2 photographs: one of circus artist Aislin Mulligan performing aerial with straps. The second: Jamie Beddard flying in the air in a harness, throwing a hat and confetti.

What would you do if you found yourself in a very different body tomorrow?

Delicate will be an indoor theatre/circus production, exploring risk – personal, professional and political – and the inherent delicacy – seen or unseen – that underpins, and undulates beneath us all. Understanding our own, and others delicacy is a prerequisite for the courage and compassion needed to find a more balanced and equitable world.

A collaboration with Jamie Beddard and Extraordinary Bodies artist Aislinn Mulligan, working with circus company Circumference and Bristol Old Vic’s Ferment Programme. Together they explore a journey of ageing and disability through non-verbal storytelling and aerial circus.

Delicate crosses the divide between disabled and non-disabled, theatre and circus, gender and age. The artists experiment with creating a world where a slow walk across the stage and an effortless flight through the air have equal relevance, drama and freedom.

Delicate researches the transience and fluidity of our bodies. Identity is intimately connected to the body, but what happens when they no longer perform as they once did, when bravery and bravado are replaced by hesitancy and vulnerability? How do the medical and psychological interplay?

Research & Development of Delicate, January 2019

Jo Mackie, Producer for Delicate checks in on the R&D week:
Following 6 months of interviews and academic research with archivists at The Wellcome Trust, we are now embarking on our first week of practical R&D on new show, Delicate. We’ve been working with a brilliant and diverse range of people, including sound and spoken word artists, circus performers, writer and actors, as well as a neuroscientist, an ethnographic research consultant and a creative rigger to explore what Delicate might be about.
Monday took the form of a discussion day; on Tuesday we experimented with different sound and audio landscapes, thinking about how we might incorporate the testimonies we have been collecting into a music and sound-score for the show. Today (Wednesday) we are working with a brilliant creative rigger who is helping us explore the different ways in which we might use a multitude of equipment in imaginative ways to create the physical world of the show – including truss, scaffolding, ratchet straps, ropes, poles, blankets and LED lights. Tomorrow we will continue to experiment with the different forms the show might eventually take, and on Friday we will share some of our ideas with an invited audience.
We’re very lucky to have such a brilliant group of different minds and bodies in the room to give us a huge range of perspectives on the subject of delicacy, and very excited about what the show will become. 

Images below show behind the scenes of the week at Battersea Arts Centre.

Commissioned and supported by Unlimited, celebrating the work of disabled artists, with funding from Wellcome.

Photography credits: Header – ©Richard Brown / ©Rachel Lambert. @Diverse City.