Starting from 1 April 2019, COL agreed on a new vision for the next seven years: “Through partnerships and collaborations, reinvigorate mid-scale UK visual theatre and circus to be world-class, relevant and diverse.”
We have re-modelled our approach so that our commitments to activity and artists are mostly for a longer period of time; and may well involve several stages and partners to maximise on its potential. Our new strategic aims are:
- Seed, develop and present visual theatre and circus for indoors and for the mid-scale
- Seed, develop and present mid/large-scale participatory visual theatre and circus for outdoors
- Investigate and champion new ways of touring mid-scale visual theatre and circus and new ways of supporting its infrastructure
The year 2019/20 in numbers:
Crying Out Loud presented 16 performances of 3 different shows at 6 venues, to 2,359 people.
We delivered 2 workshops and 6 residencies at 8 different venues and 158 individuals participated in them.
The year 2018/19 in numbers:
Crying Out Loud presented 56 performances of 11 different shows at 18 venues worldwide, with 20,845 directly engaged, including 14,529 attendees across the Somerset House Circus 250 celebrations alone.
We delivered 34 workshops and talks at 12 different venues and over 271 individuals participated in them.
2018 was the 250th anniversary of Philip and Patty Astley establishing the first permanent circular arena on the banks of the Thames and, for us at Crying Out Loud, it was the culmination of three years of preparation and development. The Astleys were innovators in circus and we planned activity that supported and celebrated contemporary innovation through three ambitious collaborations. Our purpose was twofold: to challenge the preconceptions of the artform; and to enable UK and international artists to learn from each other, across disciplines, experiences, and borders.
1. Union Black: award-winning hip hop collective Far From The Norm were joined by 3 leading European circus artists and 6 early career performers to present a work that merged circus and hip hop
2. Cascade: world-renowned Gandini Juggling worked with 27 professional and amateur jugglers within the 55 rhythmic water jets of the fountain court, accompanied by an exuberant brass band of French musical acrobats from Circa Tsuïca, and presented a work that combined circus, live music and water
3. Now or Never: Circa Tsuïca, presented a show in which a large cast of musical acrobats celebrate the joy of people coming together with food, funky brass beats and awe-inspiring circus feats. Local brass bands formed an integral part of the show at each location.
Now or Never toured in a tent to six UK locations over the summer and was presented in partnership with venues we have worked with before: Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield; Oxford Playhouse; The Lighthouse, Poole; The Lowry, Salford; Pontio, Bangor; Déda, Derby.
The first two shows were part of Circus Sampler – two summer weekends of ambitious, free, large-scale, outdoor, family friendly events in the courtyard of Somerset House, one of London’s most spectacular, historic landmarks.
The other performative element of Circus Sampler was Marawa the Amazing and her Majorettes who performed on the same weekend as Union Black, adding a participation element to the activities. Circus Sampler also included an exhibition, called Circus Originals in the East Wing of Somerset House, a talk with Rose English (whose work was a highlight of the exhibition) and a showing plus discussion of the film “Even When I Fall”.
Union Black was also presented in three different versions with different local artists at each our Creative Europe partner venues: Subtopia in Stockholm, Sweden, Cork Midsummer Festival in Ireland and Le Plus Petit Cirque du Monde in Bagneux, France. The travelling element of the exhibition accompanied these performances.