Crying Out Loud was founded in 2002 by producer-curator Rachel Clare, supported by a Promoters Award from the Combined Arts Department at Arts Council, London. Rachel, alongside co-director Emma Gladstone, had a vision to make a new annual season of international visual performance in London. Originally working from home, with just a phone, a notebook and a Eurostar account, the company is now based at Somerset House with a busy office. The core team is five people with an expanding pool of regularly collaborating freelancers based in different parts of the UK.
The company has evolved over the years, but maintained an aesthetic of memorable, extraordinary and visual work – that often crosses art-form boundaries. Since its inception, Crying Out Loud has toured productions, created development opportunities for artists, curated seasons and festivals, founded networks and developed one-off special events totaling over 60 projects.
Notable successes include introducing the work of seminal international artists to the UK, including French artists James Thierrée’s Compagnie du Hanneton, Collectif AOC, Company XY, CirkVOST, Jeanne Mordoj, Company Non Nova, Capilotractées, L’Insomnante, Camille Boitel and Aurélia Thierrée and Victoria Thierrée; Groupe Acrobatique de Tangier from Morocco; Italy’s Company TPO; Race Horse Company from Finland; Dan Zanes from USA; and Laika and Inne Goris from Belgium. Homegrown success includes the successful support and development of the British based company Pirates of the Carabina and their hit show, Flown as well as Niki McCretton, Stopgap Dance Company, Acrojou, Sophia Clist, Layla Rosa, Marawa the Amazing, Iona Kewney, Maresa von Stockert and Barely Methodical Troupe.
Crying Out Loud became founder-members of six circus networks: the pan-European CircusNext (previously Jeunes Talents Cirque Europe) and Circostrada, the Anglo-French PASS: Circus Channel, the London venue network City Circ (renamed Circus Now), Fresh Arts Coalition Europe (FACE) and Circus Evolution – a UK wide strategic partnership of venues.
The development of the contemporary circus scene has always been integral to Crying Out Loud’s work. The Jeunes Talents Cirque Europe scheme has developed the work of artists all over Europe. Crying Out Loud’s Pipped at the Post scheme aided professional development with Annabelle Holland; Genius Sweatshop, Alana Jones, Liat Rosenthal, Giselle Edwards, Layla Rosa and So and So Circus Theatre. The City Circ network programme has developed the work of Acrojou at Stratford Circus and Ockham’s Razor at artsdepot.
The PIP (Performance in Progress) scheme which ran from 2003 – 2007 developed UK artists and their work including Tom Morris and Guy Dartnell’s Oogly Boogly; Sophia Clist, Craig Vear and Nick Burge’s Stretch; Simon Parker’s Vex; Layla Rosa’s What If…?, Inne Goris’ Dregs and Blind Summit’s Call of the Wild.
Through the PASS network, Crying Out Loud has provided development opportunities for Little Bulb Theatre, Niki McCretton, Stopgap, Pirates of the Carabina and Barely Methodical Troupe.
Other activities include curating family events for Manchester International Festival – The Great Outdoors in 2007 and 2009 and Music Boxes in 2011; The first circus season at London’s Roundhouse Circus Front in 2007; Freetime at Somerset House from 2000 to 2008; and Piccadilly Circus Circus a huge site specific event which formed part of the Cultural Olympiad in 2012.
In 2007, Crying Out Loud became an Arts Council England Regularly Funded Organisation and in 2012, our tenth anniversary, we joined the ranks of the National Portfolio Organisations.
In 2017 COL was nominated for a Dan Crawford Innovation Award, an Empty Space…Peter Brook Award.