• Photo: Richard Haughton

  • Photo: Richard Haughton

  • Photo: Richard Haughton

  • Photo: Richard Haughton

La Veillée des Abysses

Straight from the crescendo of The Junebug Symphony  came the feverish fantasy La Veillée des Abysses. The extraordinarily versatile James Thierrée fashioned another masterpiece as contortion, acrobatics, mysterious transformations, music and dance fuse together.

Regular collaborators contortionist Raphaëlle Boitel and opera singer Uma Ysamata were joined by Swedish dance legend Niklas Ek, Belgian dancer and animator Gaëlle Bisellach-Roig and Brazilian acrobat and capoeira dancer Thiago Martins.


  • 'Shipwrecked on its own ethereal beauty, this show is a marvel, unlike any piece of circus that you have ever seen… It will blow you away.'

    Lyn Gardner, The Guardian

  • 'Like its predecessor The Junebug Symphony, it’s not easy to categorise, seems struck by mischief and a kind of magical madness… Imbued with a big-hearted sense of fun, it’s about more than mere stunts or tricks.'

    Donald Hutera, The Times

  • 'Genius at the bottom of the garden… La Veillée goes beyond comedy and circus, touching an emotional quick that reaches something bigger.'

    Jenny Gilbert, The Independent

  • 'A fantastical world of limitless invention. This is modern circus distilled into consummate poetic art, its stunts and skills seamlessly linked together.'

    The Independent

  • 'The set is brilliant, the performers are excellent and every scene is inspired.'

    Sarah Frater, The Evening Standard

Audience Comments

  • Biography

    • Born in 1974 to parents Victoria Chaplin and Jean-Baptiste Thierrée, James made his theatrical debut in his parents’ company Le Cirque Bonjour aged four followed by appearances with Le Cirque Imaginaire with whom he toured worldwide. In between travelling, he attended the Marymount International School in Paris and participated in occasional workshops and training sessions at Le Conservatoire de Paris, Piccolo Teatro di Milano and the Harvard Theatre School (ART) in the USA. In 1998 he established his own company choosing his childhood nickname Hanneton (Junebug) as the title for the informal ensemble. In the same year he created his first work, The Junebug Symphony which was awarded a Molière Award and toured the world including runs at London’s Lyric Hammersmith and Queen Elizabeth Hall. In 2003 he directed his second work La Veillée des Abysses, with dates at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Peacock Theatre and Wales Millennium Centre as well as international dates in Mexico, America and Australia. In 2007 he directed and performed in his third stage work Au Revoir Parapluie which had runs at Sadler’s Wells and went on to tour the world. In 2009 he premiered his one-man show Raoul in Belgium followed by a tour in France and the UK including 10 nights at the Barbican.

      In 2014, we presented Tabac Rouge Sadler’s Wells, London.

      In 2016, The Toad Knew, James Thierrée’s latest production opens at the Edinburgh International Festival and goes on to Sadler’s Wells in May 2017.

      Compagnie du Hanneton