The pioneering Extraordinary Bodies take up residency with the National Theatre


National Theatre has invited integrated circus company Extraordinary Bodies to explore narrative ideas for new show What Am I Worth? in a week long residency with their New Work Department, October 2nd – 6th 2017.

Photo of the integrated company Extraordinary Bodies, pictured against a blue sky

Extraordinary Bodies company photo. Picture by Chris Frazer Smith

Extraordinary Bodies are a contemporary circus company made up equally of D/deaf, disabled and non-disabled performers, musicians, writers and creatives. They make work in which the diverse makeup of society is represented onstage, backstage and in the audience. They work with communities to make shows because they believe that they can have the largest impact by showing the world as it really is.

Extraordinary Bodies have been travelling the country in 2017 gathering stories from marginalised communities during integrated workshops in partnership with 10 local authorities, festivals and arts organisations.

Extraordinary Bodies’ award-winning playwright Hattie Naylor has attended the Creative Explorations and will bring these stories to the National Theatre to work alongside their resident dramaturg. BSL interpretation and audio description will be integrated into the show from the start.

Extraordinary Bodies also bring international artists Dergin Tokmak (Germany, ex-Cirque du Soleil, crutch / break-dancer), Ania Reynolds (Australia, Circus Oz Musical Director) and Sarah Houbolt (Australia, circus artist and ex-Paralympic swimmer) to join members of their current company in this second chapter of show creation.

Claire Teasdale, Executive Producer, Extraordinary Bodies says: “Following our journey of Creative Explorations, we are thrilled to announce that we will be spending two weeks with National Theatre London’s New Work Department, based at the NT Studio. The New Work department is the engine room of the National’s creative process. They will be providing us with excellent resources and support for the development of our new show, ‘What Am I Worth’.”

Emily McLaughlin, Head of New Work, National Theatre says: “The National Theatre is delighted to be supporting the integrated circus company Extraordinary Bodies, as they develop this ground breaking project exploring the question of worth. As a diverse company of artists they are exactly the right people to be asking this question with integrity and humanity, reinforcing the importance of the arts in interpreting and reflecting the answers back to ourselves and those who participate in the national conversation.”

Rufus Norris, Artistic Director, National Theatre says: “The National Theatre has made a commitment to disabled practitioners and performers, both off and on stage, and we want to support essential, ground-breaking projects like Extraordinary Bodies. Without companies like Extraordinary Bodies, these lives, these stories, this vitality will not be witnessed.”

What am I Worth? is a brand new show created by Extraordinary Bodies for touring in summer 2018. It will be performed in the outdoors, by an exceptional cast of circus, dance, music and theatre artists, and feature members of local communities wherever it goes.