Stage, Theatre & TV8th April 2014

Graeae and Circo Crescer e Viver Present Belonging

Belonging, produced by the UK's Graeae and Brazil's Circo Crescer e Viver will work across four languages: English, British Sign Language, Portuguese and Brazilian Sign Language

by Sarah Lawrence

Graeae and Circo Crescer e Viver will present Belonging as part of CircusFest 2014 at the Roundhouse, London. As the UK's foremost festival of international contemporary circus, CircusFest is the ideal platform to premiere a brand new collaboration. This aerial production will feature Deaf and disabled performers including UK artists who performed in the London 2012 Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony and Brazilian artists trained in circus skills.

​Jenny Sealey, Graeae Artistic Director said: ‘In light of the Olympics and Paralympics being passed from the UK to Brazil, it is important that Graeae and Circo Crescer e Viver are working together on this cultural exchange. Belonging is our story and will be the first outing for this collaboration, which incorporates a long term training programme for Brazilian and UK Deaf and disabled artists. Although there is no literal translation for the word ‘belonging’ in Portuguese, across thousands of miles and across cultures, we quickly belonged to each other as a group.’

This bitter-sweet production, presented in the CircusFest tent, features hoops, trapeze and silks. A group of international artists explore the idea of belonging and delve into what connects and divides us as people. As the audience look on at a crumbling house the artists inhabiting the space will question, and ask the audience to question, where do you long to be?

Vinicius Damaus, Circo Crescer e Viver Artistic Director said: ‘For me this is a unique experience with Graeae and Circo Crescer e Viver working together. Bringing together Deaf and disabled Brazilian and British artists makes this project a huge opportunity to show the world how much it has to change its perception and see what are the true human values.’

Belonging will be the first cultural exchange in an ongoing relationship between these two companies who are both at the vanguard of reinterpreting contemporary circus for Deaf and disabled artists. This relationship began in November 2013, when Jenny Sealey and a team of artists, including Aerial Choreographer Tina Carter, went to Brazil for an intensive ten-day training period. The exchange will continue with the Brazilian artists travelling to the UK for a rehearsal period, which will culminate in the performances of Belonging.

Co-directed by Jenny Sealey and Vinicius Daumas, this production will include audio description and work across four languages: English, Portuguese, British Sign Language and Brazilian Sign Language.

Hannah Bruce, Roundhouse Circus Producer said: ‘We are extremely proud to be presenting Graeae’s new show in collaboration with Circo Crescer e Viver. Jenny Sealey’s work at the London’s 2012 Olympics and the opportunities this brought to England in the form of audiences and opportunities for deaf and disabled artists has been ground-breaking. Graeae world leaders and, with this exciting Brazilian partnership, the world premiere of Belonging will give London audiences the opportunity to experience their unique magic at CircusFest.’

In partnership with: British Council Transform and People’s Palace Projects.

Graeae is a force for change in world-class theatre - breaking down barriers, challenging preconceptions and boldly placing Deaf and disabled artists centre stage. Artistically led by Jenny Sealey, Graeae’s signature characteristic is the compelling creative integration of sign language and audio description, which engages brilliantly with both disabled and non - disabled audiences. Championing accessibility and providing a platform for new generations of artists, Graeae leads the way in pioneering, trail-blazing theatre. Graeae won the Promotion of Diversity Award at the TMA Theatre Awards UK 2012.

Circo Crescer e Viver started as a social programme based at the samba school Unidos do Porto da Pedra, in São Gonçalo, in 2000. Three years later it was constituted as a separate institution and moved to the city of Rio de Janeiro, adopting the name it is known for today in 2004. With the support of the Rio de Janeiro State Government it set up its tent just across the Sambódromo (the Rio de Janeiro internationally known Carnival venue), developing its social experience and methodology further with the surrounding local communities. The Crescer e Viver programme includes projects such as Profac (Circus Artists Formation Programme), Social Circus Programme and Free Workshops. It runs its own projects such as Mostra Competitiva (Awarded Showcase), Circo Volante (Touring Circus), International Circus Festival and Residência de Criação e Montagem (Artistic and Production Residency) and also works in partnerships including Circulando, Maleta Fortuna, Projeto Cine Litererário and UPP Social.

CircusFest 2014
is the biggest and boldest festival of contemporary circus from across the globe the Roundhouse has ever staged. Featuring major world and UK premieres in the Main Space, brilliant new shows in the Studio Theatre, a new Pop-up Tent, opportunities to run away with the circus with the Take Part Weekend and an array of amazing shows and events happening right across London.

More than just a venue Each year the Roundhouse works with over 3,000 11-25 year olds, enabling them to realise their creative potential, and offers audiences of all ages new and extraordinary experiences in live music, circus, theatre and new media.

Dates: Tuesday 15 – Saturday 19 April 2014
Times: 7.45pm Price: £15
Tickets: 0844 482 8008 /
Venue: Roundhouse, London

All performances include audio description and work across found languages: English, British Sign Language, Portuguese and Brazilian Sign Language. The venue is wheelchair accessible.

Rehearsal photographs courtesy of Patrick Baldwin

Article by Sarah Lawrence

posted in Entertainment / Stage, Theatre & TV

8th April 2014