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‘We find our talent in unusual ways’: the revolutionary circus of Extraordinary Bodies

From first kisses to lockdown days, a cast of disabled and non-disabled performers lay their personal lives on the line in a moving new show, Human

Article by , for The Guardian

On a bare black stage, Jonny Leitch is remembering an act of kindness: a janitor offering him a stick of gum while he sat in a hospital waiting room. As Leitch’s recorded voice narrates the story, a black loop appears suspended from the air and he hoists himself from his wheelchair into it, performing a graceful, balletic arc high above it.

This is one of the scenes that makes up Human, the latest production from integrated circus company Extraordinary Bodies. Devised over the past year with a cast of disabled and non-disabled performers, Human combines circus skills with digital recordings to illustrate formative moments in the company members’ lives – from first kisses to personal traumas and life in lockdown. The result is a polyphony of experiences told through speech, song and movement, centring each tale in the nuances of human life.

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