2021 was an amazing year for Boom Circus (previously known as Pokya Entertainment), despite the obvious difficulties of a global pandemic they successfully toured their show ‘Bert’ receiving outstanding reviews and support from all their audience’s.
The Boom Circus crew didn’t want the pandemic to stop people being able to access live performances, as they believe it contributes so much to the education, growth, creativity and enjoyment of Cornwall’s residents. So their aim for the summer season of 2021 was to tour a show, ‘Bert’, which could be enjoyed by all whilst still complying with current Covid-19 safety guidelines. Feast’s funding helped them to achieve this.
Boom Circus were granted their Feast funding just before the physical creation of their show began, in June 2021. Because of this funding they were able to employ a cast of five Circus Artists three of whom are Cornish, Liam Jones (Boom Circus Artistic Director, Acrobat), Maya Tenenbaum (Boom Circus Artist Coordinator, Acrobat), Rachel Fox (Acrobat, Aerialist), Ronan Jenkinson (Acrobat, Physical theatre), Lisa Whitmore (Acrobat, Aerialist). Alongside their cast they were able to employ a musician to compose the music, Andrew Bate, a
local Cornish seamstress to create the costumes, Miriam Walker and a handful of local creative people to help with set design and creation.
Their creation period for ‘Bert’ was two weeks and took place in one of Boom Circus’s Big Top tents, here the cast worked together to build on and expand creative research already done for the show by Liam and Maya in 2018. They had directorial outside input from Jade Dunbar (Glastonbury Arts Comission committee) alongside some additional funding from the Glastonbury arts commission which they were awarded in 2019. In order to make their show Covid-19 compliant they took the decision to tour it only at outdoor locations this year, although it was created with the possibility to be performed both inside and out. Having an outdoor show comes with many pros and cons, the main con being our lovely Cornish weather, luckily no ‘Bert’ shows were cancelled this year, the sun was shining down on them. Pros included safe fresh air for their audiences as well as lots of space for each bubble to socially distance whilst still enjoying the show together.
‘Bert’ toured four different locations in Cornwall, Wadebridge, Penzance, Falmouth and Bude, as well as being commissioned by the Keynsham Music Festival, Bristol. It was very well received at all locations by both tourists and the local communities. FEAST funding was predominantly used in the creation process of the show, to fund rehearsals and equipment, whilst the performances themselves were paid for from ticket sales; this is something Boom Circus values highly – being able to create something which is self supporting so that they can continue bringing their art to as many people as possible, both around Cornwall and beyond.