Last Chance to See Le Cirque Invisible + results of our kids design competition!

It’s the final few performances of our brilliant summer show, Le Cirque Invisible this weekend. For the past three weeks, the Queen Elizabeth Hall has been the home of legendary French performers Jean-Baptiste Thiérrée and Victoria Chaplin along with their menagerie of talented geese and bunnies. If you haven’t managed to catch Le Cirque Invisible yet, check out our trailer and book tickets here.

We’re also very excited to announce the winners of our ‘Design your own machine’ competition. In Le Cirque Invisible, Victoria and Jean-Baptiste use fantastic machines and contraptions made from unusual things. Have a look at the winning entries from our young inventors. And maybe even watch out for these machines in highstreet stores near you very soon!

Miracle Mechanical Hairdresser by Pearl, aged 7

The Musical Scooter by Walter, aged 5

The Big Speed Weed Machine by Constance, aged 9


Don’t miss out on Le Cirque Invisible running until Sunday 21 August at Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall. Get tickets here. 

Reviews and audience feedback for our summer show Le Cirque Invisible

There’s only one week to go of our beautiful summer show, Le Cirque Invisible. Here’s the Evening Standard’s review.

A circus of laughter lifts the mood
Crazy times in the captital demand a powerful tonic, so it is fortuitous that the fantastically whimsical Cirque Invisible has returned to Queen Elizabeth Hall. Last night, putting aside fears of a late return to lawless south London, we took the children to see the inspired silliness and surreal acrobatics of this manic two-person act.

Jean-Baptiste Thiérrée and Victoria Chaplin (daughter of Charlie) would be diverting at any time. But the howls of laughter seemed a blessed release from the past days’ tension. It’s so reassuring to have your mood improved by a clown with operatic kneecaps, a magic rabbit called Jean-Louis and a signing duck.

London Evening Standard

And here’s what some of our audiences have been saying about the show.

Courtesy of


Don’t miss out on Le Cirque Invisible running until Sunday 21 August at Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall. Get tickets here. 


Get to know Candoco dancer Dan Daw

Dan DawHow did you get into dancing initially?
Joining Restless Dance Company nearly 10 years ago was my first serious interaction with the dance world. I had been exposed to it earlier in my youth theatre days, at which time, opted to turn my attention to acting. From the first Restless workshop, I was in love. I knew it was a place I needed to be at that moment in time, but what I did not know is that it would still the perfect place nearly a decade later.

Why did you join Candoco?
As a disabled dancer, being with Candoco was something I aspired to early in my career. Although I was with Restless, I did not think that being a professional disabled dancer was viable until I discovered Candoco.

I had spent some years working as a project-based freelancer, but craved the rigor that comes through working for a professional repertory company. Spawned by my sneak peek into the repertory world during the six months with Scottish Dance Theatre, I felt I was fast approaching the right place artistically where Candoco seemed like, was, and is, the best fit.

How do people react to the idea of a disabled person dancing professionally?
I think it a shame that this is a question that still needs to be asked in light of Candoco’s twenty-year presence. This debate aside, I think audiences are intrigued, and this is why the company has such an extensive education program, and often hold post-show forums in the hope our audiences come away knowing that little bit more about what we do.

How does Candoco approach the idea of ‘normal’?
The beauty of dancing for Candoco is that it is a company, which functions on the idea of the individual, and what is inherent in every one of us as people, and as performers. From my seat within the company, it could be said Candoco are not looking to approach the bogus concept of ‘normality’; it exists only as a concept, and I’m sure as a company we can go to far more interesting places.

How does Candoco approach a work that has been created for non-disabled bodies? What are rehearsals like?
In the creation of Trisha Brown’s Set and Reset/Reset, we have had the privilege of building the work in the same way Trisha Brown Company did in 1983. Staying true to its title, we learned a series of set material. With the splicing of this material, adapted or not, we built and reset it into a new kaleidoscopic form. As the building of the work relied on improvising and making choices in relation to the whole, it very much became ours, and less an arm-by-arm, leg-by-leg regurgitation of the work.

Within its’ making, there has been the chance to create new solos based on the ideas of the originals. Still within the realm of Trisha Brown’s aesthetic and idiosyncrasies, these gave rise to explore our movement vocabulary and its’ idiosyncratic logic.

What are the advantages and challenges of disabled and non-disabled people dancing together?
There are no advantages or challenges specific to disabled and non-disabled dancers working together, but there are infinite advantages and challenges when people dance together, irrespective of ability.

Broadly, the fact that integrated dance is becoming as professionally recognised as our preconceived notion of dance is an advantage unto itself.

Do you have a career highlight so far?
I have two career highlights. During my Candoco career, working with Wendy Houstoun was something quite incredible. I came to appreciate Wendy’s way of deconstructing dance by placing it in relationship to what it was that interested her. The other highlight was performing with Kate Champion’s Force Majeure at the Sydney Opera House. I remember it being a very proud moment.

What inspires you?
The one thing that continues to inspire me throughout my career are those little moments when the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. We all live for these moments, and it is when they happen whilst working that I know I am on the right track.

If you could dance with anyone, past or present, who would it be?
If I could dance with anyone throughout the modern history of dance, it would be with, or even for, Pina Bausch. She was, and her work is, simply stunning.


See Candoco Dance Company in Turning 20: Anniversary Bill as part of Dance Umbrella at Southbank Centre on 14 & 15 October. Get tickets here. 

Mayhem Theatre’s Beautiful Blows on Sky Sports

Later this month we welcome The Mayhem Company and their new work Beautiful Blows to Southbank Centre. Working in collaboration with LEBA, The Lynn Club and Downside Fisher Club, company members have spent six months interviewing boxers aged 8 to 80 – past heroes, current champions and future hopefuls. Beautiful Blows is a unique celebration of these real life stories, and features young boxers alongside company members and professional actors.

Take a look at Sky Sport’s report behind the scenes!

See Mayhem Theatre’s Beautiful Blows at Southbank Centre from 23 – 25 August. Admission free! More info here.

Get to know… Indonesian dancer Ni Made Pujawati

We caught up with Indonesian dancer Ni Made Pujawati who has been leading a series of workshops at Southbank Centre this summer aimed at introducing new people to Javanese dance.

What do you fear the most and why?
Snakes! The village in central Bali where I come from had snakes everywhere – black mambas, kraits and cobras. The spitting cobras were the worst. And although I often had to go to the fields and scrub where they were, I never got used to them.

Which mobile number do you call the most?
My husband’s.

What – or where – is perfection?
A dance or theatre piece that comes alive so the audience forget that it is theatre.

Who is your favourite hero from fiction (book/comic/film/opera) – and why?
Liza Doolittle from My Fair Lady. It was the first film that I saw when I came to London and I know just how she felt!

What’s your favourite ritual?
Being Balinese, we have lots of rituals. I love temple ceremonies and always go to them in my village when I am in Bali.

Which living person do you most admire (and why)?
David Suchet – I loved the way that he grows into the character of Poirot each time. But he is very good at putting himself into quite different parts. I thought he was wonderful in Blott on the Landscape.

What other talent or skill would you like to possess?
I would love to be able to draw and paint well. I had to stop early on to concentrate on dance.

Tell us about a special memory you have of Southbank Centre?
I still remember my first performance of Balinese Dance in Island Hopping at Queen Elizabeth Hall in 2000 shortly after I first arrived in the UK.

If you could programme your ideal Southbank Centre show, which artists (living or dead) would you bring together?
Didik Nini Towok – the cross-gender Javanese dancer, who is wonderfully versatile. He makes people laugh and moves them at the same time.

Ni Kadèk Déwi Ariani – she is a wonderful virtuoso Balinese dancer with a great range. Her Tarunajaya is marvellous to watch.

Akram Khan – he is a very imaginative contemporary South Asian choreographer, who interprets his own work with feeling.

Rudolph Nureyev – I have only seen him in films, but I think he had an energy and passion which would fit with the others.

What’s your favourite website?
YouTube – it is a wonderful place for digging up all sorts of unexpected things.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
To learn from my mistakes.

What is the most played piece of music on your MP3 player or in your CD collection?
Teman, a song which is a collaboration between the Indonesian singer Krisdayanti and the Malaysian singer, Siti Nurhaliza.

Learn from Ni Made Pujawati in our Family Javanese Dance Workshops on 13 August at Southbank Centre. Get tickets here