Interview: Jascha Boyce from Gravity & Other Myths on new circus show Backbone
We pinned down acrobat Jascha Boyce from Gravity & Other Myths ahead of their upcoming show Backbone at Southbank Centre this summer. We asked about running away with the circus, her London haunts and inspiration for making stunning spectacle.
How did you get into circus? Tell us about your career to this point.
I started taking circus classes as an alternative to conventional activities like ballet or football when I was four years old at Cirkidz, a recreational circus school in Adelaide, South Australia. When I was nine I was offered a place in the performing troupe where I spent 10 years training and performing alongside my normal education. It was there that I met the team who created Gravity & Other Myths (GOM) with me.
We grew up together and when we graduated we knew we had a desire to continue training and creating together so we formed our company in 2009. Since then we have created three award-winning, world renowned works, Freefall, A Simple Space and our current work, Backbone.
We have toured to every continent (except Antarctica!) and have performed in Zimbabwe, Vancouver, Montreal, USA, London, Edinburgh, Zurich, Madrid, Stuggart, Graz, Lyon, Galway, Budapest, Gronigen, Leuven, Kortrijk, Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, and Lima – just to name a few!
We loved your show, A Simple Space. Tell us what an audience can expect from your new show Backbone?
A Simple Space and Backbone are similar in many ways but also quite different in many ways! The beast that is Backbone has been created for much larger stages that seat more audience members so the scale of the work is massive in comparison to A Simple Space however the intimacy found in our previous works, though not necessarily as related to proximity like in A Simple Space, is recreated in Backbone through the performers honest connection to the audience, the groups camaraderie on stage and the intimate, personal and relatable themes explored within the work.
Backbone examines strength in all its forms, personal, collective, physical and emotional. With 10 acrobats, mind-blowing lighting design (possibly featuring a laser, shhhhh!), dynamic staging and two live musicians driving the work with an eclectic composition reminiscent of an epic Indian raga, Backbone takes new circus into a whole new realm!
What or who inspires you to make your work?
All of the work we have created has been inspired by a multitude of different things, depending on and directly connected to what point we are at in our careers. Our first work, Freefall was created after seeing the 7 Doigts De La Main perform Traces in Adelaide. We aspired to create this kind of innovative, thoughtful and honest work. A Simple Space was inspired by our relationships we had formed together over the 15+ years of knowing one another.
We transposed the games and competitions we thrived on as teenagers onto the stage, creating a work that was honest, joyful and uplifting. The inspiration to create a work like Backbone came in part from the market yearning for more large scale new circus creations and our desire to challenge ourselves to develop a work that explores deeper themes in an abstract way while ensuring the GOM vibe of camaraderie, team work and joy remained.
What advice would you give for someone who wants to run away with the circus?
GO FOR IT! The great thing about circus is that is a truly forgiving and encouraging art form that encompasses so many diverse skillsets that there is something for everyone!
You definitely have to be prepared for hard work. It can be exhausting and frustrating at times but is so incredibly fulfilling. To be able to travel the world, doing what I love with my best friends is definitely worth all the sweat and tears!
What are your favourite places to go when you’re in London? (to eat/to party/to experience)
Soho Grind is my fav spot for a great coffee and a pastel de nata but every time I come back to London more and more fantastic coffee shops have popped up. I blame all the Aussies!
My number one spot for brunch is 26 Grains, hands down! I plan to visit at least 5 times while I am in town!
If you love fantastic natural wine and delicious food you HAVE to visit Terroir.
When I have a morning off I love wandering through the Columbia Road Flower Market… when I retire from my circus career I have plans to open a florist!
And it’s absolutely worth the journey out to Walthamstow to visit God’s Own Junkyard, the incredible neon museum and Wild Card Brewery, the microbrewery next door.
Backbone plays at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall from 14-18 August. Tickets from £15 southbankcentre.co.uk
I am Joint Editor at To Do List. I like free, cheap & offbeat London, especially: cabaret, art, theatre, pop-ups, eating out, quirky films, museums, day trips, social enterprise & much more.