Interview with Lucy Gamsby Frost

Lucy was selected to receive support from Nearly There Yet’s Dare to Devise scheme, and here we ask her a few questions about her new show.


How are you involved with Nearly There Yet? 

I have been supported by Nearly There Yet as part of the Dare to Devise programme designed to give artists the space, money and support to take risks with their practise and experiment with circus narrative. 

Could you share with us a highlight from your recent show, Prison Cult Factory Circus?

My most recent highlight was being nominated for Best Circus Show at Melbourne Fringe. I didn't expect it at all, the other artists nominated in the category are either doing a big entertainment style cabaret or very well known in the scene over here in Australia. I was thrilled to be shortlisted. 

What was most challenging about making and performing the show? 

The most challenging thing was delving through my family stories in order to create the work whilst still feeling respectful to them. There is a lot of darkness in the piece I don't want to bring them shame or feel like I was exploiting our family sadness for my own artistic gain. 

Did your family come to see the show? What did they think? 
My mum and dad came to see it. It was very emotional for them but I think they can see how much love and respect I have for everyone. They are very proud of me and have backed me every step of the way. 

Will you be performing it again in the future? If so, where can we find details?  

I am piecing together a UK tour for Autumn 2019. My website is which will have more info nearer the time or on social media @lucygamsbyfrost

How long have you been in the circus industry, and how did you start?
I have been in the industry for ten years ish. I started as a designer and technician touring with street theatre companies and then was roped into being on stage when they found out I played instruments and did gymnastics as a child. I think starting out that way I have taken a long time to come out of my shell as a performer and really own it. I'm just about getting there now with support from organisations like Nearly There Yet. 

As you live between the UK and Australia, what have you noticed is different about the circus industry in both countries? What is similar?

It's a big question! Although Australia is a big country geographically it is small population wise so the circus community is very tight knit. They have been super welcoming to me. It feels like there are a lot more people that are "backyard trained" (didn't go to a circus school for a degree programme) so there is a bit more diversity. The acrobatic level is super high due to training programmes having Chinese and Russian influence at different points. 

Do you think the arts is accessible as a career for young people of working class background in this day and age? 

It's difficult to say. If you really want it then yes but there are a lot of barriers such as high fees for courses, equipment, online subscriptions, editing programmes, computers. This is a lot easier if you have a bit of disposable income. There's also the issue of being treated differently- it's schoolyard stuff really- that classic issue of not being in with the cool crowd because you can't keep up with all the expensive conferences/networking events charged at hundreds of pounds a pop. I managed to make it work by juggling flexible part time work as a venue manager at Soho theatre.

What is coming up next for you?  

I'm currently piecing together the UK tour for Prison Factory Cult Circus and hopefully an Australian one too in 2020, alongside sewing costumes and working on some shiny new five minute acts with the lasso! Yeehaw!