News Story

This July and August 2024, Hands Down Circus' outdoor performance Tape That will tour to festivals, outdoor and unusual spaces across the house network.

We caught up with Carys, co-Artistic Director to find out a bit more about the company and the show ahead of the start of their tour next month.

Tell us about the company.

Hands Down Circus aspires to create and collaborate original circus theatre in the UK and internationally using a unique blend of partner acrobatics and prop manipulation.

​Formed in 2018, the company began a journey with a commitment to creating unique circus performances across the UK, Ireland, and beyond. This has seen them collaborate and perform alongside exciting companies and large scale events such as The Roundhouse, Glastonbury Festival, FiraTàrrega, Compagnie XY, and Applause Rural Touring and have toured extensively across Ireland, the UK and internationally in Spain, Luxembourg, Croatia, Andorra, Sweden, South Korea, Australia, and soon, South America.

Your current touring work Tape That! is non-verbal. How does this influence the ways in which you communicate what’s happening with your audiences?

Keeping our work non-verbal helps us to make the show accessible for lots of audiences, and translates into many different cultures when we travel around the world with it! It means we get to take the show to lots of countries that aren’t English-speaking, and we love that!

We use lots of facial expressions, gestures, and simple storylines within the show to convey the messages, themes + narratives, and we also invite audiences to come and chat to us at the end if they ever have questions to ask. The overall show doesn’t necessarily have a complex overarching storyline to follow, as we primarily want the show to be fun, engaging and simple.

Where did the idea for the show come from and how did you decide on using colourful rolls of duct tape?

Our graduation act from circus school was an acrobatic piece using juggling rings (you can find it on YouTube if you’re not sure what juggling rings looks like!) We wanted to develop it further, but were offered an amazing opportunity in the form of a co-commision for some outdoor work from the Roundhouse and Applause Rural Touring Network. Juggling rings don’t work well outdoors as they are quite light, and so very easily affected by the wind, so we started thinking about a new prop, in the shape of a juggling ring, but heavier… and we thought of rolls of tape! Then we got very carried away!

There are a lot of physically demanding moments within the show, how do you prepare for this?

We normally do two shows a day, for between one and four days in a row, so we have tried to keep the show not too physically demanding, so that we can look after our bodies and keep performing for as long as possible! We always take the time to warm up properly together, and there is a lot of trust in one other in partner acrobatics to keep each other safe. We’ve been practising these tricks for a long time so we know our limits well.

What are you most looking forward to about touring Tape That! this summer?

We just love getting Tape That out to new audiences all over the world. It’s such a privilege to be able to perform in big cities, through to rural villages and towns. Every performance is unique and memorable in different ways.

And lastly, do you have a favourite circus skill that you love to include in your performances?

Hmm, that’s tricky! Maybe the standing on head trick that is at the end of the show (spoiler alert!) as it’s always a crowd pleaser!

Tape That! tour

  1. Two white people with brown hair on a bridge, both wearing yellow tops. The woman is standing on the man's head reaching up to the sky with one hand. He has tape wrapped around his chest and mouth.

    Tape That!