People Show 137

During October, along with Dave Southall, we designed and built a bandstand/royal box, which revolves to become a train carriage. This along with some other interesting objects was for People Show 137 ‘Back in Ten Minutes’. Dave’s structure took on board the need for lightness and ease of assembly and one of it’s remarkable features is that it can be assembled without tools and splits in such a way as it will go through a standard door. Other bits of creative shed work were remote controlled tennis ball drops and deluge (120) and a mysterious smoking croissant. Maureen our animatronic ventriloquist doll also made her London debut. (As her agent I had been looking for an opportunity for her all last year!) She became a kind of narrator and opened the show with this wonderful line from Mark. ‘and so the audience experiences that wonderful feeling that this might just be the best theatrical experience of their entire lives, cue lights, cue sound…..’


It was a treat for me to work with Emil Wolk again (For those not familiar with Avanti history Emil directed The Spurting Man and co-devised Crash Cabaret with us, back in the nineties.) and to meet and work with Mark Long and George Khan both legendary figures in the history of this company, which has more than fifty years of experimental theatre work. We were together for a month rehearsing and devising then played three preview performances at Toynbee Hall in December. People Show 137 will be touring in 2019.


Avanti Display

Full Circle comes full circle

We were in Newcastle under Lyme last weekend performing Full Circle as part of the circus 250 Homecoming celebrations.  We had a short residency at The New Vic Theatre in 2017 when we were devising this piece and have had great support from Appetite both then making the first try out performance and in 2018 we were lucky to be back, again supported by Appetite, with the (nearly) complete (are they ever really finished?) show. This kind of support is unusual for us and much appreciated. It was a treat to be back on such a lovely day and be a small part of The Homecoming very much a homecoming for us.


Hydromania in Kortrijk

The dust or should it be the damp has settled back here at Avanti Towers after an exciting time in Kortrijk where we made our Hydromania show at Sinksen Festival on the 19th May. I am so lucky to work with a team of amazing freelance performers and technicians who understand the nature of this odd site responsive show. Once again there were new elements, a synchronised team of spurting men who arrived in great style down the river, an extra layer of large scale fireworks plus everything we learned last year with The World Beaters, who were once again very much as we say ‘on it’. The music was by the amazing  Seaming To. Thanks to Ruth and Clare for their choreographic work with the Belgian dance team, Jon for calmly mending anything with nothing, Dominic Cook and Dominic Coffey, Pete for really well judged and sensitive Pyro (not too much smoke!) Performers Marc, Adam and James for their experience and sheer bottle and of course Adam P. now called Adam ‘three comms’ Povey for running the show. Alex and the Sinksen team for your professional attitude to getting everything as we wanted it and for the amazing hospitality. Thanks to Joey and Karl for excellent boat verk! and deDingen who officially serve the best coffee in Belgium and that is a FACT.20180519_223612(0)




Full Circle on Instagram

We are pleased to report that Full circle has been supported by the arts council. This year the show will play strategic showcase festivals with a view to touring in 2019. Last week we were at 101 where the group created an instagram page with a ‘rehearsal to performance’ theme. Its HERE The feed will run up to September and perhaps beyond!

Its Never Really ‘Just like That’

Tommy Cooper’s “gag file”, in which the late comedian meticulously recorded his jokes, is now preserved by the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

The V&A acquired an archive of papers and props once owned by Cooper in 2016 which show he was less shambolic off stage than he appeared when performing.

The gag file is among 116 boxes of his papers going into the V&A collection.

The museum said he used a system for storing his jokes alphabetically “with the meticulousness of an archivist”.

‘Funniest of all time’

On stage, Cooper was known for his apparently chaotic magic routines as well as his trademark red fez and his catchphrase “just like that”.

But the file shows how he carefully sorted his jokes into dozens of categories, ranging from boxing and bull fighting to wives and women.

The material sheds light on his “scrupulously organised working methods, the business side of his vocation and the extent of his writing”, the V&A said.


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I read the above on the BBC website after watching David Threfall in the Simon Nye film ‘Not Like That Like This’ over Xmas. In the film we see Tommy obsessively prop checking before a performance. ( I myself have to position all the props in The Spurting Man show and need them to be in literally the same position as always). For example the pipes behind the Spurting Man show are even wound the same way round before each performance (anticlockwise in case you were wondering). I’m not comparing myself to the great Tommy Copper, but my point is that something appearing simple in a performance very rarely is, especially if you are concentrating on, in Coopers case, performing magic tricks and in mine trying to keep track of the ever changing and chaotic outdoor environment where we perform. Obsessively controlling everything I can helps me to deal with and even enjoy the bits that go (apparently) wrong.


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