Metamorphosis

August 13, 2015

When she transformed into a butterfly, the caterpillars spoke not of her beauty but of her weirdness.

They wanted her to change back into what she always had been…

But she had wings.


Photographs by Simon Yin. Big thanks to Chenghao Liu and Jacksons Lane Theatre, London.

The hoops in these images are LED smart hoops by SpinFX. I can program them to change colours and patterns to any chosen music, which allows for endless possibilities to create bespoke acts and fit with specific requirements and special events. You can see more photos here.

I have always had a great interest in animation and mixed media, so when Cirque Bijou offered me to collaborate on a bespoke piece that mixed my hoops with Howie Bailey‘s visual graphics, I dived right into it.

The piece was commissioned as an intro to the John Bishop Show on BBC1, which made the whole project even more exciting.. and slightly nerve-racking.

We knew it was going to be hardcore and risky – we only had a few days to research and develop ideas and then put it all together into a live show for prime television.

Yet, despite the time and space constraints, we just went for it wholeheartedly, feeding off each other’s passion and inspiring each other through laughter and relatively appropriate doses of OCD.

The result was a wonderful work of circus and visual arts that I hope will lead to more opportunities for exploration and collaboration.

Massive thanks to Julian Bracey, director of Cirque Bijou, and Howie Bailey for being absolute legends. True gratitude and respect also for John Bishop and his crew and the BBC.

Now rock on!

More lovely photos on my Flickr.

I’m not sure if it was a coincidence or through word of mouth, but just before my multi-media performance on the John Bishop Show was released on the BBC, I was invited to hula hoop live on the Blue Peter show…

It was so last minute, everything literally happened within a few hours, and that included running from London to Manchester to live TV, whilst beating a tube strike, in true ninja style… BOOM, HOOP, BANG!

You bet I got a Blue Peter badge for that!

Many thanks to everyone at the BBC Bridge House Manchester, it was great fun!

“It is the unhappy marriage of physicality and mental instability that enables Box of Frogs to convey a visceral, memorable experience. While not a typically delightful tale, the generous range of performances ensures that the sheer joy of going to the circus is not abandoned.” From a review by Terri-Anne Teo for remotegoat.co.uk

In Autumn 2012, I continued the journey I started with Stumble danceCircus and toured the UK with the ensemble show ‘Box of Frogs’, directed by Mish Weaver.

We started at the Purcell Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, London, which was an absolute pleasure and honour to be performing at.

The tour continued and we performed in:

Preston (Preston Guild Festival in Expo Tent)

Bristol (Circomedia)

Devon (The Landmark, Ilfracombe)

Stockton-on Tees (ARC, Stockton Arts Centre)

Manchester (Contact)

Leeds (The Carriageworks)

Scotland (Eastwood Park Theatre, Giffnock)

“Box of Frogs is a circus show with a difference. 5 acrobats and 2 musicians play with the audience’s expectations from their own perspective of mental ill-health and performance, against a back drop of filmic illusions.”

Based on an exploration of Mish Weaver’s personal experience of bipolar disorder, the performance illustrates her take on the feelings, thoughts and behavior that are part of the condition through the medium of circus itself..

Photos taken by Steve Eggleton.

Two lovely short films were made by people at www.thespace.org, as part of the Push Me Collection series, to illustrate how Stumble danceCircus pushed us, the performers, out of our comfort zone, to reach previously unattained goals in ‘Box of Frogs’.

http://thespace.org/items/e0000epc?t=d228

http://thespace.org/items/e00015xe?t=xppn

‘Box of Frogs’

February 6, 2012

In October 2011, I started working with Stumble danceCircus on a very different circus – theatre show, ‘Box of Frogs’. Under the direction of Mish Weaver, I joined another 4 circus performers and 2 musicians to explore Bipolar disorder and the connections between mental health and performance. After an extremely interesting and emotional first month of creation, we premiered the show at Jackson’s Lane Theatre, London. We will be bringing a newly developed version of the show back to the stage, in April 2012, so come and check it out: http://www.jacksonslane.org.uk/whats-on/event/2012/box-of-frogs