What is 'Nights at the Circus'?
Nights at the Circus is a show by Spare Tyre, we work with people who are lacking representation on the main stages of theatre. This cutting-edge production was directed by our Associate Artist Fauve Alice and made in collaboration with learning disabled performers David Munns and Ellie Mason – who won the Sexual Freedom Award for her performance when the show premiered in 2017.
This year we want to take this provocative and ground-breaking show which explores sex and desire; often a taboo-subject in learning disabled communities; to Edinburgh Festival Fringe where it can sit alongside the latest and best in theatre to challenge audiences expectations and increase representation of learning disabled performers.
How the show came about...
This show began when David Munns, a learning disabled performer, began cross dressing and found he was experiencing rejection and humiliation. We created a safe space to explore issues around gender identity and queerness, slowly we began to engage with wider ideas around sex and sexuality. The project grew in response to the needs and impulses of the performers in the room, eventually manifesting as a piece of theatre.
Why should the show be included in Fringe Festival?
Often work by learning disabled performers is seen as non-professional, we wish to validate this work by placing it in high-profile contexts where it can stand alongside the latest avant garde theatre. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the worlds largest arts festival with audiences coming from around the globe to see the latest and best in theatre.
The piece questions who is allowed sexual agency, which bodies are considered desirable and why. We think it is important to open up debate around these social issues. The show puts neuro-diverse voices centre stage to present these taboo subject matters. We hope that by presenting the show to Fringe audiences we will spark conversation around the themes raised by the show. Our long term goals are to tour the show further afield to European venues, something we feel is even more important in the current climate. As Fringe is an international festival we hope to be able to continue building those vital relationships here.
Why do we need your help?
The high cost of putting on a Fringe show is notorious but the exposure it provides unparalleled. To reach as wide an audience as possible we want to be at Fringe for two weeks in August which we estimate will cost tens of thousands of pounds. You can help get our fantastic cast up to Edinburgh by donating now!