Circus related work

Sarah Holmes of Paper Doll Militia commissioned us to do a photoshoot showcasing one of her recent aerial pieces. The piece uses a new bespoke apparatus in the form of “Spaghetti Ropes”. The unusual visual interest of the apparatus and the contrasts between the ropes and skin and the dark costume and hair made a simple black box shoot our preferred option, allowing the strong visual of the piece to speak on its own. Sarah was keen to get some close-up shots, which provides a perspective that’s often unavailable to the audience of an aerial piece.

sarah spaghetti ropes 1

sarah spaghetti ropes 1

We spent 11 days working with PaperDoll Militia as part of their artist’s residency at Summerhall. In their own words, “Unhinged is a duo fabric piece, which is currently being extended into a multimedia and movement driven “Live Photo Essay””.

We designed some of the lighting, and provided help and technical assistance, operating lights, sound and video. We also created a couple of short video pieces that are included in the show, and this time-lapse movie documenting the development process.

The photos that form the main new element of the piece are in the form of 35mm slides projected by kodak carousel projectors, and as solid as they are the age of the equipment has proven a bit of a challenge. We’re putting together a DMX control solution to allow the slide transitions to be run from the lighting desk, as it proved very challenging to run LX, sound, video and slides all at once.

The show premieres in June in the United States, but there will almost certainly be a Uk showing as well, which we’re thoroughly looking forward to.


We spent two weeks of December 2013 in Angola in southern Africa with Gandey World Class Productions looking after all the technical aspects of a new circus show specially put together for a short season of christmas shows, following on from a successful visit with the Chinese State Circus the year before.
While we were there we took the opportunity to try out the super slow motion on the GoPro Hero 3, and put together a wee edit of the restults. Quite nice, really. Sadly, we were a bit busy doing lights and sound for the shows to shoot any video or stills of them…!

ow by gnomatron
ow, a photo by gnomatron on Flickr.

The 2012 UK tour of the Chinese State Circus was a great 4 months spent on the road. I was technical manager, and it was a privilege to work with amazingly talented artists who had been honing their skills for most of their lives. I’m pretty pleased with this shot of the Shaolin Warriors I took, it really nicely captures one of the many wince inducing moments from their performance. Those are perfectly ordinary housebricks, and there’s no special trickery involved. The guys have a great sense of humour too and are always good for a laugh.

It was a challenging tour, taking in 39 venues all across the UK. The show included a live band, massive double chinese pole and a cast of 30 performers. We visited a huge range of venues, from no.1 touring houses to community theatres, and at each had a single morning to install our rig of over 40 intelligent fixtures as well as rigging, set and props.