NoFit State settled their huge structure right at the heart of the city, on Tuesday 5th July 2011, straight after having presented Barricade the weekend before at Hat Fair, in Winchester (‘Just round the corner’, smiles Ali Williams, the Welsh company’s Director, quite happy to not have to have travelled miles to get to the next show venue !).
The place is central, quite lively, ‘sometimes a bit too much, especially towards the end of the week…’ some members of the company will say, as their tent is not thick enough to insulate from the noise of the bars and pubs night-time closure. ‘But we’ve had an exceptional welcome here, by the teams from the Nuffield Theatre and Events at the Council’, says NoFit State’s Production Manager Duncan Milligan. And Sharon Lawless, Production Manager at the Nuffield Theatre adds that ‘the site was completely empty, so we had to equipped it all to cater for the company, and I was worried we’d forgotten something !’
On Thursday 7th and Friday 8th July 2011, some of the company’s artists ran circus skills sessions open to all, successfully attended by passer-bys or groups, including the Nufield Theatre’s Youth Theatre Group. The latter will be part of the ‘pre-show’, the 20minute-preambule leading up to the show.
Emilie Guillaume, NoFit State’s acrobat and artist from Belgium has a very communicative energy, while Chris Patfield, the tight-rope walker, gives tips on how to keep your balance, and Alice Ellerby and Paul Evans, trapeze artists, provide advice to participants perched on the wooden bar.
Around 2000 people attended Barricade , on Saturday 9th July 2011. ‘We didn’t know how many people would turn up, because unlike with French company Carabosse, who took part in the official opening of the cultural square in November 2010, NoFit State were not part of a bigger event. They are the event themselves !’, says Christine Rawnsley, from Southampton City Council.
An hour before the show, during a ‘pre-show drink’ including various people from local organisations, Nuffield Theatre Director Patrick Sandford reminded that it is the partnership between European network ZEPA, the local authority and the Nuffield that enabled the show to be developed and presented in Southampton.
Barricade was a great success , and the artists gave the best of themselves, taking more risks, evolving as a harmonious ensemble. Orit Azaz, Barricade’s Director, highlights that the company performed the show three times between la Fête dans la Ville in Amiens, on 17th and 18th June 2011 and Southampton, enabling the company to feel more confident on stage and grasp the show.
Next stop for Barricade within the ZEPA area : Great Yarmouth, mid September, at the Out There festival !