Showcasing and celebrating the incredible freelance artists that Upswing has worked with: Discover what they’ve been up to over lockdown and learn more about how to work with them here…
We were thrilled to host an extract of Sadiq’s The Chosen Haram at our 2019 mixed-bill show Circus Circus Circus. Since then, Sadiq has transformed the show into a short film, and is now working to bring it back to the stage:
“As an artist, last year meant adapting your practice and your vision to the world we found ourselves in. Without stages to share stories I decided to take an idea I was working on for theatre and create a short film with it. This is the result.
A cross between circus and narrative film The Chosen Haram explores a queer relationship within the structures of faith, sexuality and addiction. This experimentation means that the idea is still growing and adapting and I can’t wait to share the live version to audiences when we can! ”
Learn more about Sadiq’s process with The Chosen Haram:
We invited Sadiq to discuss his creative process with the piece at our Slow Thinking Session 6. You can watch that here.
This great article by Sadiq for Dalston Superstore gives an insightful look into his journey with the piece and where his ideas stemmed from.
If you know of a creation space that Sadiq can develop ideas for the stage show of The Chosen Haram in, or have (physical or digital) space that would like to host the full length film, get in touch!
We followed Symoné’s journey with her piece, Utopian, throughout our 2018-2019 residency and stage show – Circus Circus Circus with Certain Blacks. Now she is developing that same piece into a theatre production, alongside much, much more! Take a glimpse into her world:
Mike has worked alongside Upswing as a freelance circus artist on some of our leading projects, like Bedtime Stories and our Circus Flavours events. Hear about his incredible feats over lockdown, and check out his Youtube channel below!
Back in 2020 Zaki took us up on a free ‘Support Surgery‘, offered by Upswing in order to help circus artists develop their ideas. He’s been kind enough to share his journey throughout 2020, and his next steps as a freelance creative:
“As with everyone during lockdown, I honestly felt directionless. I wanted to figure out who I was as an ‘artist’ so I could pitch myself to the right people
I came into the Support Surgery with a different set of questions, but left with better answers. Vicki [Amedume, Upswing’s Artistic Director] was very focused and gave me clear advice on a multitude of things, from funding, to my personal creative practice and understanding myself, and also where my “tribe” was. It forced me to think about what I had to offer as an aerialist, and what was unique/special to me.
Based off our conversations, I honed in on where the work was, what the acts looked like, and how I could deliver my own flavour and style – staying true to myself as a performer and artist, whilst fitting the theme/brief of what cabaret places are looking for.
Because of the Black Lives Matter movement, I’ve been questioning my identity and ambiguity, I’m not white, black or identifiably brown (ie south asian), and so it was also about me finding where I stood in a sea of performers as I couldn’t find anyone who looked like me, or did what I did – there was no clear path to follow.
I kept trying new ways of presenting myself as a performer during lockdown and, after the first lockdown, I definitely found a way of presenting that was niche to the queer cabaret scene. I spent time developing a floor/chair act as well, and worked to offer myself as a “boylesque” artist, working with the Raze Collective, Cocoa Butter Club digitally, Mariah & Friendz & Outhaus at Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club, Bitten Peach at the Bridge Theatre, and other gigs.
That being said, whilst it’s been surprisingly busy, it’s definitely been a push and a hustle as all the rates have been cut across the board, due to the coronavirus and seating.
I’ve definitely worked on establishing myself in the cabaret scene, but for 2021, I’d love to hone in on my voice and want to explore deeper themes surrounding performative masculinity in circus, and the pressure of fitting/ not fitting into a mould. I like the idea of playing with traditional tropes of what masculinity looks like in circus. The session really stayed with me as I try to find the balance of creative vs commercial.”
Zaki also created his own website over lockdown and is helping other creatives to set up sites that showcase their work, you can find out more about how to work with him, his online workshop series, and his recent projects here: