Tag Archives: nofit state circus

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 announces a new home, and some exciting events!

Exciting news for Cardiff’s resident circus, the world-renowned NoFit State – they’ve got a new home, they’re going to be exploring their history through a new archive launch, and putting on an exciting community performance as a last hoorah at their current John Street hangout!

The circus moved into the John Street building five years ago (the building is the previous home of the Welsh National Orchestra). The circus will be saying their thanks and farewells to the building in our big weekend of performance, installations and exhibitions called Journeys.

Journeys – John Street, 11 – 13 December


Surrounded by big changes, movements and announcements, NoFit State are bringing everything together for an extraordinary community performance and installation event, in true NoFit State style.

Under the artistic direction of long-term collaborator Paul Evans (Crashmat Collective, Flying Diplodocus) comes Journeys, a weekend long celebration that interweaves two promenade performances in and around John Street on 12 and 13 December with their AGM and Archive Exhibition launch.

They are looking for creative ideas, hidden talents, and suggestions on what the event should be. If you would like to contribute in some way, big or small then let them know on their interactive form.

Journeys Facebook Event

NoFit State Archive Launch

Friday 11 December, 7pm, Four Elms
(running until 23 December 2015)


You may think you know the story of NoFit State, but wouldn’t it be great to see it, hear it and explore it? Well now you can.

A year ago, with their 30th year approaching, a dedicated team of volunteers, board and staff members came together with a shared dream of assembling the brilliantly chaotic history to create an official NoFit State archive.

Supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund and with help from Glamorgan Archives, The Cardiff Story Museum and the National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales, the intrepid team has produced a fantastic new digital and physical exhibition to be launched at the Four Elms building on Friday 11 December.

NoFit State Archive Exhibition: More information

Read more on the NFS Archive blog

Where are they moving to?

For the time being, NoFit State will be moving their community and circus education programme to Cardiff Central Sports and Community Centre on Ocean Way. The space is double the length of the John Street building, with enough room and facilities to accommodate their current programme. It’s not their forever home – but it’s a good place to start.


NoFit State Circus website

NoFit State Circus Facebook page


NoFit State Circus’ Bianco returns to Cardiff, 12-27 June – get a sneak peek!

If you’ve been wondering what gives with that giant silver spaceship-like structure on John Street, next to the Street Food Circus, then educate yourself: NoFit State, the UK’s leading contemporary circus, is performing their internationally celebrated show BIANCO in Cardiff from 12 – 27 June. Cardiff will be the only performance in the UK, before the company departs for a European tour.

Yes yes!

The show has visited Cardiff twice before, BUT this time three-quarters of the cast are NEW. That means fresh talent, new skills, and more beautiful (and terrifying) circus performances.

Photographer Lorna Cabble went along to the preview to get these snaps of the performers, hard at work in rehearsal…

Bianco_by_lorna_cabble - 2

Bianco_by_lorna_cabble - 3

Bianco_by_lorna_cabble - 4

Bianco_by_lorna_cabble - 5

Bianco_by_lorna_cabble - 6

a girl

NoFit State’s iconic silver spaceship Big Top. John Street, Cardiff, CF10 5PE

12-27 June, 2015



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Happy world circus day – bag a discount for Bianco tickets ONLY on 18 April 2015!

As the Big Top goes up, prices come down: NoFit State celebrates World Circus Day with discounted prices!

To celebrate World Circus Day, NoFit State are offering a special 10 per cent discount on tickets to see their award winning show Bianco, showing  12 – 27 June 2015.

World Circus Day is on Saturday 18 April, and the discount will be available until midnight that day!

This weekend NoFit State will be erecting their famous silver spaceship shaped Big Top outside their HQ on John Street in Cardiff city centre. Over the coming weeks the company will be rehearsing and re-creating their show Bianco under the guidance of acclaimed director Firenza Guidi. The show will open to the public from 12 – 27 June, and is complemented by the Street Food Circus that will be popping up in John Street between May – June. 

Bianco is an immersive promenade circus experience that takes place above, behind and all around a standing audience. With a constantly evolving narrative set to a pounding soundtrack performed by a live band, this is an all consuming theatrical experience that is not to be missed.

NoFit State Circus - Bianco by Seventh Wave

To claim the discount, you must book on 18 April using the code WORLDCIRCUS online at www.nofitstate.org or by calling 0333 222 9000 (local rate). DO IT NOW!



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After hours at Techniquest … featuring NoFit State Circus!

Unleash your inner child! You know, the one that wants to run away with the circus. Join Techniquest for their next After Hours evening, featuring the wonderful NoFit State Circus!

After Hours Techniquest


TIME: 18.30 – 22.00

COST: JUST £3 ENTRY…  less than the price of a posh coffee! 

After Hours – Facebook event

There’ll be plenty to entertain you, including…

Matt Hennem is a dancer. Matt Hennem is a juggler. Matt Hennem is a taker — of your breath away. In a show that is being described as ‘rare magic’ by the Telegraph, ‘beyond awesome’ by Derren Brown, and ‘elegant’ by the Spectator (!), Matt Hennem will be doing what he has confirmed are some things with a ball. Be there.

Cardiff’s own No Fit State Circus has very kindly offered to bring their stilts down to Techniquest and show the After Hours crowd some of the greatest busking on Earth. You can expect close hand magic, balloon modelling, hat juggling, stilt walking and the appearance of No Fit State’s very own practical magician, Alf — all five feet of him. Rest assured, we are giddy with excitement.

£1.30 per person
With a British Astronaut taking his very human body up to the ISS later this year, we can’t be the only ones asking the big question: how exactly do you go about voiding your bowels out there in the void? Pooping in space, some say, is the great scientific how. Fortunately, our very own Rhys will be running a talk with all of the answers you do, and don’t, want to hear.

£1.30 per person
Space is really interesting, you guys. Find out more about some familiar constellations, the planets, how stars are born and how they die. Our Digital Planetarium can take you through space for a close up look at some of nature’s most beautiful sights such as distant galaxies and exploded stars.

£1.30 per person
It’s okay. Don’t feel ashamed. In winter and in summer; with snowballs and with golf balls; we’ve all given it a go, and we’ve all discovered that juggling is really quite difficult and angry-making. Well think such a way no more, because No Fit State are committed to getting the adult contingent of Cardiff on its juggling feet with a wonderful workshop run by the inimitable, and juggle savvy Craig Quat.

Do you want to be impressive? Are you of the opinion that the total recall of stored, innocuous trivia and factual tat are the measure of greatness? Do you like competing with other people that have that same opinion? Then you’re in luck. Sure, doing things is impressive. But do you know what’s more impressive than doing things? Knowing things.
(Warning: this activity may contain things that if you don’t know then you can actually just Google later, making it all seem rather pointless.)

But wait… there’s more… FULLY LICENSED BAR!
With no kids around, we can offer beer, cider and wine for purchase… will that glass of wine make the puzzles even more difficult to solve?

Please note that After Hours is only for those aged 18 and over. After Hours is a very popular event and entry is subject to a maximum capacity. Spaces for all special events are allocated on a first come, first served basis subject to availability and popular events will sell out quickly, so please arrive early to minimise the chance of disappointment. Some events may incur a small additional charge to attend. A ‘Challenge 21’ policy is operated for admission and at the bar, so please bring ID with you if you are lucky enough to look under 21!


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NoFit State Circus – Archive Project launch

We’ve featured the internationally acclaimed, Cardiff-based contemporary circus, NoFit State on here a couple of times before. This January, the circus has begun work on a yearlong project to archive the company’s history and heritage.  The project, supported by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund will catalogue a huge archive of printed material, artefacts, film, photos and documentation covering the company’s 30 year history and will culminate in an exhibition and a new interactive website.

NoFit State Circus - Bianco by Seventh Wave

Bianco on tour, 2014

The project titled ‘From Ball’s Up to Bianco’ will tell the story of how a group of youthful Cardiff-based jugglers assisted by thousands of performers, crew, advocates, audience members and partners became directors of one of the most successful contemporary circuses of the century. It will also show the impact NoFit State has had on the growth of contemporary circus in the UK and further afield, as well as how well rooted it remains in the community of Cardiff. 

NoFit State Tent and audience

The Big Top at the Bath Fringe Festival 1999

Ali Williams, founder member and now Creative Director of the company comments, “It’s really very exciting to be starting this project, and to be working with experts from Glamorgan Archive and The Cardiff Story Museum to make some sense of all our archive which we have been collecting and storing for so many years. It’s a great fusion between the creative and heritage sectors and very pertinent to our local Cardiff community”.

NoFit State was born in Splott, and the company opened their new professional training space on Four Elms Road in 2014 while maintaining their community training space on John Street in the city centre. Recent tented tours have taken the company as far as Australia to Perth Festival. Currently, their show Bianco is part of the International Circus Festival in Marseilles and Noodles, the company’s theatre show will be presented at this year’s London International Mime Festival.

“It’s really a ‘done good’ story,” says Liz Lavender, Volunteer Co-ordinator for the project, “and we hope it will inspire people in many ways. We will be running a volunteering programme so people with very varied interests can be involved. We hope through working with local people through Volunteering Cardiff we can involve people in the whole process, from specialised activities where training will be given in oral history recording and editing for example to preservation techniques, event coordination, administration, web development and exhibition creation”.

For more information or to get involved contact liz@nofitstate.org.

NoFit State are also keen to hear form anyone who has memories of seeing or being involved with any of the company’s community based shows or activities in the past.

About NoFit State

NoFit State was founded in 1986 by five friends. During a politically charged time, in a recession, and as a creative reaction to the world around them, the circus was born. Today, NoFit State is the UK’s leading large-scale contemporary circus company, producing professional touring productions and a wide variety of community, training, and education projects for people of all ages. www.nofitstate.org


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“I made my passion into my profession” – Anna

Today, We Are Cardiff gets hula hooping and aerial gymnastic-ing with Anna Sandreuter, founder of the Crashmat Collective performance company.


In 2002 I had just finished Circus School in London (where I had moved from Austria to study) and there was a job add in the Stage to go on tour with Big Fun Circus, so I came to Cardiff and had an interview in a studio on Kings Road. Two weeks later I had bought a van and given up my room in London. That same year I got involved with NoFit State Circus, who had set up their tent in Bute Park and were creating a big show called ImMortal…

For years I was based here, but constantly touring and didn’t really feel as though I was spending that much time here. In between tours I would go off to Barcelona or India or Australia. I worked on ships for a while in the Caribbean, but in 2010 I started thinking it was time to create my own company, so I started two somehow- Crashmat Collective and Mary Bijou Cabaret and Social Club.

I am a circus performer, trainer and director. I made my passion into my profession. I am currently directing a show called Façade, with my company Crashmat Collective, we are in rehearsals for our upcoming tour of Wales and London. It is a theatrical circus show, during which the audience get served a three course meal by the performers, who’s characters are all waiters in a restaurant. It’s a really fun show to do. I also founded the Mary Bijou Cabaret and Social Club. I am lucky to have had great support from many arts organisations to make these things happen.

Other hobbies include going to live music gigs, shows, I love travel, going places in my camper van or further afield. I love coffee, dancing and yoga. I like markets and charity shops. I like sewing. I’m not great at relaxing, but at home I have a nice cup of tea with honey to relax. I never really watch television, but occasionally I choose something on i player. I generally read before sleep, that’s the thing that switches me off from everything else.

I have a love-hate relationship with Cardiff sometimes, but there are many things in Cardiff that I love … mostly they are the independent art and food things that go on … Sunday mornings at Riverside market, Barkers Coffee, the Penylan Pantry, the parks, Chapter, Milgi, Pipes beer fests, pop up kitchens … many are run by friends and go hand in hand with arty happenings, they are the things I like supporting … Spillers records, Dirty Protest, live music gigs, Gwdihw, Printhouse, Green City, Waterloo tea, theatre gigs.

On a rainy day I think the Arcades in Cardiff are special, architecturally and historically, and they are fun to explore.

If they were into sports or circus I would recommend going to classes at NoFit State, if they liked food I would recommend any of the above mentioned places, if they liked the outdoors I would send them to the west coast or the Gower.

Anna Sandreuter studied at The Circus Space, London. Before founding her own company Crashmat Collective and the Mary Bijou Cabaret & Social Club, she toured with Nofit State Circus for three years in the internationally acclaimed performance of ImMortal. Anna performed on tour with NoFit State Circus Parklife, co-production with National Theatre Wales Mundo Paralelo (dir. Mladen Materic Tattoo Theatre, France) which performed at London International Mime Festival Jan 2012, Labyrinth a resident show at the Eden Project, Willi Dorners Bodies In Urban Spaces Swansea, Norfolk and Norwich Festivals own Spiegeltent show Les Enfant Perdus. She also featured in the film “Y Syrcas” (dir. Kevin Allen) on S4C this Christmas. Since 2002 she has worked as a freelance circus coach and has taught hundreds of circus classes at NoFit State Circus and around the world. Anna specialises in vertical rope and hula hoop and loves a nice cappuccino. 

Anna was photographed at rehearsal by Joseph Singh (SnapPopAndRock) 


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NoFit State Circus and National Theatre of Wales announced for Green Man 2014

Exciting news for you culture vultures out there … Green Man Festival have just announced a new area curated by Cardiff-based NoFit State Circus!

Green Man Festival site

NoFit State will be bringing performance installation Open House to the award-winning music and arts festival in the Brecon Beacons, Wales, from August 14-18.

Open House is billed as a “joyous menagerie of circus chaos to set the crowds alive”. Directed by Orit Azaz, it swaps the traditional big top for a caravanned colony of musicians, acrobats and aerialists in an ever-evolving spectacle where anything can happen.

“Open House is the perfect project for Green Man,” says Ali Williams, creative director of NoFit State Circus, who loves giving people a chance to run away with the circus. “The famously friendly Green Man crowd can join in the action and become part of the performance, while we’ll feel perfectly at home in the breath-taking beauty of the Brecon Beacons.”

green man

The SECOND exciting announcement about performance at Green Man comes from the National Theatre of Wales, who are joining forces with the festival to create a unique signature performance called Green Man // Red Woman, created by Welsh artist Gerald Tyler. It’s a specially created show inspired by the pagan energy that flows through the beautiful festival site, located deep in the heart of the Brecon Beacons.

The story will unfold over the four days of the festival as the action weaves throughout the stunning and powerful location. Culminating in very special Sunday afternoon ceremony, Green Man // Red Woman promises to be touching, funny and just a little bit creepy.

Look out for the red women, evening woodland vigils, a roaming freezer van and a mysterious Sunday marriage ceremony all set to be performed across the enchanting Green Man site over three days.

And frankly, if that’s not all enough to get your frothing at the gills for this year’s Green Man, I don’t know what will be.



NoFit State was founded by five friends in 1986 as a creative reaction to a politically charged world and a deep economic recession. Over the last five years its touring productions have visited 18 different countries, playing to over 350,000 people and winning multiple international arts awards. We Are Cardiff went to see NoFit State’s Bianco – read the review here

National Theatre Wales has collaborated with artists, audiences, communities and companies to create theatre in the English language, rooted in Wales, with an international reach since its launch in 2009. The company brings together storytelling poets, visual visionaries and inventors of ideas. You can find NTW around the corner, across the mountain and in your digital backyard.

The fiercely independent 20,000-capacity Green Man is located in the glorious Brecon Beacons in Wales and offers a unique line-up of live music, comedy, literature, cinema, science and extensive family entertainments. Waterboys, Beirut, Neutral Milk Hotel and Mercury Rev will headline the 12th annual event from August 14-18.

Green Man 2014 line up

100 days in Cardiff – Flying Saucer

We Are Cardiff contributor Jeremy Rees is recording his days in and around Cardiff with 100 photographs of local points of interest. We’ll be publishing some of them here on We Are Cardiff – and make sure you tune in to Jeremy as he presents the Saturday Soulful Breakfast on Radio Cardiff!

Flying Saucer

flying saucer by jeremy rees

“If you look closely at this you’ll see that there is a mysterious new edition to the Cardiff skyline. I really don’t know what the grey flying saucer shaped structure is – but by my reckoning it’s one of 2 things, either NoFit State Circus is trying out a new Big Top or the Martians have finally landed…”

Thanks Jeremy! Catch you next time…

My Cardiff geography – Fireproof Giant

In today’s personal geography, we speak to Gareth Jones of Fireproof Giant. Read on for his map of the city!

Fireproof Giant by Jon Pountney

In Cardiff, home is…


How did you get into making music initially?

I’ve played music since the age of five but I really started creating music when I was in Italy performing an outdoor site specific theatre piece. The director encouraged me to write for the show and I haven’t been able to stop since.

Tell us about your band, Fireproof Giant

The band developed over a number of years. Whilst I was touring around with Nofit State Circus people in the audience kept asking where they could get the music or hear it again so I finally gave us a name (Fireproof Giant). Now we’re running away from the circus and playing music for music’s sake. I tend not to think of genre whilst writing and just let my mood direct the song. But now I’m having difficulty describing our music whenever we’re asked. The best way to describe it so far is Pop-rock/folkstep with classical influences.

Who were the last band you saw live?

Sigur Ros

Favourite Cardiff eatery …

Penylan Pantry

Ideal first date in Cardiff …

Walking a dog in Roath Park

Last album you bought?

If you leave by Daughter

Earliest Cardiff memory

Staying with my brother and watching Apocalypse now the directors cut. It’s very long.

Do you have a favourite record shop in Cardiff?

It’s a battle between Kellys and Spillers

Last book you read

I’m a massive comic book fan…..so…..death of the family. Does that count? If not, the hungry caterpillar.

Best Cardiff pubs

The City Arms, followed closely by Porters

Favourite Cardiff discovery

The tiny models in the metal pillars outside St David’s 2

Tell us something that most people don’t know about you

I have a fear of people touching my belly button

If you had friends coming to Cardiff for a weekend, what would you recommend they do?

If they’re around on the weekend and it’s a sunny Sunday morning then I would suggest Riverside market for some chai tea and the best butchers in Wales.

Gareth Fireproof Giant by Jon Pountney

Why don’t you go on over and take a look at the Fireproof Giant Facebook page? There is music and information there galore!

Gareth Jones grew up in Swansea and very quickly found a passion for the arts. As a teenager he went from instrument to instrument learning to play whatever took his fancy. Although music was a large part of his life he found himself heading towards acting and after completing school he went to study performance art in the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. During his three years there his music took a backseat role but occasionally crept forward as more and more directors asked him to compose music for them. After graduating from RWCMD in 2007 Gareth joined Nofit State Circus as a musician/performer and began touring around Europe meeting musicians from different cultures who would help him shape and develop his musical style. After three years of touring Gareth then became Musical Director and Composer for Nofit State and spent the next three years directing and leading a band in over 300 shows. Now Gareth is exploring his music for music’s sake and is running away from the Circus to share his sound with whoever will listen. If you see him around, don’t touch his bellybutton, whatever you do…

Gareth was photographed by Jon Pountney


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

“Lose yourself in the city and experience as much live culture as you can!” – Paul

Paul Evans Hitch

I was born in Cardiff and although I have lived elsewhere for short term contracts, there has never been a good enough reason for me to live somewhere else permanently. I like my city! So there would have to be a good reason to leave.

I have lived in Roath a few times, Cathays, Splott, Heath, Cardiff Central, Pen-y-Lan and Grangetown. I think Pen-y-Lan was my favourite, a great location, but that also has some of the best memories for the time of life and good parties in that house!

I currently work as a aerialist, acrobat, actor, director and choreographer. I spend a lot of time training and researching in this area, and that takes up a lot of my time. As well as working freelance, I’m Artistic Director for Crashmat Collective.

My favourite thing to do in Cardiff is going to live events. There are so many live music nights, theatre, and so on. Lose yourself in the city and experience as much live culture as  possible!

Paul Evans has over 20 years experience as a gymnast, performing with the Welsh Gymnastics Squad and achieving many competitive accolades. After completing his BA in Drama, Paul trained with NoFit State as an apprentice on their Tabu tour. Paul is a multi skilled performer and teacher specialising in aerial, acrobatics and acting. Paul also works as a director and aerial choreographer, creating individual routines and whole shows. He is Creative Director of Crashmat Collective and is currently performing in Mary Bijou Cabaret and Social Club show, Hitch. Catch Mary Bijou on Facebook or Twitter @themarybijou. Paul currently lives in Heath.

Mary Bijou’s show Hitch premieres in their purpose-built Spiegeltent in Cardiff Bay outside the Wales Millennium Centre between 31 July and 4 August 2013.