Interview with Alice Allart

This week, we got to quiz The Party cast member Alice Allart about the show, her story and her current projects. Enjoy!

What are some of your highlights/favourite moments from the Party?

In the show, my favourite moment always changes as we the show is never really the same. And the audience is never the same either. We manage to keep it alive by surprising each other with some extras. But I’ve got to say I always enjoy the very last image of the show, which I’m not going to spoil here! My favourite moment of all the performances we have done was when I pranked fellow performer Ed into eating a cupcake on stage full of HP sauce. He still talks about it sometimes, I should watch my back for the revenge prank… 

How much does each show vary? As it is a family show, do you find the children react differently on different days?

Most importantly I think the group effect is important. We won’t get the same reactions if it’s a big or small group, if the show is in the morning or afternoon. If some kids are vocal, you can expect other kids to follow them. It’s never the same reactions and it’s great because it keeps us on our toes and we (especially Kaveh) have to stay aware to respond differently to various reactions.

How did you get into circus and performing?

I started circus classes amongst lots of different activities (dance, visual arts, capoeira, etc.) when I was about 9. And then, decided I wanted to be a circus director at about 13 years old. First, I had to go through normal education and once I got my A-levels, I did a preparatory circus school in Chambéry (France) and ended up in London at the National Centre for Circus Arts. I stayed in the UK for a while after that and now I’m working both in the UK and in France. It’s great as I feel I have a double life!

What is your main discipline? Do you find yourself strongly based in that or do you work with other disciplines?

My main discipline is Trick Cycling, that’s what I learnt at circus school but since then, I have developed Slack Rope and worked with different types of objects (ladders, books, cabbages, shoes, etc.) I love doing Trick Bike but it’s a solitary discipline and I like working with other people. What I really love is to develop work with an object that will fit into a specific show. The techniques we learn in circus are transferable. What I like is to look for all the possibilities that an object can offer even though (and even more so) when it’s not a circus prop.

What else are you working on at the moment? What should we keep an eye out for?

 With Bikes & Rabbits, we have started a project called Attack of the Cyclotrops. A sustainable immersive outdoor night time circus show around the theme of low budget science fiction with bicycles at the heart. The show, including the discipline of trick cycling, is coupled with an alternative pedal powered electricity generator activated by audience members to generate electricity for the show. First, we’ll develop the Cyclotron, a concept of secret cycle cinema with an outdoors projection and themed circus shows, characters, some live music. And we are performing our recently reworked These Books are Made for Walking, mostly in France for the moment.

Where did your inspiration come from for 'These Books Are Made for Walking’?

My Partner Fabrice and I have the same interest in working with common objects and finding ways to use them differently. We started working with books as it is very interesting in terms of content and material object. When we started to work with our director Yann from Cirque Inextremiste, the show changed a lot. The books are still present but we developed work around the ladders a lot more. The show now talks about tensions and mental disorder. The characters take more importance rather than the objects. This show was very interesting to do because we had around 4 completely different versions of it we performed and it so nice to see it evolving like it did. It’s important to leave open doors and allow yourself to always make improvements and changes. I guess the development is never finished.

What does your company, Bikes & Rabbits, aim to do? What balance to you aim to strike between narrative and aesthetic?

I still see Bikes & Rabbits as a young company. We didn’t try to define the future shows when we first created it. We knew we wanted to explore the narrative possibilities within circus but let the door open to very different types of projects. Attack of the Cyclotrops is going to be a bonkers outdoor show of invisible circus/theatre, whereas These Books is more intimate.

Some directions are starting to emerge and big lines are taking shape:

- Audience involvement, not simple interactions but a real    participation from the audience.

- Live music with the musician being involved in the show.

- The use of common objects. Our aim is to not use any circus props at some point.

But who knows what future projects will be made of…

Lastly, which venue have you enjoyed the most and which show are you looking forward to?

The audience is making a venue great. The venue in itself isn’t that important. If you work in a theatre where the team is really friendly and professional, the experience is going to be amazing. Generally speaking, I like performing outdoors because it’s very challenging, and it’s a way to reach people we wouldn’t necessarily see in a theatre. I have performed relaxed performances for autism friendly audiences and that was very interesting experience. I’d love to do this again. We have some venues lined up with These Books that would be amazing. But it’s not all confirmed yet so I’m not allowed to talk about it for now!

Catch The Party on tour with Alice and the rest of the crew somewhere near you here