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March 14, 2016

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Don’t worry, for every snake, a ladder is just around the corner.

May 15, 2016


RoguePlay are off to see the wizard! (Actually it’s the Generating Company but you know…..)


Eagerly sipping my early morning soya cappuccino awaiting a lovely short flight to the beautiful Bergerac, France. Whilst I sit, I’m safe in the knowledge that two hardworking circus lovers; Liam Walsh and Maurycy Kowalski, are embarking on a crazy 800km road trip in the trusty RoguePlay van, laden with as much circus kit as a small company like ours can manage. 

I also feel a bit more chilled because the marvellous co-choreographer; Lindsey Butcher of Gravity & Levity, is safely already on her flight to Bergerac after a touch and go crazy leg-it for your plane style situation this morning, due to delightful network rail and train cancellations. Already encountering our first Snakes & Ladders!


All is ok though and we are itching to get to the amazing Creation Centre run by The Generating Company, not far from Bergerac airport in France. I mean seriously…..a circus studio, a dance studio, accommodation onsite and as much peace and quiet as you can imagine! Really all there is to do is train, create and get this Snakes & Ladders show in the making! (Oh, there’s also a pool on site and a meditation space in the forest….did I mention that?) This is no holiday though. We are set for two days of rigging and playing before all our gorgeous performers arrive on Sunday and we can get dangling! 


So, who are these performers I hear you cry! We have two amazing rope performers, fresh from Gravity Circus Centre; Kate Nelson and Kat Clark, both Aussie’s and both rope crazy! There’s the beautiful and wonderfully characteristic Grace Turner from ‘up North’, and the fantastically crazy and emotionally expressive Florencia Leon, residing currently in Brighton. We also have our aerial trainee, Maria Charles, who is also just embarking on an Apprenticeship with RoguePlay. 


So, the very gracious and receiving Paul and Abigail of The Generating Company, who are also providing business mentor support on the project, have to put up with 10 of us danglers for 10 days. And I should take this opportunity to thank Arts Council England for making all this possible through the Grants For The Arts programme, as well as Birmingham City Council who are supporting TILT 16 Festival as a whole. 


So, what does this week have in store? Well, Snakes & Ladders was originally an Indian game devised to teach children morals of life and living, exploring vices and virtues. We will be working with aerial dance harness, lots of aerial ropes and some super exciting ladder ideas to explore the virtues of Faith, Generosity, Reliability, Knowledge and Asceticism, alongside the vices of Disobedience, Vanity, Vulgarity, Theft, Lying, Drunkenness, Debt, Murder, Rage, Greed, Pride and Lust. The game is essentially a game of fate, understanding that even though you should live life by these virtues it is possible to fall down a snake at any point, as well as find a ladder to compensate. 

In the words of Salman Rushdie, it is ‘no mere carrot-and-stick affair; because implicit in the game is unchanging twoness of things, the duality of up against down, good against evil; the solid rationality of ladders balances the occult sinuosities of the serpent; in the opposition of staircase and cobra we can see, metaphorically, all conceivable oppositions, Alpha against Omega, father against mother.’ Couldn’t have said it better myself Salman!


So it’s on with the rigging, on with the playing and on with the creation of our highlight show for Birmingham’s first Aerial & Physical Theatre Festival, TILT 16. Snakes & Ladders will be free and outdoor in Centenary Square Birmingham, and open for international touring from 2017. There are some other amazing things happening during the festival so check it all out at, or join us on twitter @Tilt_Festival, Instagram #TILT16 or keep up to date with RoguePlay in general


Bonsoir for now (my gosh….I must brush up on my pigeon French!) and don’t panic, there’s plenty more updates to come!


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