works Artist Development Scheme. Set up to support step-changes for street arts performers, I lead a team of expert mentors in running workshops and ‘show surgeries’ aimed at emerging and brave artists working in new ways in the outdoor realm.
In the first Covid19 lockdown of 2020, I invented, initiated & organised the brilliantly idiotic event that was The Bristol Coddywomple. This was a city-wide, synchronised celebration of outdoor performance, with over 50 performers taking part in hyper-local events over 8 postcode zones.
Facilitating & Mentoring:
A big part of my life is encouraging other performers to be the best they can be.
As a volunteer manager of the Albany Centre (an artist-run training space for circus practitioners in Bristol) since 2005, and through the two outdoor arts companies she runs, I have been informally mentoring younger and less-experienced performers for many years.
This mentoring role has become formalised with work for Circus Futures and the Bath Fringe Festival Artist Development Scheme to encourage artists to take risks, solidify their practice, and plan for the future.
In addition to directing their 2021 show, I worked with the Farmyard Circus collective on company development.
I also now take on private performance coaching and project mentoring for circus and street theatre performers and performance-makers. This includes supporting artists to write funding applications. More info here: Mentoring
I was selected to be part of the RTYDS (Regional Theatre Young Directors Scheme) New Directions South West scheme 2022.
(you can find more details on some of these projects on the Things I’ve done/am doing page)
I directed the Farmyard Circus‘s full-length outdoor show in 2021, and this show is touring in 2022-2023.
In 2020 I began working with The Gramophones Theatre Company on their new show Aidy The Awesome. This show successfully toured (mainly digitally) in 2021 and again in 2022 in actual theatres.
I was Assistant Director on Insane Root’s 2021 site specific Christmas show Hansel & Gretel at Arnos Vale cemetery.
I began mentoring the Sexual Health Circus founder Jess Herman in 2017, with the project finally getting funding for a pilot project in 2019 and I directed the final touring version of the show and accompanying videos in 2020-21.
The Wardrobe Theatre’s comedy production of Drac & Jill involved a small amount of counterweighted flying which I worked on in 2019 and again in 2022.
Further back 2010-2020:
I was a founder member of the infamous circus-theatre company Pirates of the Carabina. Their show FLOWN won the Total Theatre Award for Physical/Visual Theatre at Edinburgh in 2013.
In 2012 I was part of the core devising team for the Olympic sailing opening ceremony in Weymouth, Battle for the Winds. This complicated co-production from Cirque Bijou and Desperate Men included an innovative mobile street show and a theatrical spectacle set on a bespoke structure suspended from a crane. There’s a short documentary about the project here.
I was the Aerial Director on the Bristol Old Vic 2012 production of Peter Pan (dir. Sally Cookson) and this production was reworked for the National Theatre for Christmas 2016 and again in 2019 for the new ‘pop-up’ Troubadour theatre in White City. www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/shows/peter-pan
I was Aerial Director for the production of Hetty Feather (dir. Sally Cookson), which was nominated for an Olivier Award in 2015. This show toured for many years in the UK and USA. www.hettyfeatherlive.com
I also worked as Hammock Consultant(!) on the Tobacco Factory Theatre 2014 Christmas production of Sinbad (dir. Craig Edwards), as Aerial Consultant on Life On Wheels, a 2015/16 show from circus company Bella Kinetica, and as Director on aerial duo CirqOn the Seam’s 2017 production, Betwixt & Between.
I collaborated with Sally Cookson for a stage adaption of the classic Fellini film La Strada – a co-production from Belgrade Theatre Coventry, Kenny Wax, Cambridge Arts Theatre and Bristol Old Vic.
I worked with the National Theatre again on their 2017 production of Angels in America (dir. Marianne Elliott). www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/shows/angels-in-america
I worked with Sally Cookson on an exciting in-the-round version of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe for Christmas 2017 at the West Yorkshire Playhouse. The show was adapted as a front-on performance for a season at the Bridge Theatre in London for 2019, and has been reworked again (with director Michael Fentiman) for touring in 2021 and a residency in London’s West End for 2022 at the Gillian Lynne Theatre.
For Christmas 2018, I worked on the Tobacco Factory Theatre‘s The Borrowers, and an adaption of Oscar Wilde’s The Selfish Giant, a co-production from Soap Soup Theatre and Tessa Bide Productions.