Behind the Scenes: Extraordinary Bodies


Claire Hodgson and Billy Alwen are the Artistic Directors of Extraordinary Bodies, a collaboration bringing together the talent of D/deaf, disabled, and non-disabled artists, creating a unique space where diverse bodies are welcome. We spoke to them about their show Human, taking place at Brighton Dome on Wednesday 25 May as part of Brighton Festival.

'We are sharing important real-life stories that are often left untold'.

Where did the idea or inspiration for Human come from?

In lockdown during the pandemic, the team began creating Human by sharing stories in voice and video messages about the meaning, the uncertainty and the unknown of being human. The show was inspired by our various ideas including recollections of childhood memories, mums, falling in love, life-changing moments, and a love of sweets. 

How would you describe Human in three words? 

Hopeful, intimate, funny 

What do you hope people will take away from Human after they have seen the show? 

We would love audiences to feel captivated and transported by the performance, provoked by the subject matter, and hopeful and driven to consider their potential and that of others. We are sharing important real-life stories that are often left untold, so more people can witness how D/deaf, disabled, and non-disabled artists can work equally together on and off stage. 

Are you looking forward to being part of Brighton Festival 2022?

Claire Hodgson: I was born in Brighton and grew up here and nearby. I performed on the Brighton Dome stage as a kid in pantomimes and dance school shows and competitions. It is quite amazing to be bringing a show to Brighton Festival. Brighton's vibrancy as a cultural city is why I work in the arts as a circus and theatre maker. I saw so many wonderful shows as part of the festival growing up.

Billy Alwen: I am particularly looking forward to being part of a global artistic community again and at a time when culture has such an important part to play in bringing us together, we hope our show and the cast of Human can play a part in this amazing gathering of people and culture.


Any other information or interesting facts you want to share…? 

We are using a traditional piece of circus equipment – the trapeze. However, we have adapted it for our artists Tilly Lee-Kronick and Jonny Leitch. Their doubles trapeze performance combines a wheelchair, floor work, and first-of-its-kind aerial doubles choreography. It is a very important part of the story of the show and tells part of Johnny’s personal story and relationship with his twin sister Becky. 

Read more about our bespoke trapeze here.

We encourage people to join our movement to transform understanding and our relationships to create a fairer, richer world:


Extraordinary Bodies will also perform their show Til We Win on Wednesday 25 May at 2.30pm. Find out more here.

Human, 25 May, at Brighton Dome

Click here to find out more

Part of our Dance and Circus programme