Francesca Hyde is one of the five circus artists showcasing their spellbinding acrobatics in Ellie Dubois’ No Show which transfers to Soho Theatre following a highly successful UK tour and an award-winning run at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2017.  Ellie Dubois’ No Show puts female strength, skill and power centre stage, deconstructing superhuman circus performers and revealing what lies hidden beneath the showmanship of circus.

No Show is at Soho Theatre 22nd January to 9th February 2019.

You’re performing in Ellie Dubois’ No Show at Soho Theatre, what can you tell us about it?

In No Show, there are five female circus performers – through the performance, we explore and give voice to our personal experience of what it takes to be a circus performer.

Why did you want to get involved with the show?

I’d worked with Ellie before, and felt a good rapport. I have mostly made my own work before and was exploring what it was like to work for someone else – I had a suspicion the piece would have integrity, be thoughtful and fun – I have a lot of respect for the director.

Had you seen/been involved in any of the previous versions?

There was a preliminary R&D period that I was not involved with. I came on board for the 2nd creation period before we took the show to Edinburgh festival. My role was as a devisor and performer.

Why do you think it’s important female circus gets the chance to be seen in this way?

Often, in UK contemporary circus performances, you might not see female performers at all, or you may see a ‘token women’ being thrown around violently by men. Alternatively, you might see a female performer being underused or being used as a decoration. No Show is a rare example of five female circus performers getting a space to do and talk about what is important to them. We’re seeing more and more of female lead circus and with growing conversations around intersectionality I’m hoping we (the circus) will step up, and the more diverse, interesting and relevant work will get seen.

No Show is a kind of ‘behind the scenes’ look at the industry, why do you think that will appeal to audiences?

People are fascinated about what’s behind the spectacle, the real work, the cost. We let the audience in. It’s an experience that feels very human next to an industry in which the performers have often been seen as ‘superhuman’. The times we are in require us to look more closely at what is behind the facade. People get to know us, the real us (and I think we’re quite nice!).

What would you say to anyone thinking of coming to see No Show?

Great idea! We look forward to having you. You’ll see us doing handstands, acrobatics, hair-hanging, cyr wheel – doing what we love and what we’ve trained hard for. You’ll get an insight in to what doing those things means for us.

Greg is an award-winning writer with a huge passion for theatre. He has appeared on stage, as well as having directed several plays in his native Scotland. Greg is the founder and editor of Theatre Weekly

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