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Interview : James Cowan talks to Adrian Berry

One of the few London venues dedicated to visually led and physical work, this
year Jacksons Lane celebrates 35 years in North London. For the last three of
these, the venue has developed a vibrant programme of contemporary circus and
visual theatre, offering support to some 40 companies, specializing in the small
to mid scale. Postcards gives a platform to both and new and established circus
and performance artists to create new work, with scratch, solo and short

RR's James Cowan interviewed Adrian Berry, Artistic Director of Jacksons Lane,
to get his view of dying on stage, the comeback of Circus, and 'orgiastic aerial

James Cowan: With such wild and wonderful offerings on at the Jackson's over the next 6
weeks, who would you advise Run Rioter's not to miss?

Adrian Berry: Run Riot readers should immerse themselves in Bryony Kimmings' intoxicated
universe with 7 Day Drunk, coupled on the same bill with Ed Rapley's thrilling
exploration of 10 Ways to Die On Stage (rest assured he won't be dying literally
or metaphorically). They should shake a hip with Marawa's hoola-hoopin'-skatin' 
history of cabaret  in Exotica, and sample pretty much everything we have to
offer in one single night on June 10 in our Late Night Cabaret which takes place
throughout the entire building, building to an orgiastic aerial climax with the
brilliant  'Collectif and Then'.

JC: From the artists involved – who’s the new kid? And who’s the old time

AB: New kid(s) - Dodgy Whiskers with 'Myself in the Salad' - a frenzy of
acrobatic trampolene feats from this brand new Spanish duo who we are producing.
Old Time Player? She'd hate me for saying it but quite apt as the show is all
about her age and career: Wendy Houstoun '50 Acts' - live art meets contemporay
dance from an innovative legend, still breaking boudaries, and the London
premiere of the show.

JC: How did Postcards Festival come about?

AB: Several months ago, watching nearly 50 DVDs of some of the most mind-blowing
short pieces of work which had been sent to me, all in one sitting, and thinking
'how on earth do I go about giving a platform to all this amazing stuff?'. It
started off as a weekend event with 5 pieces of work, then I talked to lots of
artists, got excited, got the the JL team excited,and it turned into 6 weeks.
'Postcards' seemed to fit: short, sharp, surprising, colourful, bit saucy at
times. Considering the response we've had before it's even started, next year
it'll probably last for six months and we'll have to call it Very Long Letters.

JC: How did you get involved? Has this style of performance always been your

AB: I started working in circus and cabaret with the likes of the Divine David,
Mameloucos and Mischief la Bas in the early 90s - where live art began to meet
circus, when Cirque du Soleil were barely known in the UK and Archaos were the
company to watch. I've dipped in and out  for 18 years but in the last four
years in particular have dedicated myself to working with and supporting
brilliant new circus artists and helping to reinvent the artform. Yes, it's
always been a huge passion. I think I'm a frustrated trapeze artist at heart.

JC: To the layman such as me it seems as though Circus and Burlesque is creeping
(in an acrobatic manner, of course) into the mainstream audience's attention. Do
you think this is right? Are you prepared for the hoardes?

AB: I couldn't comment on Burlesque - there's none in the festival and I've only
ever dipped my toe into it a handful of times. There's some great artists who
combine the two - Roxy Velvet springs to mind - but they're few and far between.
But yes, circus is going to be huge. I mean, it always has been in many ways,
but with this current breed of artists we're going to create a whole new
generation of circus superstars. Oh yes we're prepared for it - bring it on.

Venue: Jacksons Lane
Dates: 8 June to 20 July 2011  
Times: 8pm  
Price: £10 per night, early bird tickets at £5, festival pass at £35  
Box Office: 020 8341 4421

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