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  • Writer's pictureHinton Magazine

Big Village - Digital

Big Village Digital is a new series of short films and online conversation between six circus companies: three in the UK and three in Australia. The projects profiles and celebrates the work of global majority artists, and kicked off with a short film from each company, all available here

Launched by Upswing circus company from here in the UK, Big Village – Digital will celebrate the pioneers of new modes of articulation and expression, using the accessible arts forms of circus and cabaret to challenge colonial and class-based notions art. The project is part of the UK/Australia 2021-22 season with the British Council Australia.

Vicki Dela Amedume, Artistic Director of Upswing, described it as “A sanctuary, a support network, a source of creative inspiration for the work we make and how we make it. I’m excited that in a very short time we’ve built a huge amount of trust, understanding and the creative ideas are cooking. I am excited by the way the digital space has opened up pathways for us to think about ways we can begin creating together, we knit together as creative forces in a way I have not experienced before and if we are able to move forwards and get into a rehearsal room together it’s going to be explosive!”

The project started as a meeting between Vicki and Natano Fa’anana, Creative Producer and Co-Founder of Casus in Australia. Natano said, “Vicki Amedume was in Sydney for a conference and I happened to also be in Sydney for a show. We met for a coffee and quickly realized our stories as Directors of our own companies and Artistic leaders were largely similar. We shared exciting creative yearnings as well as industry challenges. We maintained a friendship online conversing online as a crutch to support one another. Covid exacerbated the need for Vicki and I to connect as a means to sustain and maintain our respective companies and more importantly communities.

Vicki added, “Even though we were both immersed in the same Circus community and aware of each other we had never met and had a conversation. What was meant to be a quick coffee turned into an afternoon and evening as we shared our history as circus artists, artistic directors and, for both of us by necessity, holders of space/ mentors / support systems for the emerging global majority artists in our respective countries.”

The project aims to build a manifesto for action to support the development of global majority performance makers. Over the course of four months, the six companies have been creating a digital space where companies share their creative and working practices, and will be holding a curated discussion on 22nd March to share their findings and shape their final manifesto. Vicki said, “Big Village itself is very much aimed at Global Majority creatives working in Circus, Cabaret and other populist and primarily physical forms. Art forms where our bodies are the canvas. The event on the 22nd is for anyone interested in the potential of these forms, other artists, venues, producer etc who want to understand how artists in this space can be supported to thrive and make incredible work.”

Natano hopes that “many can benefit from the teachings and information developed within Big Village. In particular the arts sectors of each of the countries. But in its infancy, it's important we (Big Village) develop who we are first and how our knowledge can inform the respective sectors second.”