Performance artist Laura Murphy fuses aerial rope, stand up, theatre and live art in this groundbreaking, feminist solo-work.
Written and performed by Laura Murphy | Directed by Ursula Martinez
Drawing from circus, stand-up and live art, Contra is a solo-cabaret of contradictions. Fierce, witty and uncompromising, this highly physical show interrogates personal, social and historical occupations of the female body and explores, literally, where such bodies are positioned and how we are meant to look at them. Expect scenes of nudity, aerial acrobatics, and explicit references to mythical reptiles and female sexuality.
Created in part as a contribution to the #metoo movement, Contra is an intervention into perceptions of gender, femininity, queerness & consent:
“In Contra I use my body as a relatable starting point for discussing wider social issues, and use layers of humour, text and physicality to make the critical perspective more accessible. Bringing my naked body into the room puts social and political occupations of that body visually on the table for discussion: I embody Eve tempted and then let loose, billboard advertisements, pleasant faces, bodies packaged and consumed...you see vulnerability, a victim, a retaliator, a strong-woman acrobat and a feminist. In confronting my own experiences of these embodyments and particularly of gendered violence, I hope to inspire feelings of solidarity & encourage audiences to do the same” - Laura Murphy
Fresh to the Uk from a European tour, Contra is a highly physical, funny and thought provoking work of contemporary performance. Laura's methodology involves asking her circus technique to serve the work rather than lead it, helping her to push the boundaries of what is expected from aerial work and what aerial disciplines are able to communicate within a theatrical context. Through lip sync, spoken text, dance and aerial rope choreography, Laura juxtaposes her autobiographical accounts with the voices of comedians, preachers, pop vocalists and strangers on public transport. Delivered with humour, honesty and poignancy, Laura shares stories of bodily functions, heartbreak and family discussions of lesbian sex. Beautifully surreal and comically astute, Contra unpicks the absurdity and contradictions of female identity in the present day.
Audience comments: "...thought provoking, entertaining and progressive...unapologetic" | " Contra provides the pleasures of spectacle and deconstructs itself neatly in the process " | "... a radical overturning of conventional expectations of aerial performance and performers. "
Laura Murphy is a genre-defying queer performance maker from Bristol who makes text-driven and dynamic physical work about things that she thinks need to be talked about. Her work is cross-disciplinary fusion of theatre, live art, aerial choreography, dance and verbal explosions, which integrates intimacy and spectacle. Laura is a CircusNext Laureate 2018-19 (European programme coordinated by Jeunes Talents Cirque Europe and supported by the European Union) and PhD candidate at the University of Sheffield, researching aerial work as critical performance.
Ursula Martinez is a theatre maker (writer, performer and director). She co-directed the award-winning Office Party, and directed Victoria Melody’s Northern Soul, Leah Shelton’s Bitch on Heat and Lucy McCormick’s Triple Threat. She is an original cast member of the Olivier Award winning contemporary circus/variety phenomena La Clique and La Soiree, and is an associate artist with performance provocateurs ‘Duckie’. Martinez’s solo shows include A Family Outing, My Stories, Your Emails, and Free Admission, in addition to Wild Bore an international collaboration with Adrienne Truscott (US) and Zoe Coombs Marr (Australia). For all her theatrical accolades, Martinez is probably most well known for pulling red hankies out of her vagina!
Producer - Nicole A’Court Stuart
Lighting design - Katie Davies
Early Stage mentoring - Terry O’Connor
Choreographic support - Madeleine McGowan
Supported by Arts Council England, CircusNext (Jeunes Talents Cirque Europe), Jacksons Lane and Carré Magique
An enchanting circus fable that will mesmerise audiences of all ages.
Enter the forest, get lost in the tree tops and discover a whole new world.
Freely inspired from Italo Calvino’s novel “The Baron in the Trees”, this thrilling circus show will enchant you and amaze you, taking you somewhere between the ground and the sky, reverie and reality.
Above is a playful, romantic fable, following the life of Cosimo who at 12 years old rebels against his family and climbs a tree in protest at being forced to eat snails, vowing that his feet will never touch the ground again. He spends the rest of his life in the trees, has adventures with bandits and pirates, explores the forest, falls in love, and watches the revolutionary ideas of The Age of Enlightenment unfold beneath him. With high flying aerial stunts, amazing acrobatics, stunning visuals, and fun physical comedy, Above is a rich theatrical experience for the whole family.
Feel free to add and edit as you like.
The Lowry and Lost in Translation Circus present Big Top in the Park
A chaotic tale of a family of misfits.
Meet The Hogwallops, a family unlike all others. Every day activities are extreme, with simple tasks such as bedtime and teeth brushing needing a bungee and a high level jet-spray. Dressing is a game of flying aerial wardrobe antics, and meal times are a nerve-wracking display of juggling food and crockery.
Probably the craziest, funniest, most awe-inspiring family you will ever meet.
‘Human’ - a story about the small moments that shape us.
This new live show by Extraordinary Bodies is a poetic record of our time,
based on real life stories from our company and performers, and told
through circus, music and film.
Intimate, funny and celebratory, ‘Human’ looks into the heart of birth,
love and change. It reminds us that as humans, we have the extraordinary ability to move forward together by taking the time to really understand each other.
At a time when the world’s been cracked open, we invite you to spend
an hour with us, imagining how we can make sure no one is left behind.
‘Human’ is BSL interpreted and audio described, and all performances