11 performances

Streets Alive / Open House 2013

During Parklife, the company experimented with framing public taster workshops, impromptu stunts and creative exchange sessions with local community groups in public spaces as mini performances in their own right. We also played with adapting caravans for circus and making relatively mobile structures for outdoor circus.

In 2010, as part of the Parklife residency in Taunton, we were asked to run an advance public engagement weekend in an attractive town centre urban space - we were surprised to discover how well this worked, how ready people were to play in a public square. In 2011 we were invited by Birmingham Hippodrome to create a similar intervention to celebrate the launch of the Cultural Olympiad in the West MIdlands. What would become Open House was born. We took the Parklife creative enquiry approach and theatrical language into the centre of Birmingham, along with the adapted caravans, outdoor structures, the Parklife band and company. We invited the public to help us create new circus sports and stunts, in advance of the London 2012 Olympic Games; our company was training new circus-sport skills, such as trampette soccer and we invited the public to join in and created new circus competitions, with medals awarded to prizewinners. For four hours we performed, the band played, we ran workshops, encouraged the public to perform and become the event itself and several thousand Brummies became enthusiastic new recruits for the circus. We called this new intervention Parklife Pod

In 2013, this form of animation / activation of public space was developed further, renamed Streets Alive for Clifton Street in Cardiff and Open House in Birmingham. We added some more caravans to the red and blue themes collection, still a legacy from the second phase of Parklife. Themes were adapted, new routines developed and the project extended to become a longer residency that could offer Parklife style creation exchanges and incorporate local communities into the daytime performances. The 2013 version of Open House was part of Four Squares Festival in Birmingham, celebrating the launch of the amazing new Library of Birmingham. We were excited by the creative possibilities of this context, and focused our residency and our engagement with the public, around "what kind of circus can you do while reading a book?"


Pattern 24


Orit Azaz (16 mins)