Adrian Berry's Blog on our new Total Theatre Award at The Edinburgh Fringe
Thu 7 Aug 2PM
So it’s Edinburgh Fringe time again and this will be my 15th year in a row. I was going to take a year off having recently returned from an exciting trip seeing a ton of circus at Cirko Festival in Helsinki. I’ve also been to Subtopia in Stockholm, Sweden, where I caught the premier of the amazing Racehorse Company with Super Sunday – a troupe of young Finnish guys who created one of my favourite ever productions four years ago – Petit Mal. In Super Sunday it becomes apparent that there is a vital ingredient missing in their deliciously inventive brains – fear. When it eventually makes it over to the UK I urge you to see it. It’s funny, gripping, totally original and contains all the elements of traditional circus which is so often missed in the contemporary world, but with a post-modern twist. And their Wheel of Death routine might be the most (dare I say it?) breath-taking moment I have ever witnessed in contemporary circus. Yes, one of the performers did sustain an injury, unsurprisingly – not through any death-defying feat but by banging his arm against a piece of truss in the final 5 minutes. Ironic…
This year Jacksons Lane has joined forces with Total Theatre to support one of their awards at the Edinburgh Fringe. The Total Theatre awards are a badge of excellence and quality and to receive one is more about the prestige than the glitz or prizes. It rewards and acknowledges innovation and advances in the more visually-led forms of performance at the Fringe, and has often included circus within its nominees and awards. This year there is a brand new addition – The Jacksons Lane Award for Circus Theatre. This will finally recognise circus as an art form in its own right at the Fringe and look to award a company or artist that is advancing the medium and helping to create new audiences for contemporary circus, from artists both at home and overseas.
We are thrilled to be launching this new award. Jacksons Lane has been acknowledged as the UK’s leading supporter of small to mid-scale circus. Each year we find new and exciting ways to grow circus, develop its emerging artists and bring more people through our doors to witness new and thrilling work. In the last few months alone we have produced five shows for CircusFest with The Roundhouse – three of them beyond our venue walls - and recently ended our mammoth four week run of Midnight Circus which was our biggest and most ambitious production yet. With this award, Jacksons Lane continues to grow outside of our building and find new ways to shout about what we do.
At the time of writing I am helping to shortlist the potential shows for consideration with the other assessors. It’s a hard but rewarding job and I’m not looking forward to making inevitably tough decisions. If you are up in Edinburgh – look out for the awards on August 21st and take the opportunity to catch some of the nominees and winners in the last week before it all disappears for another year.
Hope to see some of you at the Fringe!