Tag Archives: performance

Cardiff Boy – 90s nostalgia for the modern day

We’ve posted before about The Other Room (Cardiff’s only pub theatre, attached to Porter’s), and it’s nice to have an excuse to post about them again! There’s a great show on right now in The Other Room called Cardiff Boy, which has made us Very Nostalgic for growing up in Cardiff (and loving tunes!) in the 1990s.

It’s 1996 in the capital.

A seventeen old from Llanedeyrn estate, is our guide, as he and his school mates head into town and negotiate their way through the ever changing streets of Cardiff. This is a study of male friendship, the love and the violence, the codes, the loyalties and rituals, all set to a 90s mixtape. It’s just them and the music.

Cardiff Boy is a dynamic one-man show that explore’s the 1990s in Cardiff. It follows a group of young lads, desperate to make an impression in an ever-changing city. Set to a mix of 90’s music, Cardiff Boy explores the effect music can have on our lives in both times of joy and sadness. Read a review of the show over at The Stage if you still need convincing … “Jack Hammett imbues the role with the right combination of pent-up teenage energy and vulnerability, bouncing around the audience as he describes meeting the girl of his dreams in a club, then rooted to the spot and looking us straight in the eye in the moments of pathos that will go on to define his future.”




Exciting performance beyond the stereotype – Mags at Sherman Theatre

We’re big fans of the theatre over by here, and so were excited to hear about Cwmni Pluen’s new show Mags – a devised piece that’s been developed over two years through work with three community groups across Wales. The show asks how far family bonds can be pushed, and how does it feel to belong, through following the story of Mags and her return to her hometown after chasing a hedonistic escape from life events. The show is at Sherman Theatre, Cardiff from 25-28 September (get tickets here!)

Reuniting with her past, Mags is determined to discover how we can continue to look after each other in a society that has let traditional community structures break down. Uplifting and provocative in equal measure, Mags prompts conversations on the complex role of care in society today, the impact of human connections, and celebrates the families we can create for ourselves.

“The show our audiences will see is a fusion of movement, bilingual text and live music as we follow Mags’ story – her past, present and future in the small Welsh village she both loves and loathes,” says Gethin Evans, director of Mags. “Her story is created from the people we have met through the community engagement with CAIN, Trans*Form Cymru and Dads Can”.

Like every Pluen production, Mags is bilingual in Welsh and English, and combines an eclectic mix of theatre, live music and physical performance. The original score has been written by Welsh electronic pop artist CASI, who will perform with musician Eddy Bailhache, remaining on stage throughout and performing live – bringing pulsing energy and a connection with the audience. Check below for the Soundcloud link to the beautiful song Rhyw Dynfa that they’ve created for the show – that they’ll be performing live on stage.

Performance Dates

Buy tickets for Mags at the Sherman Theatre, Cardiff – performance dates:

  • 25 September, 7:30pm
  • 26 September, 2:30pm & 7:30pm
  • 27 September, 7:30pm (post show talk)
  • 28 September, 7:30pm (Captioned performance)

About Cwmni Pluen

Cwmni Pluen are a Cardiff-based theatre company, working across Wales. Their approach is to create a synergy between text-based and devised work that is always physical, always probing the human condition, always bilingual, and always engaging with new members of communities.

Following the success of their first production Llais / Voice, which the company presented in Wales and at the Edinburgh festival, Sherman Theatre’s artistic director Rachel O’Riordan appointed Cwmni Pluen as the Sherman’s inaugural Company in Residence.





Ernie Sparkles: circus, boylesque, and all that glitters

We spent some time this week shooting the breeze with hula hooper, performer, lover of glitter and number #1 boylesque performer in Rhiwbina, Ernie Sparkles. Cardiff born and bred, Ernie – aka Gareth Pahl – tells us about growing up in Cardiff, his love of performance and explores a little of the cultural offerings of the city today. Take it away, Ernie!



I was born and raised in this wonderful city of Cardiff a long time ago! Well, 34 years ago, back in the days when Cardiff Bay was full of mud you could throw stones in and make epic splat noises – God that was fun!

Being the son of a builder we were lucky enough to get a great deal on a run-down house in Rhiwbina when I was young, just around the corner from the old Monaco cinema. It was a relatively quiet street with lots of young families so we spent a lot of time playing on the street on our bikes, roller-skates, go karts, whatever as long as it had wheels! We used to play insane games – one of us would have a stick tied to a rope, the others had to cycle around. The game was to throw them off their bike by sticking the stick through their spokes as they cycled past!

Growing up was awesome, I was lucky, I had a good family, good friends. My wonderful Nan would spoil me and my brothers by taking us to the circus, the Monaco cinema, the theatre and then we’d spoil her back by making her watch us re-enact the whole thing when we got home! Mum and Dad worked as hard as they could to raise three boys and keep a roof over our heads (although I remember one winter when the roof was off the house because dad was building a loft extension – the tarpaulin would be flapping away above us).

Cardiff as a city in my childhood was a lot different to now. Town and Cardiff Bay wasn’t as it is now. It’s a shame we lost things like David Morgan’s department store when it all changed, but I think Cardiff is a better place now. We’ve been lucky to receive the investment to make the city as it is now, and it does worry me a little about the future after the weird political shifts of 2016.

I was born at the University Hospital in Heath, and lived in Roath for a year or so before moving to a house in Llanederyn where I lived until the age of five. Then we moved to Rhiwbina to be closer to both sets of grandparents and a bigger house. I don’t really remember much before moving to Rhiwbina. I spent most of my life here in Rhiwbina and this is where I live now (in my wonderful Nan’s house, although unfortunately she’s no longer with us).

At the age of 18 I moved to a farm in Rudry for six months or so, I was helping to put a roof on a historical barn that had its roof blown off in the great storm 1987 (if I remember right). I then moved back to Cardiff and lived in Gabalfa for a year before deciding to move to London in 2003. I lived in Wimbledon for 3 years whilst I did my degree and then bought a house in Rochester with my partner at the time. We lived there for seven years before I moved back to Cardiff.

When I was five, my Mum and Nan bought me tickets to go and see Les Miserables in London. I already knew all the words because we had the soundtrack at home. I was utterly captivated and mesmerised by the show, and on seeing the barricades I knew that I wanted to be a barricade maker. I wanted to be the man who makes the magic that goes on the stage. I spent the rest of my childhood and teenage years watching every single show, studying set and costume design, and just being totally obsessed with theatre. If I wasn’t going to be a designer I was going to be a director, it was one or the other – but really, I wanted to be a designer. Santa bought me a toy theatre – it was run on magnets and it was magical! I used to make sets and characters for it and I’d put on every single show ever made haha! I bet Nan could’ve killed Santa as I made her watch them – she’d have a ticket, she’d have a programme, she’d have to come and watch these epic shows.

In 2003 I was accepted onto the BA(Hons) Theatre Design course at Wimbledon School of Art and there began my adventure into the real world of Theatre Design. I should’ve used this time a bit better to be honest – I did get seduced by the lifestyle of London and so sometimes I wasn’t as focussed as I should have been! But hey, I graduated in 2006 and then never stepped foot in a theatre for about six years – I had a mortgage to pay!

In terms of my careers, lord, what jobs haven’t I done! I’ve been a cleaner, a burger flipper, a carer, a builder, a theatre usher. I was a finance officer at Mencap Cymru for a couple of years before I moved to London, and in London I worked for Seasons Florists in Wimbledon – I loved that job! We made amazing floral displays including Venus Williams’ winner’s bouquet at Wimbledon Championships.

When I moved to Kent I was a finance administrator for Age Concern and later finance manager for Medway Cyrenians – a homeless charity. I loved those jobs too – they were interesting and I’d meet some wonderful people. In 2011 I then trained as a Primary Teacher at Canterbury Christ Church University.

At that time, I also used to teach performance workshops, and do a bit of set and costume design here and there. I ran an annual carnival with local communities and produced various events.

I moved back to Cardiff in 2012 where I worked as a primary teacher for several years until 2016 when I decided I had had enough and needed to go back to my love – theatre. I now work as a freelance set and costume designer, model maker, performance artist, director and choreographer at Sparkles Hoop Troupe and Scratch This producer. I do a bit of everything really and I always love it that way!

 In 2014 I became quite poorly after a child sneezed into my eye!  I was ill for so long after that and needed to get fit to get through it. I have always been rubbish at exercise and the gym so I needed to find something that would grab my attention. A friend recommended NoFit State circus community classes and I thought why not give it a go! I went to the aerial beginners’ class and have been hooked ever since! I started training in aerial hoop and static trapeze as well as my love – flying trapeze. I have been training for two years now and was starting to get good, but I haven’t trained for a couple of months now for various reasons, but I’m keen to start training again soon.

Around about the same time I started learning to hula hoop with Elliecoptor Pilott at the Abacus. I was useless at it but determined to nail it so I practiced every day for months and months. Six months later me and Ellie set up Sparkles Hoop Troupe as a fun way of encouraging people to use the hoop skills they had been learning by putting them into group dance routines. It really took off and here we are two years later having had so many gigs and bookings! Last summer we were performing at festivals and events nearly every weekend from May until September! We are lucky to have such fun and dedicated ‘Sparklettes’.

A lot of my time is now spent on managing Sparkles Hoop Troupe with Ellie. We’re a great team because she is great at managing the bookings and all the admin side, whereas I’m more creative so I make the costumes, edit the audio tracks, etc. We both take charge at directing and choreographing! We’ve taken off and now we’re starting to get professional bookings on the cabaret circuit which is great fun! Myself and Ellie have also started masterclasses in hoop choreography, we were recently in Bournemouth teaching and that was so much fun!

I also produce a circus scratch night called Scratch This! The circus scene in Cardiff is expanding what with NoFit State and their community classes, but also companies like Mary Bijou etc. It’s great that this scene is expanding and we love to give opportunities to performers both professional and community based who want a performance platform to try out new ideas and get valuable friendly feedback. Our first three shows were well received and all sold out! We’re starting to get a good reputation as a good fun show to come and try out ideas in a supportive and relaxed environment. Our show on the 11 February was our best yet and we were so lucky to have had so many wonderful cast and crew involved. We have struck up a great working relationship with Cardiff Speaker Hire – the venue we use, they are great and we love working with them!

Recently I have started following my interests in clown and have been on a few clowning courses. It’s been great fun and I’ve noticed big changes in my performances since. It’s something I want to do more of! I’ve been working with Alison John from Yello Brick and Hannah McPake from Gagglebabble setting up a regular play space where people can come and play games and mess around! You can find out more at Shakedown Cardiff or why not come and play on the 2 April at WMC!


Now, let’s talk about Ernie Sparkles – bless him, that silly jumpsuit obsessed boy always on the hunt for unicorns and fabulousness! He came from planet glitter or something ridiculous like that! Again, like most things that happen to me – it happened by chance! He started off as a bit of silly fun for a friend’s wedding cabaret. Having seen Immodesty Blaize in London back in 2005 I have always had a silly fantasy about being a boylesque dancer! So, when a friend wanted a cabaret at her wedding party I put myself forward to do a silly routine under the name Mr Sparkles. That was the first ever showing of Ernie’s ‘Milkshake’ routine and now two years later its being booked by various cabarets around the country! Hilarious really!

He grew from there really, he’s a bit like me in that he likes to keep his fingers in lots of pies! He’s obviously a regular at Sparkles Hoop Troupe and he compere’s Scratch This, he also has his boylesque routines. Last year Ernie and I created a ‘one man show’ for Made in Roath called ‘The Fabulous Unicorn Inquiry’ and it was a show exploring fabulous and whether it was a phenomenon limited to only unicorns. It was weird putting him and me on stage together but good fun!

Recently he was followed by some student film makers creating a documentary about Boylesque – Sparkles The Movie we like to call it! I’m looking forward to seeing how that turns out!

I don’t know why but I always refer to him as a different person! I mean, he’s clearly me but then me and him are so different! I guess it just helps me to define him as a character if I do – he’s just an exaggerated version of me I guess but I couldn’t live my everyday life like that – people would think I’ve gone mad! Maybe I already have?!

So you want to know about my plans and ambitions for the future? NO! I promised myself to live every day for itself and not plan! I have dreams and hopes, and then I have realistic ambitions and plans! I guess I want to carry on developing and building my profile as a designer, model maker, theatre maker and make enough out of that to live happily ever after! A tough one I think, but I’ve been freelance now for nearly seven months and I’m still alive! I wouldn’t go back to a full-time job like before, na-uh, not ever!

Obviously, I’d like to build Ernie’s profile too, and this year we’re getting him into some good gigs in some respected cabarets and burlesque shows. Although I’ve got a history of performance, Ernie is relatively new and so he’s still trying to find his feet and define himself! Yes, we make mistakes but mistakes are proof that we are trying, we need them to learn and grow from and that’s the fun of living!

I have friends pass away too soon in jobs they weren’t happy in, I don’t want to be like that, I promised myself that wouldn’t be me. I want to love what I do, and the moment I don’t is the moment I find something else. I do know that I am lucky enough to be able to be able to live like that though, I am lucky and thankful for it.

I guess in the future you could possibly see more of Ernie on the performance scene here, more Scratch This Cabarets and eventually some other shows. You can see Sparkles Hoop Troupe continuing to grow and delighting audiences. You may one day also see more of my design work – but sadly I don’t think I’ll ever be the one that makes the barricade!


We are so lucky to have so many creative people in Cardiff. We’ve so many good things here across many genres. On the cabaret scene, we have Mary Bijou Cabaret and Social Club for circus cabaret, Cardiff Cabaret Club which is burlesque, and of course Scratch This which covers anything and everything! I’m sure there are more that I haven’t seen yet. It would be lovely if there was a regular cabaret bar or something but the frequency of these shows now means they really are something to look forward to! I think the biggest shame however is the loss of the Blysh festival, that was an awesome festival and it’d be great if we could have it back!

Cardiff’s art scene is incredible, it really is! Having lived in London for so long, I was spoilt by the arts scene and what was on offer, but it was expensive and exhausting. The arts scene here is so much more relaxed and enjoyable – I guess there are several factors – it’s a smaller city so there’s more of a community feel, creative people here are looking out for each other, people in Cardiff are generally very supportive and encouraging – and that really is magic! There are so many artists and performers here that work hard to create some incredible work. This last year I have seen some incredible stuff come out of the city across many genres. It’s also relatively easy to create opportunities here, and that’s wonderful.

I speak generally here, I mean I’m not naïve enough to believe it’s perfect, like everything there are politics and crap, but then everything has those aspects and we just must learn to get on with it and stay true to ourselves. I believe Cardiff’s art scene is ace and I think we should be proud of our arts scene here.

My perfect Cardiff weekend for visitors would depend on who was coming and what was on! One of my favourite ‘touristy’ places in Cardiff is St Fagans – just because it’s probably the cutest place in the whole world! I also absolutely love the waterfalls in Brecon – Pontneddfechan, Sgwyd Eira is just the most empowering and majestic place – especially after a heavy downfall – it’s incredible! If we were staying in the city, then I would take them for a coffee at one of the coffee shops like Penylan Pantry, or Barkers. Afterwards to a show – at one of our many theatre venues followed by lots of lovely beer in Porters, or Brewdog, followed by some live music down at Gwdihw.

The last group of friends that came to stay with me had to come and watch my last Scratch This cabaret. They loved it!

Find out more:

Scratch This Facebook

All photography by Lorna Cabble


My Body Welsh – A Rumination on Welsh National Identity

In a world where nationalism has become muddied by dangerous right-wing rhetoric, it is easy to forget about the metaphysical merit of searching for one’s own national identity. Often, it is a discovery laden with history, language, surprise and – most importantly – growth. Welsh national identity, too, is made particularly interesting  by the complicated amalgamation of Welsh and Anglo culture which has left Wales – particularly the South – iridescent. Despite this, the sense of community in Wales is as prominent as our valleys and our stories. Pontio, Invertigo Theatre Company’s and The Conker Group’s newest offering, My Body Welsh, is a play that concerns itself with these issues of national identity, and more with creative aplomb:

“MY BODY WELSH is a playful, part-bilingual, one-man mystery adventure. Weaving stories, histories, sounds and language, performer Steffan Donnelly transports his audience into a slippery world of small-town myth-making. Accompanied by a live soundscape artist creating sounds both with and in front of the audience, the show creates community in its telling, leaving us wondering the extent to which national identity is built upon stories.”

The play weaves its way through the infamous streets of Llanfair­pwllgwyngyll­gogery­chwyrn­drobwll­llan­tysilio­gogo­goch and into the minds behind small town myth-making and culture building. The play asks if “There’s more to being Welsh than having the accent, isn’t there?”, and it’s up to you to attend and find out the answer. The play is on tour at the moment and will be arriving in Cardiff at Chapter Arts on the 13 / 14 of January. This looks like a real treat, so be sure to grab your tickets for My Body Welsh here at Chapter, if you fancy it.




Crazy Christmas Cabaret is coming to the Depot!


Get your Christmas cabaret on! A collective of international circus and cabaret artists famous for their thrilling, immersive performances is coming to the DEPOT warehouse at the end of this month.

On the 29 / 30 November and 1 December, guests are invited to dress in their craziest Christmas clobber and head to the DEPOT for an evening of wintery cabaret, circus tricks and ‘dodgy Santa comedy’ – courtesy of Mary Bijou Cabaret and Social Club’s ‘Fairy Tale Christmas’!


Having previously performed sell out shows at the Wales Millennium Centre, Edinburgh festival and around the country, The Mary Bijou Cabaret & Social Club are critically acclaimed for their immersive and intimate performances which are driven by playfulness and good fun.

Tickets for the Mary Bijou Fairy Tale Christmas are priced at £15 and available from depot.eventcube.io/events. Fancy dress is warmly encouraged!

 For more info see DEPOT’s social media pages, or search @themarybijou


Facebook.com/ Mary-Bijou-Cabaret-Social-Club







Cardiff: City of the Unexpected …


Wales Millennium Centre and National Theatre Wales present … Roald Dahl’s City of the Unexpected! 17 and 18 September 2016

This September, take a trip to Roald Dahl’s City of the Unexpected for a once-in-a-lifetime experience…

Look out for unexpected happenings on the streets and buildings throughout the city…but don’t be fooled, not everything is what it seems!

Come on an adventure and discover unexpected spaces around the city while you sit back and enjoy extracts from Roald Dahl’s stories read by some familiar faces. Our unexpected readings in unexpected places will be announced in August, when tickets will also go on sale.

Don your pyjamas and join us for a fabulous, free family event at Coopers Field in Bute Park between 2-5pm. The Great Pyjama Picnic will bring together all the themes, stories, characters and cast of the weekend in a huge celebration of food, music and story. Bring your own Roald Dahl-inspired picnic, and you’ll be in with a chance to win a competition judged by Beca Lyne-Pirkis, presenter of S4C’s Becws and former contestant on BBC One’s Great British Bake Off! Beca will be keeping her eyes (and tastebuds) open for picnics in four categories:

  • Most Dahlian Picnic
  • Most Revolting Picnic
  • Most Beautiful Picnic
  • Most Unexpected Picnic

Start planning your Dahl-inspired picnic now!



The Welsh capital will become a place where reality is turned on its head, and where the laws of physics, logic and the predictable will give way to magic, fun, invention and the surreal, as if Roald Dahl himself is at the helm.

This epic weekend will involve a cast of thousands of performers from across the city and jaw-dropping spectacles. Immerse yourself in everything from large-scale events to intimate performances – all staged across Cardiff’s streets and public spaces, in shops and arcades, at iconic buildings and parks.

Born in Cardiff, one hundred years ago this September, Roald Dahl’s imagination has touched the most extraordinary number of people. It has been part of our childhood and our children’s childhood.

To mark his centenary and to give thanks for the legacy he created, this will be a totally surprising celebration of the man, his characters and his stories.

Produced by Wales Millennium Centre and National Theatre Wales, in association with The Roald Dahl Literary Estate, and led by a creative team from Wales and across the globe, Roald Dahl’s City of the Unexpected will be a world-class event worthy of a world-class writer.


Roald Dahl’s City of The Unexpected has many surprises in store for you, which you can find out about in our what’s on section. If you’ve got some extra time while you’re in Cardiff, you may want to explore Roald Dahl’s connection to Cardiff by visiting some of the city’s key landmarks. As well asRoald Dahl’s City of the Unexpected, you can also experience The Wondercrump World of Roald Dahl at Wales Millennium Centre, Quentin Blake: Inside Stories at National Museum Cardiff and Wonderman at the Tramshed (in association with Gagglebabble, National Theatre Wales and Wales Millennium Centre).


City of the Unexpected Facebook event

See also:

National Theatre of Wales
Wales Millennium Centre


Scratch This Too!

Scratch This Too! The second scratch night takes place at Cardiff Speaker Hire on Saturday 10 September. Come and join us for another night of weirdly fabulous wonderment – prepare to be amazed as you enter the world of Cirque Du Sparklet!

Scratch This Too Scratch This Too Scratch This Too

Scratch This Too is a scratch night featuring artists and performers from a range of genres. Come and support some of Cardiff’s newest performance artists as they show off their incredible skills!

Sideshow alley, bar and twerkshop will be starting at 6pm, followed by a spectacular cabaret at 7.30pm.
Tickets are just £6: Scratch This Too! tickets
Scratch This Too

Our first ever Cardiff Fringe Theatre Festival: 20-25 June

Well HOW exciting! This June we welcome the first EVER Cardiff Fringe Theatre Festival to the city.

Following in the footsteps of Edinburgh, Brighton, and London, Cardiff will enjoy an annual shot of affordable theatrical delight from both new and established theatre companies, held in a range of local venues.


Here’s what the Festival says about itself:

Cardiff’s Fringe Festival was borne from a desire to build on the gathering momentum of performing arts culture in Cardiff, and allow it to reach a self-sustaining critical mass. In order to draw the people of Cardiff to the theatre in larger numbers than a single production might achieve, the festival will present an affordable programme that caters to a wide range of tastes. It encourages the use of non-theatrical venues in an attempt to change the public’s perception of “going to the theatre”.

The festival will prioritise maximum accessibility for audiences and companies alike, promoting an inclusive and nurturing environment where audiences can experience work from both the rawest and most sophisticated ends of the theatrical spectrum. Artists at different stages of their career will be able to mix and learn from each other, and will not be exposed to the financial risk associated with venue hire. Venues will benefit from the publicity and footfall the festival will bring.

This unique collaboration across venues and companies will operate within a financially sustainable model that will bring both cultural enrichment and revenue to the city.

Sounds great, right? If you want to get involved, either pick up tickets for the so-far announced shows, the launch party or the post-festival closing party!

To buy tickets for the announced shows, see the Fringe Tickets page

Cardiff Fringe Theatre Festival (CFTF) website

CFTF Facebook page


Scratch This! Cardiff scratch night launches, looking for acts …

Scratch This! call for Artists

Roll up, Roll up! Ladies and Gentlemen, Welcome to the greatest show on earth!

Scratch This! is a new and exciting Scratch Platform for artists, musicians and performers of all genres and skills. Our aim is to give opportunity for new and established artists to present and try out new pieces of work and be given opportunity to receive feedback from the audience in a safe and informal way.

Our first Scratch This night will be on Saturday 11th June 2016 at Cardiff Speaker Hire’s warehouse, just off Dumballs Road in Cardiff, a short walk from the city centre. The show will be presented as a walkabout/installation sideshow alley followed by a cabaret following the theme of SIDESHOW. The evening will finish with a bit of a party giving the artists a chance to meet the audience and obtain feedback.

We are looking for artists of all genres to apply to be part of our first Scratch This event. Whatever your skill – be it in performance art or otherwise we’d be delighted to hear from you. We are on the lookout for: Circus performers (ground based and aerial), artists and installation artists, musicians, comedy/spoken word, walkabout, burlesque, alternative acts and more!

Your act just needs to fit (somehow!) into our theme of Sideshow Alley and/or sideshow.

PLEASE NOTE – We do have the ability to rig aerial etc and will have experienced riggers to hand, however if your act is an aerial act or a dangerous act we ask that you provide your own apparatus/equipment and that you also send proof of your insurance.

For more information email: erniesparkles@hotmail.com

Deadline for application is midnight on Friday 13 May. APPLY NOW!

Join the Scratch This! Facebook page



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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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Cirkopolis at the Millennium Centre: fast, funny, sexy and unmissable

Cirque Éloize’s Cirkopolis turns greyscale to technicolour in a heartpounding performance that traverses circus, dance, comedy and theatre. 

With echoes of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis and 1984, even flashes of The Hudsucker Proxy, the show portrays a drab, grey world punctuated with joy and colour. Mechanical movements and tightly-performed dance routines make way for fluid, effortless acrobatics within a few minutes and it doesn’t lose pace for the entire 90 minutes. 

From an electro-swing Andrews Sisters-style juggling routine, to the solitary, mesmerising cyr wheel, the first half is incredible. It also includes the sexiest German wheel performance that you’ll ever see (I guarantee).

Photo credit: Cirque Eloize

If it’s even possible, the second half is better. It begins with a perfect tandem trapeze routine (I’ve been learning trapeze for half a year, and I don’t think audiences really appreciate just how hard it is to make it look so easy!). 

The Chinese pole performance was easily the best of the night- the twirling, fast-paced climbs and HUGE drops harvested so many gasps from the audience that I’m surprised there weren’t a few asthma attacks. The three primary performers didn’t make one wrong move, and did it all in time to banging music. This scene is worth the ticket price alone. 

The finishing routine, complete with seesawing, flying acrobats is fast, perilous and fun, just like the rest of the show. None of it wears thin, and the whole thing passed in an instant because of its unfaltering magnetism.

The CGI scenery gives the set a depth that I’ve never seen on stage before – from rising skyscrapers during the handstand tower to the twisting door panels in the comedy interlude.

There is little to complain about- the performance was essentially flawless but for a few imperceptible hiccups, and the music is hit and miss. 

Don’t miss your chance to see the show, which is on at the WMC until Saturday. You’ll never look at office furniture the same again…