In a world where there is not enough to go around, survival hangs in the balance and people are made to prove their worth. Against all odds, they dance, fly and sing on a tipping and spinning stage where the ground becomes the sky and the floor becomes the ceiling. Who will be left when the world stops spinning?

A circus show with original live music and groundbreaking physical moments.

Extraordinary Bodies’ new show ‘What Am I Worth?’ has been made with 150 people from across the UK and Ireland, some of whom will perform in the show with us.

Every performance will be audio described and sign language interpreted. Touch tours are available 1 hour before each show.

Extraordinary Bodies are supported by Arts Council England. What Am I Worth? has been developed with the support of the National Theatre, 101 Outdoor Arts and The Point Eastleigh.

The Making of the Show

In 2016 Extraordinary Bodies was awarded major funding from Arts Council England’s Ambition for Excellence programme. This funding supported a two year project leading to the creation of What Am I Worth?, as well as our vision of becoming the national integrated circus company of the UK and shaping the future of integrated and excellent circus and outdoor arts practice.

“Extraordinary Bodies will be a game-changer for circus in this country and we are delighted to support it. It’s a direct legacy of the amazing culture and ceremonies created for London 2012. We’re very pleased that a long term programme that will make exciting work of scale and develop talent of disabled and non-disabled circus artists at a national level is launched while we’re enjoying Rio 2016. It’s a timely reminder of how the drive for success in sport is an inspiration for culture too. It puts the creative case for diversity front and centre of great art – exactly where it should be”

Alison Clark, National Director, Combined Arts & Programme Lead, Ambition for Excellence, Arts Council England

The project consisted of three stages; Firstly a residency with Circus Oz in Melbourne, Australia in December 2016, in which creatives shared and explored techniques around working inclusively in Circus. Then a year of Creative Explorations, workshops with diverse communities in 11 locations around the UK collecting stories and ideas.

“We’ve brought people together through circus, writing and theatre: people who are in recovery, people with mental health problems, with physical impairments, people who are learning disabled and people living in poverty. We believe that people who are marginalised can give us a fresh perspective on how our society might value everyone more fully. Our mantra is ‘Circus for Every Body’.”

Claire Hodgson, Co-Director, Extraordinary Bodies

And finally, the making of the show, which brought together the knowledge, techniques, ideas and stories gathered along the way. This began with a two week residency at the National Theatre’s New Work Department in which we explored and developed narrative ideas with our writer Hattie Naylor and resident dramaturg, Nina Steiger.

“The National Theatre had made a commitment to disabled practitioners and performers, both on and off stage, and we want to support essential, ground-breaking projects like Extraordinary Bodies. Without companies like Extraordinary Bodies, these lives, these stories, this vitality will not be witnessed.”

Rufus Norris, Artistic Director, National Theatre

Following the residency, the company went in to devising and rehearsal at 101 Outdoor Creation Space, Newbury where they worked with the bespoke set for the first time (see page 6), and then on to The Point, Eastleigh to shape and polish the show. What Am I Worth? is a different kind of circus show. Working with a range of unique and diverse bodies, the devising process demands innovative and creative thinking around making circus, it involves collaboration, communication and risk taking.

The writer and composer are required to work in a way that is utterly immersive, and creative access is built into the devising process from the start. The very making of the show inspires the story itself, a story about human value and individual worth within society, things are only going to change if we collaborate, communicate and take risks.

Tour Dates 2018

9th June
Carlow Arts Festival

11th & 12th July
Sunderland Tall Ships Festival

4th & 5th August
Festival 2018, Glasgow

10th & 11th August
National Theatre River Stage

What am I Worth? features:

  • Live British Sign Language Interpretation for all performances. (With ISL available in Carlow).
  • Live spoken Audio Description integrated into the performance
  • Touch tours available before the show
  • Digital recording of Audio Described show summary online
  • All performances are relaxed – you can make noise during the show and you can come and go as you please.

About Extraordinary Bodies 

Extraordinary Bodies is the UK’s leading, professional, integrated circus company. We create bold, radical and joyous large-scale performance. Our leading artistic practice increases national awareness of the integration of D/deaf, disabled and non-disabled artists working equally together. We make work with, for and about our communities; work that represents the diverse makeup of our society – onstage, offstage and in the audience.

We are a strong partnership between leading showmakers Cirque Bijou and leading arts and diversity practitioners Diverse City. Together we have extensive experience of outdoor arts, circus, participatory and integrated work. Our partnership breaks boundaries and our work does too.

The two companies first worked together in 2012 on the beach in Weymouth, creating a large scale, integrated performance to celebrate the opening of the Olympic and Paralympic Sailing and Windsurfing events. In order to continue our collaboration, we formed Extraordinary Bodies together in 2013 and were soon commissioned to produce our first show, Weighting, by Exeter City Council for Unexpected festival. With the support of Arts Council England, Weighting was redeveloped in 2015 with writer Hattie Naylor and a new cast, and toured to 5 locations across the UK, finishing with a headline performance at Bristol’s Doing Things Differently event in September 2016.

Extraordinary Bodies is committed to making circus accessible for everybody. We provide professional opportunities and employment for people from diverse backgrounds including Deaf and disabled performers. We have also brought together a panel of experts to look at how to provide more accessible career pathways and develop more opportunities for Deaf and disabled practitioners to train in circus.

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