Bromance is a show about trust, intimacy and male friendships explored through eye-watering feats of strength, astonishing circus skills, hand-to-hand balancing, acrobatics and Cyr wheel routines.
Hi guys thanks for talking to TNC, how's everything going?
Great thanks! We’re just in sunny Lithuania at Cirkuliacija Festival presenting Shift which we staged in Edinburgh last year. We did a workshop this morning and then spent the day swimming and relaxing, before watching other shows in the festival - an excellent day!
How does it feel to be back at Edinburgh Fringe and the Assembly Rooms?
This Fringe is very close to our hearts; it is where we started in 2014. Since then we have loved returned most years to bring our new work to this wild festival audience. Edinburgh is the best showcase spot in the world with wonderful audiences and a great place to see work and artists from around the world. This is our first year with Assembly and we are very excited to be part of their fantastic circus line up. They have smashed it.
The reaction to your work has been incredible, has it surprised you how much people have connected with Bromance?
Absolutely. Early on in creation we were lucky enough to connect with our producer.
Di Robson who brought in a cracking production team that supported and developed our idea to the utmost. Eddie Kay directed Bromance and provided a magical touch that we have taken to audiences around the world. We hold what he taught us very closely. We also really enjoy performing this show - our bromance is real and we love inviting others in to it.
Can you tell me a little bit about Bromance, what can we expect?
We are three different guys, with three different personalities and skills. These can sometimes cause riffs or create triangles of tensions. Using our circus skills, with a through-line of acrobatic movement, we interrogate these relationships. We didn’t imagine it would be a funny show really, but for the most part of rehearsals with Eddie, we were dying with laughter. He is a very funny man and brought out the fun sides of the ideas.
It’s rare in theatre, in a lot of the creative arts, to see this beautiful, honest and touching male friendship and bonding displayed so magically. How much has working on Bromance over the years strengthened your own friendships?
It’s incredible really to visit the world with your best friends presenting a slice of your love. We always get an incredible reception everywhere we go and have established important relationships all over the world through performing Bromance. Quite honestly, there are no challenges when we are together, only opportunities.
What have been the biggest challenges bringing a new production like this to life?
Starting, to be honest. Getting the funding, the space, the team, the time, the concept…No-one knows where/how to start. Once the ball is rolling and the initial doubts are behind you, the fun part begins.
"Once the ball is rolling and the initial doubts are behind you, the fun part begins."
How did Barely Methodical Troupe come about?
We met on the degree programme at the National Centre for Circus Arts and truly hit it off from the get-go. Over the next three years we trained together, ate together and even sometimes lived together. In our final year the school had an opportunity to win a grant through Deutche Bank to realise a circus project. We wanted to work together and had constantly been creating and performing together during our degree, so we started getting serious and made a plan. We had some great mentoring and were lucky enough to win! Since that starting gun, we have not looked back, tumbling and flipping our way together down the track.
When you first met how soon was it before you realised you wanted to create a show together?
When we were still training at circus school a bunch of us got a show together because we wanted to try out some of our tricks in front of an audience. Silver Lining was great fun and we loved devising circus together and but eventually Louis, Beren and I realised that we wanted to work together as a trio and create our own show, focused on floor acrobatics. The idea for Bromance came quite naturally using our graduation pieces and ides we had experimented with in workshops.
What was that first show like?
So fun, but so terrible. We had around 37 people come and watch and we were so chuffed! We were so green and new. Underbelly helped us get our name out there and we had a lot of fun working with them. And we won the Total Theatre & Jacksons Lane Award for Circus. It was incredible!
How would you describe Bromance in 3 words?
Fun, fresh and dynamic.
Have you always had a passion for performing?
Us three are very lucky to have incredibly supportive and arty parents. My dad is a playwright and drama teacher and so I was indoctrinated into the thespian world from a very young age. Beren’s folks were in the radical late ’80s circus Archaos and are now independent artists and Louis’s dad is a musician, so I guess the performing thing is in the DNA.
Has your style and approach to creating your shows changed much since you started?
Yes of course. We were complete beginners when we started and we are still on a massive learning curve. We like to work with different teams on each project on and offstage, to see how different artists and processes work. Our producer Di is always introducing new ideas and people and our education at BMT has been invaluable, working with incredible directors and choreographers. Each time, we refine/redefine our own practice, continually trying to challenge the art form and ourselves. Right now we are running a series of workshops throughout 2019 working with wildly different creative leads to explore process – for the next one we are working with a sound designer! Contemporary circus is relatively new territory and we are lucky to be able to experiment to find our own performance vocabulary.
What has been the best piece of advice you've been given?
My Cyr Wheel teacher at Circus School, Amy Welbourn, used to always say “stay in the wheel, it’s the safest option and it’s how you find new things”. I take this advice with me to everything I do, wheel or not.
Do you have any advice you would offer a fellow theatre maker?
Do your research, watch shows, films, look at art, work out what you love to do and gather people around you that help you be the best you.
And finally, what do you hope people will take away from this show?
Joy. Understanding. Happiness. We hope they will leave the theatre with a smile that can perhaps fuel their day, week or even month. The importance of friendship can never be over exaggerated. All you need is love.