by Jez Bond
We had a lovely tour of Circus Space yesterday. It is London’s only training and rehearsal grounds for circus performers – and it’s really quite stunning.
I had some experience of the venue a few years ago when a friend of mine who is an aerialist brought me along to watch her training on the silks in order to get a feel for the technique – which I employed in a Christmas show (and later, with the same actress, in a family show that toured Switzerland). What I hadn’t realised then was how big the building was. It used to be a Victorian power station and like the main ‘generation chamber’ it is vast.
Daisy, the director of circus development and Terry, the facilities manager, showed us the many rooms and talked us through all the bits of kit and rigging points required to be able to accommodate circus in a venue. As Daisy wonderfully put it “circus is simply the art of falling, and it’s about the different methods one can use in order to fall.” Apologies to Daisy if I have misquoted – but I think that was essentially the gist of it. In order to do this successfully one therefore needs height – as much as possible – from which to fall. Now, at The Park Theatre we may be able to remove panels of the tension wire grid for a specific show in order to accommodate the necessary height.
It’s certainly something to look into. I would like to ensure that we remain open to as many possibilities as we can. Whilst we aren’t going to be London’s new flying circus theatre, there may be things that don’t necessarily affect cost or major design but that we can bear in mind. So yet another fascinating trip facilitated almost entirely by the kindness of strangers.