A woman stands on a stage, a white light shines on her from the right. She is spinning around with a cylindrical tube on her shoulder, she is laughing.

Transmission: In conversation with Rosa-Maria Autio

Transmission is our annual circus residency programme, where circus companies and artists take over our theatre for a week to develop new work. At the end of each residency week they share a ‘scratch’ showing of the newly developed work – and you can come and see these showings for free!

This week we’ve had Rosa-Maria Autio in the theatre, who’s shared some exciting insights into her work and experience as a circus artist, as well as her goals coming into her residency at Jacksons Lane.


Introduce yourself, how did you get started in the circus?

My name is Rosa-Maria Autio and I’m a Finnish circus artist. Circus was my whole life through childhood and adolescence. I ended up there kind of accidentally: me and my best friend got a free try out sessions at a local youth circus in Tampere Finland called Sorin Sirkus. A fun fact is that we both still do circus professionally and we are both foot jugglers. After high school and couple of years of being lost and finding myself, I finally decided not to listen those ‘When you are going to study for a real job’ questions, and applied to a circus university in Brussels, Belgium, called École Supérieure des Arts du Cirque (ESAC) – the stars were aligned and I got in. I graduated in 2017 with my specialty being foot juggling. In school I found my specific style of foot juggling, where I combine theatrical play with a new style of manipulation of traditional foot juggling objects and classical foot juggling technique. My real first job as a circus artist was with NoFit State Circus who I toured with until the beginning of 2022. Since then I have worked with different companies like Galapiat Cirque, Sirkum Polaris, 15feet6 and Palazzo to expand my image of what a circus can be. In the last couple of years I got more and more interested in physical theatre and clowning and did an intensive course in 2022 with Giovanni Fusetti, whose teachings are based on the methods of Jacques Lecoq.

You are working with Jenni Kallo during this residency, what does the creation and development process look like when you are working together?

Sometimes working with Jenni feels like an adult summer camp. We use kind and understanding methods to create a safe and supportive working environment, and she always has some fun activities for after work hours. We try to keep the working hours reasonable and we don’t want to push any of our team members to the edge of fatigue. She helps me to bring the beautiful chaos in my head to a more calm and focused form for the stage. Even though we use soft working methods, Jenni knows how to get me out of my comfort zone, and supports me when things are scary or I feel lost.

What are your goals for this residency?

Our goals are to develop the dramaturgical side of the show and try to find an order of scenes that feels right to us and to the audience. We are doing a cut, copy, paste, reorder with the material that we have, to find the best version of the show. We are also focusing on advancing the lighting design of the show, so we will be more prepared with our design when we begin in our last residency in September – which leads to the shows premiere.

What are your inspirations and motivations as an artist?

I feel like this is a difficult question for me. I never wanted to put myself in a box and I feel like I’m changing ‘what kind of artist I am’ all the time. Sometimes I want to pour my past traumas onto the stage and have so much meaningful stuff to say, and sometimes I just want to have fun and enjoy the connection with the audience and show ‘cool stuff’. What has stayed forever with me while creating, performing and researching is that I don’t want to take myself seriously and I love mixing theatrical play with original circus techniques. It hasn’t been easy because my chosen circus specialty is foot juggling, where normally the juggler stays on a chair facing upwards and not to the audience. My main research since ESAC has been to break that and to show the artist behind the technique.

What can audiences expect from your scratch showing on Friday (4 August)?

I want to give a little bit of myself to the stage and show the relationship that I have created with my juggling object to avoid the feeling of loneliness, which is a common sensation working as a solo artist. I want to open the doors to my imagination and create a tiny moment to experience what is happening in the chaotic place called my mind. All the rest is going to be a surprise!


You can catch Rosa-Maria’s scratch showing on Friday 4 August at 5pm, tickets are free and can be booked online here. Missed this one? We have two more artist residencies coming up, with showings on Friday 11 and Friday 18 August.

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