WHAT IS IT:
25th, 26th, 27th, 28th, 29th January 2017
Becoming Shades is a show that takes the audience on a journey through the dark heart of the Vaults in Waterloo. The long tunnel of the cavern is transformed into Hades. Performers appear from in front of you, behind you and from up above you. There are no seats, everyone makes their own journey and the action takes place all around. The score has been composed specifically for the show and is performed live. And the circus features high level acrobatics, big aerial drops and falls and multi-performer choreographed fire elements.
With Becoming Shades we create a world that will swallow you, that is all-encompassing, that will exist for the length of the show, but will stay with you – something raw, powerful – a little sexier, darker, something to grow inside of you. Conceptual: yes, but edgy. A world of shadow, deep underground, where the sun can't penetrate and the light is always shifting. You will leave the day-to-day reality behind to explore a cavern made up of light and dark – a place for circus to exist that can move you, that can make you feel. It's immersive circus, where movement becomes a language and you are at the centre of it.
WHO WE ARE:
Chivaree Circus have been making performances for nearly 5 years. We've made shows for big festivals like Glastonbury, Latitude, Primavera, Electric Picnic and many others as well as for club nights, parties, charities, events. We've performed across the UK, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. In the past we worked for commission making shows and performances for lots of different people to celebrate just about everything you can think of.
Becoming Shades is our first solo production, where we have complete creative control over the narrative, aesthetic and cast. And we are very excited about it :)
To create this show, we couldn't hope for a better team, who collectively have worked with the most pioneering immersive theatre companies in the world, including: Punchdrunk, Secret Cinema, You Me Me Bum Bum Train and more. We specifically have chosen performers who specialise in immersive theatre, circus or both, to bring this show to life.
_Chivaree Circus is run by Edward Gosling and Laurane Marchive. We have a combined 15 years of performance experience, a Guinness world record to our name and a desire to make beautiful circus. As a company we make all of the costumes in house, all the choreography, concept, production is made by us – often at 3 in the morning as a deadline approaches – but with the belief that a good show can make life worth living.
_All the music is written by Sam West and Becks Johnstone. It's been a labour of love, with many many hours of creating and reworking ideas. The end result merges both classical and contemporary music styles to compliment the aesthetic of our show. Both musicians are classically trained and play a host of instruments - all the music has been produced by Sam West.
_Rebecca Rennison is the central character Persephone. She is an exceptional circus performer who specialises in aerial silks and hoop and is perfect to bring to life this story of strength and female empowerment.
_AbnorMalik is a mime artist and physical performer renowned for playing weird and wonderful creatures and characters. He plays Charon who will take you across the River Styx.
_Chorus – played by our best fire performers including Jessica Pearce and Rosie Bartley they embody multiple roles: the Furies, Cerberus, The Search Party – they are also there to help lift the aerialists up above the audience, and to help move people through the space.
_James Farrimond is in charge of technical production. As well as creating his own immersive theatre pieces with his company Exit Productions, he's recently been working with Secret Cinema and The Crystal Maze.
WHY BECOMING SHADES a word from our director:
Becoming Shades was envisaged as an antidote to the vast cacophony of voices that tell us there is less place for a woman's experience than a man's, for the endless hollywood films that fail the Bechdel test, for the lack of roll models for girls and women in fiction, to the helpless damsels, to the manic pixie dream girls, that the dominant narrative is the only narrative, to the codes and history created without women. We want to reclaim stories, old fairy tales and myths – beautiful stories – and recreate them with active, urgent, fully realised characters who have their own desires, perspectives and complexities. Where all the characters, male and female exist and are valued. Our world is made up of the hidden things, the underground reality, the sub-conscious, the darkness of people, the margins and the psyche. Personal not exploitative. A light that is always moving and shifting, not block colours but endless gradients – with the understanding that objects appear different from the angle they are viewed from, that in the darkness we exist somewhere in the spectrum, where we are all Becoming Shades.
We believe the stories we tell shape who we are, how we perceive the world and how the world exists as a consequence. In the original story, Persephone is kidnapped by Hades and held against her will in the Underworld. This has been the way this story has been told for centuries but we wanted to change that and to invert the perspective. To have a Persephone who wouldn't be passive but empowered and very much in charge of her own trajectory and where everything is seen through her eyes so that she isn't just a mere character but the very perspective that shapes the show.
WHY VAULT FESTIVAL:
The show premiered at Jackson's Lane earlier this year in a more traditional end on theatre format. It was done on a shoe-string budget but the cast came together to push the show forward and we sold out in a week. Now we want to take it much further and develop it into the immersive format we had originally envisaged. The setting for the Cavern in the Vault is a perfect space to do this as it fits with the aesthetic and world of the show. Vault Festival is also an incredibly exciting festival with a diverse range of different art forms from stand-up comedy to musical theatre and cabaret. For us once the festival is over, the next step is to take over an unusual space (an old warehouse or industrial space) for a one or two month run where we can make the show even bigger and better. But for this to be possible, we have to make a great show for Vault Festival and then build on it to take it to a wider audience and scale up the production.
We can't give away tickets as rewards because the limited amount of tickets we can sell in the first place is a problem in itself. And if we give them away now there won't be any left to sell when we go on to market the actual show!
However we have put together a collection of rewards, both material and immaterial. Basically we've got things, and we've got experiences. So no matter what you're into, we've got something for you (bunny not included) !
Risks and challenges
The tumultuous world of live performance, theatre and circus means that to create this show is going to cost vastly more than we can raise in ticket sales so we need your help.
Without going into all of the maths, with a £20 ticket, after VAT and the box office split we receive about £10. The capacity of the venue is 90 per night, we are doing 5 nights, that's 450 tickets which amounts to roughly £4500.
We believe passionately in paying artists a fair rate (there are guidelines through Equity for what that is). So with ticket sales we could just about cover the cost of the performers for the week, but then there are all sorts of additional costs that are added on.
The main one is rehearsal for a week, this costs £3,000 for the cast + rehearsal space and that's just the start: putting in new aerial points / certifying existing ones in the venue to make sure the aerial is safe, props, some additional costumes, a few flyers and posters are all costs ticket sales alone won't cover. Ultimately we want to make the show financially sustainable but on the short run that's not possible just yet.
This is a tough time to be making art and performance. The barriers to creating new work like this are prohibitive for small companies. There is little funding around, which means that you have to be a big established brand in order to make it work at the start. Government cuts to the arts and education within the arts means that it is being valued less and less at a time when we perhaps need it most. Circus, theatre, venues and nightlife are vital to our lives. So we need to find new ways to fund it and get projects off the ground.
London is at the forefront of edgy circus and pioneering immersive theatre. These are scary, but also exciting times to be putting on productions and we want to push the boundaries of what's possible.
The show is definitely happening, no matter what. But on the current funding we would have to scale back significantly in terms of the design, experience and rehearsals needed. Practically we can't create the show we want, pay everyone fairly and make this project a success without your help.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (32 days)