Tag Archives: nofit state circus cardiff

Thirteen years of NoFitState Circus – in photos

Photographer and performer Mark Robson has been documenting the life of local circus institution, NoFitState, for the past thirteen years. Now he’s running a Kickstarter to put the book together – and he needs your help to get them printed! Here he is, to explain his project.

I first got involved with Nofit State Circus in 1995 when I blew up 2 cars for the finale of their show Autogeddon. I joined their board in 2002 and started taking photos of the shows shortly after that. I stayed on the board until 2015 and was involved in a variety of ways, including touring with some of the shows. Throughout all that time, and since, I have been taking photos of Nofit State. For several years I had been dreaming of publishing these photos as a book.

In 2015 Ali Williams (one of the founders of Nofit State) announced she was going to move on to new exciting things and leave Nofit State. I decided to make a book for her as a leaving present using my photos; capturing as many of the shows, communities, and people involved as possible – think of it as a Nofit State Circus family photo album. Although I realised this was going to be a serious amount of work, I still massively under estimated the amount of work it would take. I finished the book and called it ‘Let’s Do It Again’, it was great, but I realised that it was not the book I had been dreaming of.

This project is about that book; a coffee table book full of the wonder, passion and beauty of circus, suitable for all. A book that still covers all the shows but whose focus is the photography whilst still capturing the feel of those shows.

I have taken ‘Let’s do it Again’ as a prototype, edited it down significantly, increased the photo size and quality, added some new photos, changed the structure, included a little more text and looked at better print methods. The work on the book is mostly done.

To make this book a physical reality the next step is printing it. This kickstarter is to enable that to happen by taking pre-orders to cover the printing, design and delivery costs.

The Book

The book is called ‘In nofitstate’ and is for anyone who likes Nofit State, circus or photography. If you like all three then perfect.

In nofitstate’ will be

  • 256 pages,
  • 9.5” square,
  •  litho printed,
  •  hard back,
  •  section sewn binding

It contains over 230 photos dating from 2004 to 2017 and has sections covering community, the shows from immortal to block, backstage shots, and people.

To find out more about the project, visit Mark’s Kickstarter page and SUPPORT!




NoFit State Circus – Bianco, Cardiff, 23 May – 7 June 2014

If you’ve recently driven anywhere around the streets just south of John Lewis, underneath the railway bridge, then you’re likely to have seen a large silver spaceship hanging around John Street (where the temporary library was a few years ago). A ha! But this is no silver spaceship. Instead, it’s the temporary big top that’s housing NoFit State’s current show, Bianco. The show is open in Cardiff until 7 June 2014, and I highly recommend you go see it.

NoFit State Circus - Bianco by Seventh Wave

The show toured Cardiff last year, although that time it was situated in the backstage area of the main stage of the Millennium Centre.  The show was originally co-produced by the Eden Project, and I can’t imagine a better place to have watched it in. But back to the space ship, which is Tardis-like and surprisingly roomy. As you’re invited into the big top, the ushers tell you you’ll have a better view if you get right in the middle of it all, so you step in between the large scaffolding, and the action begins. There’s a pulsing soundtrack played by a live band, and suddenly people appear inside the scaffolding, shouting and jeering at each other. It’s high energy and very restless –  and you can’t help but get swept along by it.

There are 15 set pieces led by individual performers, nearly all of which take place in the air (handy, as it’s a standing performance – so you can be standing further back and still feel like you see ‘the big stuff’). Although NoFit State has been based in Cardiff since it was formed back in the 1980s, today the performers come from all over the world, which you hear as they wear microphones through some of their pieces and speak in various languages to the audience.

And there’s all sorts – some very clever juggling; terrifying ariel straps work; incredible twisting, climbing and dropping from ropes; a business man themed strip-tease on the tightrope; and a beautiful trapeze piece underneath a shower of falling snow to finish things off.

I’ve been to see two other NoFit State shows, and it always makes me beam with a little Cardiff city pride that our resident circus is so freaking awesome. If you’re inspired to become super limber and learn some tricks after seeing them (like I always want to!) then you should check out the NoFit State classes, held at their circus base in Cardiff. And if you’re interested, there’s a flying trapeze taster session that runs every other Friday at 6pm (this Friday 30 June is the next one).




Check out the NoFit State FACEBOOK PAGE for regular updates on the progress of their work