- Date: 17 January 2012
- Artform: Combined arts
- Area: Midlands
NoFit State Circus, which is based in Cardiff but tours extensively in England, will become a National portfolio organisation in 2012.
In 2011 they celebrated their 25th anniversary with an acclaimed show at the Eden Project in Cornwall.
They have training and office space in their roomy headquarters which was previously occupied by Welsh National Opera.
Largest UK contemporary circus company
The company, which is now the largest contemporary circus company in the UK, began in 1986 when a group of five friends got together to juggle and party. Two of the original founders are still with the company. They are Ali Williams and Tom Rack, the two creative directors. Their growth has been steady with touring work in Wales, the UK and Europe.
They have received both project and capital funding from the Arts Council of Wales and were awarded revenue funding in Wales from 2011. Arts Council England has previously awarded them Grants for the arts. They have also received commercial sponsorship.
Alison Woods, their Executive Director, says: 'NPO funding means that we will have the ability to forward plan and engage in a richer mix of activities. We can strengthen our operation and give added support to our projects. We will be less dependent on the capacity of our partners to deliver. This is a major step forward.'
Their mission is 'to be the circus that everyone wants to join' and their performances range from parks, streets, large venues to touring shows in their big top or on two flat-bed lorries which convert into a stage. They also have an extensive education and community reach programme.
2011 performances and beyond
Their Eden Project performance to celebrate the tenth birthday of the venue was entitled Labyrinth and was presented for the whole of August 2011.
A touring show is Parklife which is NoFit's way of taking the circus out of the big top into public parks. This has toured around England and Wales for the last two years. It involves local communities and performers in exciting outdoor shows.
Barricade is a spectacular open air show which has toured in 2011 in France and England and is scheduled to go on the road again in 2012.
Their work in Wales includes Mundo Paralelo which premiered in West Wales in March 2011 and will continue to be developed for future performances.
NoFit's contribution to community and professional training in circus skills is enormous.
Education and Outreach
Lynn Carroll is their Education and Outreach Officer. She says that their training space offers far better facilities than the church hall they used previously. As well as running training sessions and summer schools in their premises they go out on the road and visit schools, community venues and even prisons. Each year they cater for around 19,000 people of all ages through their outreach programmes. They also work with people with physical disabilities. They have an active youth circus.
One of their biggest ambitions is to develop their apprenticeship scheme from a project based to a year round programme. This will be a major development strand made possible by NPO status and funding from Arts Council England.
It will provide a professional development bridge from education to employment for young and emerging artists
So the future is looking exciting for NoFit and for more information about their history and productions visit: www.nofitstate.org