The Richard Award 2018


The inaugural Richard Award took place in November 2018.  The Award was launched on 3rd July and 19 acts applied to be considered for the final.

All the video submissions were viewed and appraised by a panel of seven industry experts: artists, directors, producers and choreographers and seven acts were invited to attend the live final.

The winner of the inaugural Richard Award 2018 was Eloise Currie:
Eloise’s dance training set her up to enter the world of circus in Cornwall and then Bristol before studying at The National Centre for Circus Arts where she graduated in July 2018 with a BA Hons

Eloise’s piece Tumbleweed explores an uncertain journey. Without any direction there is the possibility to go anywhere. It explores the activity between two states and asks the question “where are you heading tumbleweed?”

The other six finalists were:

With evocative use of movement and weight, Lizzie and Berry take you to the darker recesses of the mind.

Lizzie and Berry have been picking each other up and sometimes dropping each other since early on in their circus journeys. Having both trained as dancers before studying at Circomedia they took to their acrobatic training with an unusual approach, focusing on the twists and turns of the journey rather than the spectacle of dramatic tricks. Inspired by a short story with the same name, The Black Dog combines partner acrobatics, movement and character work to visually represent a dark cloud that casts shadows on many lives. 

Holly combines powerful strength and skill to explore stepping up, stepping out and taking her place.

Holly’s career started as an artistic gymnast at Bristol Hawks Gymnastics club. At 15 she began her circus training at The Island and later in the Circomedia Youth programme. During her A levels Holly spent her summer training and performing with Above and Beyond before relocating to London to study at the National Centre for Circus Arts. This year Holly graduated with a First Class BA (Hons) in Circus Arts and begins her professional career as an Aerial Straps artist.   

Leo and Mahrinda met on the degree programme at Circomedia and their interest in acrobatics theatrical circus quickly made a professional partnership possible. Throughout their time at Circomedia developed a French style of acrobatics, where the focus is largely on making tricks seem effortless and relaxed. This opened up many possibilities, allowing the integration of theatre to become easier and smoother. Continuing this style into their professional careers, they hope one day to work with the world-renowned acrobatics troupe Compagnie XY and continue expanding the perimeters of their work.

Jolene. It’s a bit funny, a bit sad and a bit weird. Something fabulously tragic.

After moving to Bristol, Peter eventually discovered Circomedia and the existence of circus schools. With no background in anything physical or theatrical he was doubtful when he applied but was thrilled to be accepted onto the Btec, 2 year course. Peter then went on to train for two years at Flic, a circus school in Italy. His speciality is hula hoop and dance. Peter has performed in both Italy and the UK including street shows, stage, cabarets and even television. Peter is interested in creating pieces intertwined with theatre, that tell a story or have a message. And there’s often an element of the bittersweet.

Contact Juggling meets Windstyle Dance in Truan’s newest Dubstep fused sure-fire banger.

Trained at both Circomedia and The National Centre for Circus Arts, Truan specialises in Crystal Contact Juggling and now infuses it with Windstyle Dance inspired by Aragorn ‘Bishop’ Boulanger. Truan is currently making a one man indoor show, ‘One Man and His Ball’, which also adds clowning to the juggling and dance mix. He has just come off a residency at Jackson’s Lane working with Matt Mulligan of Body Roots and performed at their Circus Scratch Night, ‘Tilted’. He also received the Dare to Devise Award and is mentored by Kaveh Rahnama of Nearly There Yet.  

Rick and Charles met while studying at Circomedia, and began a journey of exploration into physical comedy together. They have developed their own contemporary approach to clowning that goes way beyond the traditional image of the clown.

The Vanilla Brothers are currently planning a tour of the south of England in 2019 and the act you will see is a small excerpt of what will become the full length show.

The Vanilla Brothers present a dangerous competition of power struggles, showboating and incompetence – sit up, get tense and take sides. 

The Judging Panel 2018

Billy Alwen 

Billy is co-founder and Artistic Director of Cirque Bijou formed in 1999. Since then Cirque Bijou have made thousands of shows across the globe for audiences of 50 to 50,000. In 2012 they made Battle for the Winds to launch the London 2012 Olympic Sailing events in Weymouth. Significantly it bought Cirque Bijou into partnership with Diverse City. A year later the first Extraordinary Bodies show, Weighting, was made in only 10 days, with an exceptional company of disabled and non-disabled artists. Since that first commission in 2013 Extraordinary Bodies has grown and developed into a national and international circus project, working with the National Theatre, Bristol Old Vic, and Circus Oz in Melbourne.

Doug Francisco  

Doug is founding member of Artspace Lifespace and the Invisible Circus he is  a passionate proponent of the Arts and its transformative effect on people and communities.  Doug has been a strong voice in temporary use projects, assisting groups all over the country to start up their own community centres from buildings long forgotten and discarded.  His own artistic practices as a performer, and as a director and ringmaster of The Invisible Circus, keep him an active part of Bristol’s creative community.

Ali Williams 

Ali was founder and creative director for No Fit State Circus for 30 years. A producer of large scale outdoor shows with and without community participation. Having left No Fit State in May 2016 after creating BLOCK with Motionhouse, freelance Ali is now focusing on her own performance projects and offers support and mentoring for circus and outdoor arts.

Franki Anderson

Franki was at the forefront of the street theatre movement in the 70’s and 80’s. Using mime and physical theatre to communicate with audiences, overcoming the limitations of language. A cofounding tutor of Fool Time, and subsequently created ‘the empty space’ theatre research studio in 1995 and co-founded ‘Act of Life’ productions in 1998 to facilitate and manage fools’ projects, workshops and shows. Her work as a theatre director and consultant includes her role as artistic director of ‘The Troubadours’ a performing group of fools.