Photo: Vincent Beaume

Looking back on 2014

Looking back on 2014 it’s clear that extraordinary journeys has been the predominant theme in our work.

The year kicked off with 10 international journalists participating in Unpack the Arts at the London International Mime Festival. It was an opportunity for them to take a crash course in contemporary circus.

In partnership with Sadler’s Wells we brought James Thiérrée’s hallucinogenic fantasy Tabac Rouge to London as part of its global tour, and Sanja Kosonen and Elice Abonce Muhonen delved into the history of circus to revive the forgotten art of hair hanging in Capilotractées at CircusFest at the Roundhouse.

For British Eccentricity! at Cirque Jules Verne in Amiens, we filled the 19th century building with off-kilter performances. French audiences were told to expect the unexpected as Marisa Carnesky’s Tarot Drome took them on a heady journey through a tarot pack, and Invisible Circus orchestrated a full venue takeover. If you weren’t there, catch a slice of the madness here from Mark Morreau.

Over 9,000 people, a large number of whom were first time visitors at the tour venues, saw Pirates of the Carabina swing, fling and spin in Flown – the first tour as part of Circus Evolution, our strategic touring initiative aimed at developing audiences for contemporary circus across the UK.

Jeanne Mordoj came and went twice as part of her research and development for the 3rd part of La Poème, Stopgap Dance Company worked with both Company XY and Collectif Prêt-à-Porter to develop new movement language pushing boundaries with 7ft drops and handstand balancing, and Niki McCretton furiously skated and found her stage voice with Angela Laurier in residence in Farnham.

Phia Ménard’s exceptionally simple yet very effective L’après-midi d’un Foehn-Version 1 sold out at the Dublin Dance Festival and enchanted adults and children alike in Derby, Coventry, Bristol, Barnsley, Cambridge and Poole – our second Circus Evolution tour.

L’Insomnante at The Place saw an insomniac tossing and turning through an endless night on a bed overhung by an undulating sky of pillows.  Dormez-vous? its sister project took participants with communication difficulties from two London schools on a memorable journey aimed at helping them to develop new ways of connecting with the world around them.

In conjunction with the house network, we toured Company Kiaï’s new piece Off across the south east. An exploration of the mysteries of the mind, it cleverly combined the incredible physical skills of a contortionist, a hip-hop dancer, a hand stander, an acrobat and a clown.

This year’s Currency – an annual festival at The Place exploring the space between dance, performance art and contemporary circus – showcased work by some of Europe’s most exciting contemporary artists, installed the quirky Hunt and Darton in the cafe, saw animated discussions and evenings full of surprises as choreographers were paired with contemporary circus artists and asked to come up with ‘something’.

Thank you for travelling with us. Make sure you join us for more extraordinary journeys in 2015.