Extraordinary Bodies reach out for Human contact with circus, dance, film, stories and silent disco headphones at Theatre Royal

Extraordinary Bodies: Genre and gravity-defying theatre in Human at York Theatre Royal

A TRAPEZE, circus rope, a drum kit and silent disco headphones are the essentials for Extraordinary Bodies’ storytelling show Human at York Theatre Royal on Wednesday.

Billed as both genre and gravity-defying, this touching serenade of intimate, delightful and funny real-life stories will be told through live circus, dance, film and original music at 7.30pm.

Ted Barnes’s live score and binaural sound will be played to the audience through silent disco headphones and the 70-minuite performance will be relaxed, BSL interpreted, captioned and audio described.

Performers John Kelly, Tilly Lee-Kronick, Jonny Leitch, Rosie Rowlands and Rebecca Solomon tell stories that stretch from childhood to the past 24 months: tales of uncertainty about times of big decisions and about getting through things together with the visual spectacle of circus.

Human has been created by co-directors Claire Hodgson and Billy Alwen and film director Steven Lake and written by Hattie Naylor with the company.

Extraordinary Bodies’ cast members Rosie Rowlands, Rebecca Solomon Tilly Lee-Kronick, Jonny Leitch and John Kelly

“The character of Circus arrives in the show, interrupting the performers as she has fallen on hard times,” say Extraordinary Bodies. “The poetry of Circus weaves through the show, becoming part of the storytelling, and her bravery speaks to everyone.” 

Making their York debut, Extraordinary Bodies bring together Cirque Bijou and Diverse City, who have worked together for the past decade creating multi-disciplinary circus shows with disabled and non-disabled artists.

Their work seeks to push the boundaries of music, film, circus and theatre by “making circus for every body, embedding creative access techniques in the work from the outset, including sign language interpretation, captioning and audio description”.

At the heart of Extraordinary Bodies, performing artists Tilly Lee-Kronick and Jonny Leitch form a unique circus double act that combines wheelchair dance, floor work on hands and aerial doubles choreography.

Leitch says: “The relationship and artistry I have with Tilly has always stemmed from us exploring new or wacky ideas on the trapeze or other circus equipment. We explore storytelling in new ways through movement.

Jonny Leitch and Tilly Lee-Kronick: Circus double act combining wheelchair dance, floor work on hands and aerial doubles choreography

“The equipment that facilitates our artistic expression is essential to communicating with our audience and encourages us to be even more innovative in our performance. Human gets to the heart of how we are all feeling right now and I can’t wait to share it.”

Introducing Human as a “poetic record of our time”, artistic director Claire Hodgson says: “Weaving together real-life stories through circus, combined with our use of technology, we have created a show that connects with its audiences in a soothing, sublime, immersive way.

“It was important for us to work with our performers in a way that suited them and make a show that is accessible without compromise. With Extraordinary Bodies, we can experiment and develop work that is genre-defying as well as gravity-defying.”

Human is suitable for all ages, although it is “not a family show”. Box office: 01904 623568 or at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

Did you know?

Binaural sound relates to “sound recorded using two microphones and usually transmitted separately to the two ears of the listener”. Headphones for Human are provided by Silent Disco King.