Creating contemporary circus - POPA
Charlotte Mooney

Creating contemporary circus


Contemporary circus is an extraordinary art form combining circus disciplines with dance, live art, theatre, cabaret, sculpture and more to continually question, push and reinvent live performance.

Ockham’s Razor are part of a vanguard of contemporary circus companies defining this movement. Their shows weave together circus, physical theatre, storytelling and original sculpture and design.

In this course Artistic Director Charlotte Mooney will lead you through some of the essential elements of their creation process. Although created in relation to circus they are equally applicable to physical or visual theatre.

We will delve into the devising process. How to work playfully with improvisation and intuition to create images and movement. How to make sense of what you make and useful processes to integrate text and music and to weave arcs, structures and narratives together.

We will look how to work collaboratively as an ensemble in a way that is effective, harmonious and radical. We shall explore various performance techniques including the importance of presence, risk, complicite and play.

We will look at designing original equipment and reimagining how to use the space of the stage and how to create structures around a concept.

Finally we will question why circus has such a visceral effect on audience and the role of rhythm in performance.

The course will offer the students an opportunity to develop creative and critical thought, to formulate original ideas. To develop students’ capacity to challenge and resist conventional modes of thinking and working.


  • Makers of physical and visual theatre: performers, directors and students.
  • Circus makers: performers, directors and students.
  • Students or professionals with an interest in avant garde theatre.
  • Students or professionals with an interest in ensemble techniques.
  • Students or professionals with an interest in unusual set design.
  • Journalists, art critics and related areas.
  • People from disciplines linked to the theatre industry and performing and visual arts.
  • People interested in arts who want to discover how the different disciplines come together to make the magic of a show happen on stage.


Module 1

1.1 Reimagining the circus stage.
1.2 Equipment experiences.
1.3 Benefits of simplicity.
1.4 Why Ockham’s Razor?
1.5 Exercises.
1.6 Training your minds.

Module 2

2.1 Starting point.
2.2 Open space.
2.3 Day dreaming.
2.4 Improvisations.
2.5 Games.
2.6 Stuff in space.

Module 3

3.1 Weaving the show together.
3.2 Lego.
3.3 7 Drawings.
3.4 Negotiation.
3.5 Writting the show.
3.6 Examples.

Module 4

4.1 Reality in performance.
4.2 Lecoq.
4.3 4 movements of Chéjov.
4.4 Atmosphere.
4.5 Present exercises.
4.6 Zaccarini’s games.
4.7 Rituals.

Module 5

5.1 Music, sound and text.
5.2 Max; thinking in a sound world.
5.3 Max & Chioma Uma.
5.4 Max & “This Time”.
5.5 Playing with music.
5.6 Integrating movements and text.

Module 6

6.1 Design collaborators.
6.2 New audiences.
6.3 Theatres.
6.4 Complementary materials #1
6.5 Complementary materials #2
6.6 Materials.
6.7 Working and designing together. Meeting with Tina Bicat.
6.8 Tricks developed.
6.9 (In) “This Time”.
6.10 “Tipping point”.
6.11 “The Mill”.

Module 7

7.1 How circus gets you the guts.
7.2 Physical emotions.
7.3 Emotions.
7.4 Bouncing.
7.5 Bouncing and rhythm.
7.6 Finale.

Charlotte Mooney

After studying dance and then Literature at the Sussex University, she discovered a passion for visual theatre and went to train in circus and physical theatre to Circomedia, an academy in Bristol recognized internationally. In 2004 she co-founded Ockham's Razor and since then has been Co Artistic Director devising, directing and performing their work. Ockham's Razor are one of the Uk's leading contemporary circus companies and won the Total Theatre and Jackson's Lane award for best Circus show in 2016 for Tipping Point. She taught devising on the BA course at National Centre for Circus Arts and lectures on the MA in Directing Circus at Circomedia. She also teaches storytelling in various settings from primary schools to universities.
  • Audio: English
  • Subtitles: No
  • Duration: 7h 35 min of original material
  • Program: 7 modules
  • Price US$: 112
  • Price AR$: 11200