A scene from Noir, one of Airealism's previous shows

By day they are dentists and lawyers, but by night they moonlight as circus performers, swooping on trapezes, fluttering silk ribbons and contorting themselves on precarious ropes spun five metres from the ground. This is circus, but probably not as you know it.

Comprised of performance artists of all ages, nationalities, shapes and sizes, Hackney-based Airealism has performed everywhere from The Edinburgh Fringe festival to Glastonbury, but this month the troupe brings its latest show, The Bleeding Hearts Circus, back to its roots in Hoxton.

“Airealism gives complete creative freedom to its performers,” says the company’s director, Emelia Holdaway. “Since we all have full-time day jobs, we bring that extra passion and dynamism to our shows that comes from living our circus dreams by night.”

Founded back in 2006 as a small community group, Airealism is now a 20-strong band of performers touring London and the UK. The collective provides opportunities for emerging artists to direct, perform and produce. Although all of them hold down nine to five jobs, many learnt their trade in Hoxton’s Circus Space school and now have the opportunity to pursue their craft after dark.

“It’s a community-focused circus collective. We pride ourselves on being innovative in blending the circus and theatre genres,” says Holdaway.

Bleeding Hearts Circus is set to take the stage by storm, billed as an intimate cabaret heady with raw and twisted passions. Holdaway says the performance follows the characters from soaring highs to devastating lows as the artists dart and tumble overhead.

Holdaway herself is a performance artist and rollerskating performer focusing on trapeze, aerial hoop, silks and rope. Initially training as a ground-based performer, she heard about local circus lessons on the grapevine about 11 years ago and hasn’t looked back.

“I heard by word of mouth there were circus classes near me, so I hunted them down and I’ve been addicted ever since,” she says. “I didn’t join circus classes intending to become a performer, but I trained hard and I loved it, and within six months I was performing.”

Conventional circus, if there is such a thing, this ain’t. Run away with Airealism this month for what is sure to be an electric night of eye-popping performances, heart-stopping acrobatics and high-octane antics.

Bleeding Hearts Circus
Hoxton Hall
May 30-June 1 2013


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