A collage of female and non-binary sideshow performers
Outdoor

Carnesky’s Showwomxn Sideshow Spectacular

Marisa Carnesky
16 performances between Sat 25 - Sun 26 May 2024, various times
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A ground-breaking, breath-taking, death-defying large scale new outdoor show bringing together the largest single gathering of highly-skilled, diverse women and non-binary performers for the first time in a British seaside town.

Olivier award-winning performance maker Marisa Carnesky reimagines British seaside variety entertainment through a diverse queer and feminist lens. This woman-led company is channelling the ghosts of women from Brighton’s unique entertainment heritage to uncover lost stories and find new voices.

A cast of amazing women and non-binary people will deliver performances, tell stories and perform stunts with a sense of danger and intrigue, resulting in a truly memorable theatrical experience. All womxn aerialists, wrestlers, illusionists, glass walkers, drag kings, contemporary clowns, whip crackers, sword climbers, sideshow performers, variety dancers, contortionists, unicyclists, extraordinary performance artists, storytellers, hula-hoopers and hair hangers invite you to witness all new spectacular matriarchal utopias. 

Researched at The National Fairground and Circus Archive the show explores the heritage of women artistes in British circus and variety, telling the untold herstories of working-class entertainment from feminist and activist perspectives. Performers like 1930s circus star Koringa who climbed a ladder of swords and worked for the French resistance, Lulu Adams the first British woman clown, 1950s sharpshooter Florence Shufflebottom and 1880s aerialist Miss LaLa who hung by her teeth and was painted by Degas, and reframes them through the work of current cutting-edge performers. It is a show that makes HERSTORY. 

Popping-up on a downtown street in Brighton with specially designed unique sideshow stages, hand painted fairground art by local queer muralist Dave Pop, original atmospheric electronic soundscape by The Fast Set and original costumes by House of Flying Stitches - Carnesky’s Showwomxn Sideshow Spectacular brings you performances over two days. 

Full cast includes specialist circus sideshow stunt performers Livia Alour, Lucifire, Missy Macabre and Lalla Morte, contemporary clowns Elf Lyons, Meg Hodgson and Ella The Great, performance artists Jay YuleTallulah Haddon, Molly Beth Morossa, Haitch Plewis and Rhyannon Styles, circus artists contortionist Hannah Finn, hula hoop performers Symoné and Chi Chi Revolver, aerialists Jackie Le, Andrea Rios, Rebecca Rennison and Sophie Earl, contemporary burlesque artists Vicki Butterfly, Mysti Vine and Suri Sumatra, Bollywood queer cabaret performer Sarjana, award winning magician Laura London, wrestling stars Claire Heafford, Alex Windsor and Rachel Acham Seagroatt and nine emerging performers from Marisa’s own BA course. 

'The most magical ride you'll ever experience. A marvellous mix of technical wizardry and sheer heart and soul.'
Lyn Gardner, The Guardian (on Carnesky's Ghost Train)
'Where serious research meets show-time glitz tinged with guignol dramatics and a whiff of carnival sideshows.'
Mary Brennan, The Herald (on Dr Carnesky's Incredible Bleeding Woman)

Trailer

A wrestling ring, one person on the ground wearing a pink and gold stripe leotard, another in the air about to land on them earing a link leotard and knee-high boots
A person with 4 yellow hula-hoops on their arms, wearing a bright purple shorts and crop top with long purple hair
A person with pale skin wearing a light coloured dress and lots of pearl necklaces crouches on the ground, with red eye make-up and a large fake tongue hanging from their mouth
A person dressed in a pink, turquoise and blue jester-style clown costume, with a diamond pattern on the trousers and a cap with bells
A person performing on a arial hoop
A person talking into a mocrophone, with brown curly hair, a red hat, and a blue and white checked suit
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Gallery

A wrestling ring, one person on the ground wearing a pink and gold stripe leotard, another in the air about to land on them earing a link leotard and knee-high boots
A person with 4 yellow hula-hoops on their arms, wearing a bright purple shorts and crop top with long purple hair
A person with pale skin wearing a light coloured dress and lots of pearl necklaces crouches on the ground, with red eye make-up and a large fake tongue hanging from their mouth
A person dressed in a pink, turquoise and blue jester-style clown costume, with a diamond pattern on the trousers and a cap with bells
A person performing on a arial hoop
A person talking into a mocrophone, with brown curly hair, a red hat, and a blue and white checked suit
A person talking into a mocrophone, with brown curly hair, a red hat, and a blue and white checked suit

Behind The Scenes: Carnesky’s Showwomxn Sideshow Spectacular

Meet Brighton’s Olivier Award-winning performance maker, Marisa Carnesky. Her new show for Brighton Festival 2024, Carnesky’s Showwomxn Sideshow Spectacular, reimagines British seaside variety performance through a feminist and queer lens. Take a peek…

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