8 May 2017

BoomTown Games

BoomTown Games

A bit about behind the scenes at the BoomTown Games!

Welcome to a bit about behind the scenes at the BoomTown Games

A special commission from Boomtown Festival, and supported by Arts Council England. The BoomTown Games was the second incarnation of circus theatre production 'Athletes of The Night' which is the creative brainchild of circus director Bex Anson and Contemporary Circus Company Bassline Circus.

The Boomtown games is a tale of gang rivalry and the battle for the top spot in a series of favela style 'street battles' The show was created and performed on a bespoke set which was built into the design of  'Barrio Loco' A large area that makes up one of 'BoomTown Festivals many zones. It was performed outside and all around audiences that were in the Barrio Loco arena.

The Bandits on set in Barrio Loco
The show featured some of the UK's most accomplished circus performers as well as starring Eva Lazarus as The Bandit Queen on team Bandit. Eva Lazarus is a Bristol based  rising star in hip hop music and we (us circus performer types) were all enormously excited to be working with her in the intimate process of making a show.

Eva Lazarus on the set in Barrio Loco

The Bassline Circus family have had a presence at many a BoomTown for nearly as far as i can remember. Where what started out as a local grown festival that predominately was a bit of a party with our mates from Bristol has grown over the years its been running into one of the most epic critically acclaimed mind blowing large-scale festival gatherings in the UK/worldwide... to put it simply quite possibly one of the greatest shows on earth!!!

BoomTown festival itself is a twisting sprawling city of surprises. Set design and build crews arrive months before the event begins to build the expansive happening. Turning fields into micro economies and other worlds born of the human imagination. Some of the larger venues in the boomtown city include an Aztec themed reggae stage in a natural amphitheatre basin called 'the lions den' that looks like some thing straight out of an Indiana Jones movie. Bang Hai Palace, an epic rave temple neighbouring Chinatown (does what it says on the tin). Sector 6, a post apocalyptic nuclear power station, and an old town complete with a life size pirate ship 'The jolly Dodger'. Plus too much more to mention - including many micro venues containing unexpected intimate theatrical immersive experiences for audiences to enjoy.

It's always exciting to be involved in BoomTown festival and this year I had the amusing role of Zip line Mistress for the production of the Boomtown Games. This job basically involved a lot of rigging and the designing of some flying systems to fly characters from the show out over the audiences and onto the stage where they would then battle for the approval of Comrade Jose (the leader of BoomTown)

It was the first time I had been away on a festival job with my little boy around. My Sister Holly came to look after Aaron as Cihan was also working with the fabulous Bullzini Family, hire wire walking funambulists, in another part of the site. We were also both needed for the show nights of the BoomTown Games. BoomTown isn't the most child friendly affair particularly in the area of the festival where we were working so, just before the event opened to the public, i moved my caravan into a cosy little spot in the children's area and that made the show dates much easier for us all.

Here is a showreel with a pretty accurate account of the show, otherwise enjoy some of my behind the scenes snaps, followed by a few from the shows Rx

Lovely Claire Crook
Me Holly and Aaron

Naughty Matt

The Set from my little perch

Lots of making and sewing 

Jo Moss as The Joker

Zephyr our Stage Manager and Saul our Head Rigger

Seren, Cihan and I

'Lil Rice
Aedin Walsh as Firebird with a BangHai Palace backdrop
Firebird on the Ziplines
Matt CP30 and Firebird rope battle
Eva Lazarus and the Bandits

31 May 2016


and also be the teacher 
Of what was, is, and could be,
The past, present, future

- Amanda Faulkner 


I am Mother

Welcome Aaron Welcome

Thank You.

5 April 2014

Rigging with Vertigo Flying Effects in Istanbul

Yes, there is a Mini Cooper underneath this hot air balloon!

Over the winter of 2014 I have spent most my time in Istanbul. Here in this thriving cosmopolitan city, balanced precariously between Asia and Europe, I have spent the majority of my time doing wholesome activities like cooking, sleeping, eating and gentle exercise interspersed with occasional circus and dance training. I have also had some occasional work with Vertigo Flying Effects.

Vertigo are an Istanbul based rigging company that cater for special flying effects and stunt work in particular for the Turkish film and television industry, they also do some live work in collaboration with Theatres and Artists across Turkey. I have joined them on several jobs here over the winter ranging from television commercials and series, advertising campaign photo shoots, a pop video and more recently a t.v commercial where we were asked to suspend a Mini Cooper underneath a hot air balloon. This was a particularly exciting gig not least because I got to have a ride in a hot air balloon for the first time, but also because the shoot location was in the stunning Goreme national park in Kappadokia central Turkey.

It was altogether a short trip It took us around 12 hours to drive overnight in our small van from Istanbul to Goreme, We arrived just before sunrise and got to work straight away assembling the support frame for the hot air balloon. It was beautiful that morning. All the hot air balloon daily flights take off at around 6am with the sunrise, this is because there is much less likely to be any wind early in the morning and hot air balloons cannot really steer. Our flight however took place at sunset. It was officially the test run but in the end the camera crew got everything they needed in the first shoot so the second attempt planned for the following day was cancelled giving us plenty of free time to explore before we set off on the return drive. Here are some Images from the job and also a few snaps of our fun day out on some quadbikes in Goreme.

Our Gear

Assembling the frame for the balloon
Cihan at work
The morning sky

So Pretty

Obligatory Selfie

Exploring the town of Goreme

Filling the balloons for our flights

The Mini in question

Cihan and Mevlut attach the slings to the Mini

Me inside a hot air balloon as its taking flight

We did it!!

having fun exploring on quads

badass mother fuckers

totally stunning landscapes

Thanks for looking,  see u next time :)

1 March 2014

Rigging with Caravanstage Co. in Jean Lafitte, New Orleans, LA

Rigging with The Caravan Stage Co. In Jean Lafitte, New Orleans, Louisiana USA

During summer 2013 I was thrilled to once more join the cast and crew of the caravan stage company on their latest production 'Hacked: Treasures of the Empire' I have worked with the caravan stage co. on and off since 2008 in a variety of roles from performer to aerial choreographer to lighting assistant and even cook! They are a fascinating organisation who have been touring contemporary theatre since 1970! The company, created by Paul Kirby and Adrianna Kelder started as a one wagon puppet show travelling on Vancouver Island in Canada it soon grew to become a 25 strong company of actors, musicians, artists and technicians touring in six large horse-drawn wagons each pulled by a team of matched bay Clydesdales.  Please take a moment to check out this wonderful film of the caravan stage's early years touring the Canada and North America by horse.  In this way the company traveled over 20,000 miles!! In 1993 a new dream was born and so began the life of the caravan stage tall ship theatre 'The Amara Zee' The Idea was that performances would be staged on the decks, masts and rigging of the vessel, the audience would watch the performances from the dock or riverbank. The productions would be completely self-contained on the ship. The mandate of the company was to bring original theatrical productions directly into the lives of people who seldom had the opportunity to experience the performing arts.

Last Summer 2013 I had the challenging role of show rigger. Having worked on the ship for many years I am well versed in the various ropes, pulleys and winch systems that make up the majority of the ships rigging, however though I have many years experience working with rigging in and around my primary trade as a circus artist I must admit that I was more than a little nervous when the full responsibility of the ship and show rigging was handed to me.  One of my many responsibilities in this role was to train several actors and singers to comfortably ascend to the upper platforms or trusses suspended from the masts of the ship. From these platforms or stages the artists would sing and deliver the text / content of the show. One of the artists I worked with had a terrible fear of heights, the first time he tried to climb up the ratlins he was shaking and perspiring with terror. To my surprise after several sessions one on one with him ascending together inch by inch and familiarising him with the technical aspects of safety equipment employed his confidence slowly grew. Eventually he was able to independently climb up to and perform relatively comfortably of the 15m platform. The experience of making the crew feel comfortable and 'in safe hands' with regards to the various flying systems and climbing exercises was truly invaluable to me boosting my personal confidence and also clarifying the extent of my practical and technical knowledge in the field of rigging and flying effects. Another memorable part of the production was our ship to shore zipline on which after much persuasion the captain / director Paul eventually allowed me to facilitate rides for the entire cast and crew. After all everybody wants a chance to fly :)

Thats all on caravan stage 2013 please do have a look at their website www.caravanstage.org  This year 2014 they will be touring the east coast of America and Canada with a further developed version of the 2013 production. I will also be joining the tour as an aerial performer, about which i am thrilled. But lastly here is a small selection of images from the production in Louisiana for your perusal :)

The Amara Zee, Jean Lafitte, Louisiana USA 2013
Caravan Stage Co. 2013
On the Job
Rigging Buddies

Rigging Tea Break

America Fuck Yeah!
Aerialists rehearse on the ship
The Last Supper

De-Rigging the Truss

BoomTown Games

BoomTown Games A bit about behind the scenes at the BoomTown Games! Welcome to a bit about behind the scenes at the BoomTown Game...