• Katie Hardwick

Pop-Up Aerial Acrobatics in Kingston-upon-Thames


Pop-Up or Swing-Out?

Architects design clever aerial rig for Kingston

Circus Suburbia returned to the outdoors once more to delight audiences with aerial and acrobatic cabarets in the heart of the London suburb, Kingston. We used the brand new aerial rig in a new pop-up performance space for the very first time, set just back from the riverside.

A wonderful organisation called Community Brain, headed by Robin Hutchinson and Aniela Zaba, worked with the developers at Riverside Walk to commission a fold-away structure for aerial circus performances. The design is beautifully simple with 10m height to work with, and swings out from the staircase structure on the outside of the building which houses the Riverside Walk group of restaurants.

The Birdies Film Festival, in association with the International Youth Arts Festival, asked my social enterprise, Circus Suburbia, to return to the site of our 2012 show, where we first tested the site as a possible performance and events space with a freestanding aerial rig. This time we had a team of professional and student aerialists to perform cabarets of 15 minutes, which alternated with film screenings of 15 minutes. So it was a very intense day! All that plus some walkabout hula hoop and stilt walking to spread the word to shoppers of the new space.

Circus Suburbia teachers Bryony, Maisie and myself had been working on a trio act to work in the specific rigging space of 10m height and 2m width. We put a silks loop between two sets of vertical silks and played with shapes, drops and twists.

The theme for the cabaret was The Wizard of Oz, and my favourite picture captured by Tangle Photography is this one of Maisie in her silks loop / static cloud.

Circus Suburbia adult student, Tamsin, performing static trapeze. Picture by Tangle Photography.

Circus Suburbia Youth Circus - trapeze, picture by Tangle Photography.

Circus Suburbia Youth Circus students dive over their teacher, Bryony.

Akim Lowe took these pictures of my solo silks performance:

#circussuburbia #aerialacrobats #silks #trapeze #RiversideWalk #BirdiesFilmFestival #IYAF #CommunityBrain #popup #performancespace #aerialrig #outdoorcircus #cabaretact

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