The UK’s Bristol-based centre for contemporary circus - Circomedia - launches its own performance company next month with a brand new production inspired by classic horror and ghost movies and directed by the multiple award-winning John-Paul Zaccarini.
PLAY DEAD gets its premiere at St Paul’s Church, Portland Square, Bristol, BS2 8SJ, from Wednesday 4th as the finale to a season which has seen Circomedia greatly expand the number and range of shows it offers to audiences.
It will be the debut production by the newly-formed Circomedia Graduate Company – made up of performers who have completed the circus-theatre school's unique degree course in contemporary circus and physical performance (run with Bath Spa University).
The show is set in a Victorian former orphanage and opens with new owners moving in - unaware of the place’s dark and troubled past or that their estate agency told only half the story when describing the old house as ‘character-full’.
Director John-Paul Zaccarini says: “The setting is an excuse to pay homage to some of the most memorable chiller films of the past few decades and give them a circus-theatre twist by incorporating acrobatics, juggling, trapeze and other circus skills. Ours is an original story, told in an exciting new way, but film buffs will spot references to numerous horror classics, such as THE AMITYVILLE HORROR, THE EXORCIST, NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET and SCREAM.”
Zaccarini has turned down offers to work on London Olympics 2012 cultural projects to direct the new company, following the success of the student show he directed and devised for Circomedia last year.
He says: “The choice wasn’t hard. Circomedia produces some of the most inventive and fearless performers I've ever come across so there was no way I was going to pass up the opportunity of creating a piece of circus theatre with them from scratch. They are the artistes we can rely on to create the innovative, risk-taking, brave new work for which we're all thirsty.”
Circomedia’s Artistic Director Bim Mason adds: “Circomedia has been keen to create a company of graduates for some years but what clinched it was finding out how keen John-Paul was to be involved. There are very few directors of contemporary circus in the UK who can rival his track record of success. Our joint hope is that PLAY DEAD will demonstrate the power of circus-theatre while also expanding the public’s perception of what circus techniques can do when combined with strong story-telling and good acting. It will also be an excellent showcase of the unusual and distinctive training Circomedia provides and of the exceptional talents of our best performers.”
PLAY DEAD is on at Circomedia’s central Bristol base – St Paul’s Church, Portland Square, Bristol, BS2 8SJ – from Wednesday 4 July to Saturday 7 July (7.30pm start). Tickets are £12 (£8 concessions) and can be booked via www.circomedia.com or by contacting the box office at Colston Hall, 0117 922 3686. Age guidance: 16+.
The company is keeping a multi-media blog of the devising process: http://playdead2012.tumblr.com/