by Bara, Cirqueon
Based on previous cooperation of Cirqueon and the Arts and Design Faculty in Pilsen, we proposed to organise a workshop connecting circus skills and multimedia techniques. We brought a group of 17 international circus people consisting of jugglers, aerialists, acrobats, dancers, tight wire walkers, one musician and one lighting designer and mixed them with students of
multimedia and animation. In the end, the group grew up to 25 participants! They were divided to four smaller groups working on their own little projects that were to be presented on the last day. All teams consulted their work with French theatre director and dramaturg Véronique Caye who was invited to lead the workshop.
The themes chosen by teams were “Voices” focusing on the inner voices of performers before their acts, “Numbers” working with Pythagoras´ theory of importance of numbers in geometry and all nature. “Dream team” tried to find the boundaries between dreaming and reality and “Line” performance chose digital noise and affects of technical development on human relationships.
Everyone knew there was not much time. Decisions had to be made quickly and teams of people who haven't met before had to agree on everything – theme, circus and multimedia techniques used, sound and light design etc.
First two days were hectic and a little nervous but during third day all teams found their way and were successfully working on the presentations. Fourth day was more about technical details and finishing of video materials. The last day we went through technical run-trough, set up all lights, projectors and circus equipment and invited students from the university to see what we did in only four days.
And saw a great forty minutes long presentation of four ideas developed by hard working teams of circus and multimedia people! Nobody expected that this much can be done in only four days of work. We keep getting positive feedback from everybody and hope to organise another workshop like this in near future.
To see preparations and presentations themselves, watch video we took and streamed online:
Robyn is a Bristol-based director, teacher and performer. With over 20 years experience she is a passionate practitioner of clowning, physical theatre, circus and street arts. She has a MA in Circus Directing, a Diploma of Physical Theatre Practice and trained with a long line of inspiring teachers including Holly Stoppit, Peta Lily, Giovanni Fusetti, Bim Mason, Jon Davison, Zuma Puma, Lucy Hopkins and John Wright.
Over the past five years she has been exploring the meeting point of clowning and a deep desire to address the injustices in the world. This specialism has developed through her Masters Research ‘Small Circus Acts of Resistance’, on the streets and in protests with the Bristol Rebel Clowns and in research residencies with The Trickster Laboratory.
Robyn’s Activist Clown research has led to collaborations with Jay Jordan (Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination, France), Clown Me In (Beirut), LM Bogad (US), Hilary Ramsden (Greece) and international Tricksters; ‘The Yes Men’ (US).
During the pandemic in 2020, Robyn set up The Online Clown Academy with Holly Stoppit and developed a series of Zoom Clown Courses. Robyn’s research, started during her Masters, has been exploring the meeting point of clowning and activism, online, in the real world and with international collaborators. With this drive to explore political edges of her work she has also dived back into the world of the Bouffon; training with Jaime Mears, Bim Mason, Nathaniel Justiniano, Eric Davis, Tim Licata, Al Seed and the grand master Bouffon-himself; Philippe Gaulier.
Keen to explore the intersection of clowning and politics, Robyn is driven to create collaborative, research spaces, testing and pushing the limits of the artform to create new knowledge and methodologies for her industry and strengthen partnerships for future work. Some of her most recent collaborations and teaching projects have included the Nomadic Rebel Clown Academy (5-day Activist Clown Training), The Laboratory of the Un-beautiful (Feminist Grotesque Bouffon Training for Womxn Theatre Makers) and the Clown Congress (annual gathering of clowns, activists & academics collectively exploring what it means to be a clown in this current era)