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Brave Space

Brave Space

An unmissable highlight for the whole family is this particularly innovative and magical circus experience from the United States: ‘Brave Space’. The artists of Aloft, who come from the circus school in Chicago, invite you to enter their world. Enter a space rarely seen by audiences, behind the lyric stage to create a fleeting moment of circus magic.

Under a mini tent of white sheets you stand nose to nose with the six female acrobats who can do everything in just a few square meters; from juggling and Cyr wheel to duo trapeze, balancing and hula hoop.

‘Brave Space’ creates a sense of solidarity and requires 100% trust between the artists and the audience. Because only together you can build the show and keep the artists in the air. This playful and breathtakingly beautiful collective circus experience received 5-star reviews at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and is now touring Europe for the first time.

Brave Space Tickets

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Brave Space ON TOUR

Our review on Brave Space

Brave Space - The Lowry, Salford - Thursday 18th July 2024 by Lizzie Johnston

Our Rating

Brave Space is a theatre experience like never before, certainly for shows hosted at The Lowry. I was completely unaware of what to expect other than that it was like a circus show and had been described as immersive, so I turned up happy to be surprised. 

The production, Brave Space, is a show for the whole family which enters a space rarely seen by audiences, offering a unique experience of theatre arts. Aloft Circus Arts was founded in 2005 and is a company from Chicago. They pride themselves on bringing heart and artistry to a performance art that would be usually associated with physical strength and fearlessness to celebrate the human capacity for sensitivity, beauty and bravery. The team is made up of six performers, Zoe Sheppard, Linnea Ridolfi, Heather Dart, Rachel Nesnevich, Sarah Tapper and Hayley Larson, alongside director Shayna Swanson.

From turning up at The Lowry, I knew I was in for a new experience. Even entering the auditorium was different as we waited outside for the whole group to be collected before going backstage and entering the stage area. There was no assigned seating as The Lowry’s Lyric Theatre was turned into a small, intimate studio space. Before heading to the stage, we had been told to expect to get uncomfortable whether it’s sitting down, standing up or lying down, and being very close to other people. 

As we entered the stage, there was a giant white cloth in the centre with lights dotted around and we all formed a circle around the cloth. It took me a short while to realise the performers were in fact underneath the cloth and were moving it to make it wave. The full troupe of six subtly began moving as we arranged ourselves around the cloth in order to swiftly start the first act. 

The artists performed a variety of tricks throughout the show, which only lasted for one hour. The acts were innovative takes on classic circus tricks including hula hoops, balancing and aerial tricks, which is nothing I haven't seen before. Having said this, it was the use of materials and the transition from one act to another that took these tricks to the another level. 

Each act is beyond impressive and the display of physical strength mixed with gracefulness was awe-inspiring. The whole audience was captivated throughout, curious as to what was next and speechless at the talent and strength involved in the show. 

The set was very much part of the act. The central white cloth became a circus tent, which the audience helped to build, scaffolding poles were used for balancing on and ropes hung from the ceiling awaiting the aerial artists. I was intrigued by how the white cloth transformed into a circus tent, and the performers made sure to utilise the audience when setting this up before inviting the crowd to enter the smaller, even more intimate space for the remaining acts. I’d say this was a standout moment for me, as it was more than just audience participation, it ensured we were all involved in the creation of their circus as well as making us get much closer together, almost making us hot and uncomfortable - which is exactly how the performers must have felt. 

Connection is at the heart of this show, which you can see throughout as the performers communicate with each other and trust one another as they perfom the acts together. Through audience participation and the need to get close together to fit into the tent, the theme of connection is filtered into the audience too. With this in mind, I’d suggest wearing comfortable clothes as you may be sitting on the floor, squeezed together for periods of time. 

The closeness of the audience to act is completely unheard of. In fact, we were invited to lie down underneath the aerial act at one point and experience it from a different view. A handful of theatre-goers were even invited to hold the equipment and help with the performance, making them part of the act. 

With its shorter running time of one hour, Aloft’s show is a great experience for any time and any day, in particular mid-week, offering a break from everyday life and inviting you into a surreal, small tent full of magic. It feels far from the flashy and polished shows we often experience, and instead offering up a grounded, sleek show. 

It’s truly an experience like no other and will completely captivate you. Whether you are intrigued by the makings of theatre or not,
Black Space offers a unique view into how a show is put together and the need for trust between performers. Sharing a slick performance alongside behind the scenes insights into theatre creates a magical experience that any theatre goer can enjoy. 


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