Ali Williams is one of the co-founders and creative directors of NoFit State Circus. She spent 30 years with the company between 1986 and 2016 and has been a performer, fundraiser, community director, and creative producer of many shows including Immortal, Parklife and Barricade, Open House and BLOCK. She was director of the Circus Development Agency from 2008-10 and has been an active member of the Circostrada European Circus and Street Arts network. She has always had an interest in using circus as a tool for inclusion to improve communities and supports many social circus projects.
Ali was a member of Malabaristas por la Paz, a group that toured Nicaragua and Cuba in the late 1980’s. This group became the inspiration for other organisations such as Clowns Without Borders and Performers Without Borders, who are continuing to work in war zones and areas of poverty. In 2013 she completed a year’s sabbatical in Nepal where she worked with Circus Kathmandu, a social circus project that works with traffic survivors rescued from Indian circuses. For Circus Kathmandu she produced a show “Swagatam” that enabled them to tour internationally in Norway, UK and Australia.
She has just finished creating and touring a new show “As A Tiger in the Jungle” with some of the young artists from Nepal in collaboration with Director/Writer Sverre Waage from Cirkus Xanti, Norway. This show is currently touring Wales and England and is funded by both Arts Council England and Arts Council Wales.
As well as producing professional shows she believes in engaging with community and giving them opportunities to take part in performances alongside the productions’ professional team.
Within her role Ali supports many other circus companies and promoters in an advisory capacity. Ali has been on the Roundhouse Circus Fest advisory board and the artistic advisory board for Circolombia. She has mentored many emerging and established companies e.g Circus MASH, Pirates of Caribina, Mimbre, and is passionate about supporting trainees and emerging artists to develop their talents.
Working within Extraordinary bodies for 2 years (2016-2018), Ali was responsible for chairing the talent development panel which looked at career pathways for differently abled performers. The panel worked with training schools and youth organisations to create and deliver an action plan for more inclusive circus in the UK. This fitted with her philosophy of making circus accessible and inclusive to the whole community.
Though Ali focuses on contemporary creations she loves the traditional circus lifestyle of traveling and living outdoors with a community who share a common vision.
Ali will be running the ‘Producing Community Shows’ session.
Ali will begin with a short presentation about some of the community shows she has worked on, before looking at why we choose to work with communities, and how to make successful relationships with community performers (groups and individuals).
This session will take place at Lost Horizon on Monday, 21st February 2022, 12pm-1pm.
This is a virtual session: Ali will be joining us from Portugal, as a hologram.
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