May 2013, I was selected to perform in the first Heat of Circus Maximus, the UK’s first ever circus competition, being staged as part of the Udderbelly’s summer festival, and produced in collaboration with the Circus Space, London.
In preparation for the event, we were all invited to take part in the official photo shoot with the amazing Matilda Temperley.
The Evening Standard also came down to Hoxton square to shoot the future contestants and announce their names in a special feature.
A week later, some of the UK’s finest circus talents and I made our way into the iconic Purple Cow, on the Southbank, to start rehearsals for the first Heat of Circus Maximus.
Much to my surprise, I had already been there for a while…
I was lucky to share the stage with another 5 exceptionally talented performers, who were an absolute pleasure to work with.
Introducing the acts and keeping the audience entertained was Christopher Green
, a great host and performer, who was both hilarious and charming throughout the shows.
First on to the stage was Sam Goodburn, who performed a dynamic juggling and unicycling act. “Goodburn is the only person ever to become both British Freestyle Unicycle and British Young Juggler of the Year”.
Second on was a revamped, reworked version of my ‘Atma’ hula hoop act, that got very good reviews from the general press.
“Hula hoop might seem a bit simple, however this act was amazing and had it all: style, musicality, tricks and dazzling movement. Pavone has a beautiful talent and with the hula hoops lighting up it is also a very pretty display” (www.backstagepass.biz)
“A mesmerizing hula hoop artist, whose fluidity, grace and seductive cool dazzled the audience” (www.lastminutetheatretickets.com)
“Silvia Pavone managed to create a swirling light show and perform tricks that made the hoops appear stationary, even as they rotated around her arms. It was a good few seconds before I realised they were spinning” (www.ayoungertheatre.com)
“Watch out! Here comes Hula Hoop Girlie, channelling Siouxsie Sioux’s haircut and scowl!” (www.thepublicreviews.com)
Jonathan Finch was up next with his impressive hand balancing act. “It was a very poetic performance, like an acrobatic ballet.”
The 4th act was Alcina Mendes or Maria the Cleaner, whose act was an infusion between clown, physical theatre and trapeze.
The final act of the night was Gemma Creasey on the aerial hoop. “Creasey is very talented, flying effortlessly through the air above the audience”.
The audience were given the power to decide who should go through to the finals of Circus Maximus and have a chance to win £5000 and the opportunity to create a new show with the Udderbelly.
Much to my surprise, I won all 4 nights of my Heat and got through to the finals.
This was a delightful process where the pleasure of creating circus-theatre always prevailed the competitive element of the event. Everyone was always friendly and supportive throughout the rehearsal peiod and the actual shows. A jury of experts was finally given the power to choose the winner of the first Circus Maximus UK… Louis and Beren won the £5000 to make their show, but we all were winners really, for many different reasons.
Many thanks to all of you, wonderful performers who made it such a fun exerience, and to Circus Space and the Udderbelly for making it happen.