Festival Hot Seat: LEXICON
LEXICON is the latest creation by NoFit State and award-winning director, Firenza Guidi - a daring, seductive and utterly contemporary take on circus for a seated audience in the round. We had a chat with the crew to find out more about this exciting new performance.
Firstly, can you introduce your show and tell us what it is about?
LEXICON is NoFit State’s latest show, unveiled in Newcastle-under-Lyme last month and opening to the world in Brighton as part of the Brighton Festival. It is a performance created for our big top, a nod to the history and heritage of British Circus, crafted for a seated audience in the round and combining top of the art technology with traditional circus skills.
How and where will the work be staged?
Under the NoFit State Big Top, over on Hove Lawns, Kingsway.
Why should someone come and see your show?
For the spectacular circus skills, the brilliant live music but also to discover a world that sits slightly on the side of reality, a world where the magic begins, a world inhabited by misfits where anything can happen.
Where did the idea and inspiration come from?
This year is the 250th anniversary of circus, which was created by a British man called Philip Astley. Although this is a common fact in the circus world across the globe, not many people in the UK know about Astley, his life and legacy to the arts world. We have wanted to pay homage to the man but also to 250 years of tradition, and begin shaping the next 250 years of circus in the UK. There are many strands of inspiration behind LEXICON but the main one is about the heritage, and a group of people who have found each other in the circus and begin misbehaving.
Why do you think it’s an important story to tell?
The circus sector in the UK has evolved slightly slower than in other countries such as France, Canada and Australia that are now at the forefront of contemporary circus. We have felt it important to re-claim the role Britain has played in the evolution of the art form and make a piece of work that is inspired and informed by our history.
What sort of person is going to love this show?
The NoFit State audience has always been a very broad crowd. In the past, our shows have been standing promenade performances, with live music and a bar running the full duration of the show so as well as arts audiences, we have always attracted individuals that wouldn’t perhaps got to see performance work otherwise. With LEXICON and our seating in the round, we hope we have created something that will continue to excite our own audience but perhaps be more accessible to families, younger kids and their grand-parents… Circus is for everyone and we want everyone to feel they are welcome and able to run away with us for two hours.
What does Brighton Festival mean to you?
We love going to Brighton. We love this early period in the season, being by the sea and hopefully this year again, the sun. It’s a great place to kick off the touring season and the Brighton audience is a great one to perform to. There is also an air of nostalgia in Brighton with the pier, the arcades, the lawns which is particularly fitting to LEXICON, so we’re very excited to be presenting our new show there. It is also a time for us to meet with artists friends, see other shows, and hopefully have one or two parties...
What are you most looking forward to in this year’s Brighton Festival programme?
We are looking forward to Amanda Palmer’s gig, there is a long time connection with her from our partying years in Edinburgh (a long time ago…) and it will be a pleasure to catch up with her again. We’re also very much looking forward to Hofesh Shechter’s new piece Grand Finale, we’d love to do a project together with him one day!