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R&D Progress 2023

LiftUP is an innovative and captivating project by #brainfools, directed by Jared Shanks and produced by Toffy. It combines breathtaking acrobatics, light-hearted comedy, and immersive storytelling to create a unique theatrical circus experience. Centered around the theme of lifting each other up through listening and collaboration, #LiftUP aims to inspire and captivate audiences in the UK and beyond.


Phase 2: Images & Rigging

1 Week: R&D at Jacksons Lane - January 2023

Phase 4: Creation (in Planning)

2 Week: Creation at Drill House -

September 2023

Phase 5: Rural Tour

4 Week: Rural Tour through south west

May & June 2024

Phase 1: Background Research

Research & Early stage Development - 2022

Phase 3: R&D Narrative & Acrobatics

2 Week: R&D at Jacksons Lane - May 2023

Phase 4: Premiere (in Planning)

1 Week: Rehearsal & Premiere @Jacksons Lane

Febuary 2024

Phase 1: Research

The inception of LiftUP can be traced back to Jared's time spent at the Circus Village 2022 project with NoFitState. Inspired by the collaborative spirit and creative energy within the circus community, he conceived the idea of a unique experience that would resonate with audiences and revolutionize the circus sector. Teaming up with Toffy, they embarked on the research and planning phase to lay the foundation for their vision. ​ During this phase, Jared and Toffy meticulously examined the core idea of lifting each other up and sought to represent it through a blend of acrobatics, comedy, and storytelling. They explored various circus techniques, contemporary art styles, and performance methodologies to identify the most effective ways to convey their message. To prepare for the upcoming R&D sessions, they brainstormed a series of activities and exercises designed to foster creativity, collaboration, and trust among the performers. These exercises ranged from team-building activities and improvisational games to intricate acrobatic maneuvers and choreography workshops. Jared and Toffy also reached out to local artists, musicians, and other creatives to gather diverse perspectives and enrich their artistic vision. This collaborative approach played a pivotal role in shaping the unique and engaging experience that #LiftUP would eventually become. ​ The research and planning phase laid the groundwork for the project's success, setting the stage for the subsequent R&D sessions and ultimately bringing the world of LiftUP to life.

Phase 2: Images & Rigging

In the second phase of the project, Jared and Toffy focused on creating powerful visual images and exploring innovative rigging ideas to further bring the world of #LiftUP to life. With the kind support of Jacksons Lane, they were granted access to their theatre for a week, providing the perfect space for experimentation and growth. During this one-week, self-funded R&D session, they collaborated with 10 talented performers from the industry who generously contributed their time and expertise in kind. These performers, each with their unique skill sets, helped Jared and Toffy delve deeper into the project's concept and push the boundaries of their creative vision. The week was filled with exploration and discovery, as the team experimented with various rigging configurations and techniques to create visually stunning and emotionally impactful aerial and acrobatic scenes. They also delved into the world of light and shadow, using these elements to enhance the storytelling and create a more immersive experience for the audience. Throughout the week, the performers engaged in a series of workshops, improvisation exercises, and choreography sessions, further refining their skills and deepening their understanding of the project's themes. This collaborative process allowed the team to develop a shared language and a strong sense of trust, which would prove invaluable in the coming stages of the project. The second phase marked a significant milestone for #LiftUP, as the team successfully translated their ideas into tangible images and experiences. With the invaluable contributions of the performers and the support of Jacksons Lane, the project's vision continued to evolve and take shape, paving the way for the next exciting steps in the journey.


Phase 3: Narrative, Puppetry & Showing

In the third phase of the project, the LiftUP team delved into the realms of puppetry, narrative, and live music to create a multi-dimensional and immersive experience for their audience. This phase aimed to integrate these artistic elements seamlessly with the acrobatics and visual imagery established in the previous phases, further enriching the world of LiftUP. During this R&D phase, the team, consisting of performers Toffy, Alvaro, Malik, Lisa, Lucy B, and Lucy G, collaborated with experienced puppeteer Seb Charles, who conducted workshops on using found objects to create captivating creatures. These puppetry elements were used to enhance the storytelling and create a sense of wonder, adding a layer of depth and emotion to the narrative. The narrative took center stage as the team worked closely with writers to develop a compelling and engaging storyline that would resonate with the audience. The process involved refining the themes of collaboration, imagination, and lifting each other up, weaving them seamlessly into the fabric of the performance. Live music played a crucial role in elevating the atmosphere and creating an immersive experience for the audience. The team collaborated with talented musician Joe Edwards, who composed original scores and performed live during the sessions. The integration of live music allowed for a dynamic and responsive performance, where the musicians and performers could feed off each other's energy and create a truly captivating spectacle. The team spent two weeks at Jacksons Lane and one week at Fish Island, perfecting their craft and exploring the possibilities of their artistic vision. They also received valuable input from Michaela and Joanna, who provided an outside perspective and helped refine the performance. At the end of the third phase, the LiftUP team organized a special showing at Jacksons Lane's beautiful Studio 1 to showcase the culmination of their hard work and dedication. They invited 30 guests, including industry professionals and members of local community groups, to experience the magic of LiftUP firsthand. The event served as an opportunity for the performers to share their creative journey, demonstrate the innovative fusion of acrobatics, puppetry, narrative, and live music, and gather valuable feedback from the attendees. The intimate setting of Studio 1 allowed for a close connection between the performers and the audience, fostering a sense of community and shared experience. The positive reception from the guests not only validated the team's efforts but also provided crucial insights and suggestions for further refining the performance. This invaluable feedback would play an essential role in the ongoing development of LiftUP, helping the team to fine-tune their vision and bring the project to even greater heights. The successful showing at Jacksons Lane marked a significant milestone for the LiftUP project, as it demonstrated the team's ability to captivate and inspire their audience. With the continued support of the industry and local community, the world of LiftUP is poised to make a lasting impact on the theatrical UK circus scene.



Marketing pack

Download the marketing pack

Project Plan

Download the markeing pack here.


Download the budget for creation & initial performances

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