Interview with Chinese State Circus Creative Director

8th Dec 2011 10:30 am

Roll up, roll up!
The Chinese State
Circus is coming to town.

City Hall was fortunate enough
to chat to creative director, Phillip
Gandey, who has directed the shows
since they began back in 1993….

What makes the Chinese State circus so unique?
It is state funded and the Chinese government takes it very seriously indeed. There are 200 acrobatic schools across China and children are chosen from a young age in the same way that an athlete would be selected in this country, from around six or seven years of age.

Tell us about the education for an acrobat.
It’s a great career for life for them in China, they study acrobats alongside their normal academic studies, from around 10 or 11 year old they start intensive training and at 16 they graduate. Moscow used to do that but now China is the only nation in the world that offers that- and these people are sought after around the world to perform as they are finest artists in their craft.

What can we expect from the new show?
‘Yin Yang’ is the new production and the title means The interaction of two energies in a dynamic system of balance which we have mirrored in the show as it will not only keep the audience on the edge of their seats but show the more delicate and beautiful side of Chinese tradition. We have also kept the balance between the authenticity of tradition alongside more modern elements such as our all girl group of live musicians.

The audience will be able to witness the unpredictable and exhilarating twists of foot juggling with drums, the famous Chinese poles, the sensational contortionist and the dynamic hoop divers with their amazing somersaults, leaps and jumps.

Can you describe the costumes for our audience?
This year we were keen to continue the theme of balance through to the costumes. We wanted to keep elements of traditional Chinese dress together with modern fashion twists. They are all handmade and are being brought over from China only days before the opening date of the tour.

They are breath-taking and add to the wow factor of ‘Yin Yang’.

You have worked on every show, tell us what your role involves?
Being Creative Director, I normally come up with ideas around 18 months before a show. I spend six months refining those ideas and then about a year before the first performance I go to China to cast the acrobats and the choreography, we spend three months rehearsing. It all comes together with the composition of the music, about a week before the first performance the costumes are brought to the UK and then we rehearse until the show begins!

Why should people come to see the Chinese State Circus?
Because you get a glimpse of the most powerful nation on earth and we are the most exhilarating circus there is, we are incomparable.

The Chinese State Circus will be performing at City Hall from Friday 20 April until Sunday 22 April, find out more including a You Tube sneak peak, plus how to book tickets here


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