Guest Blog: Nathan Knowles On Circa's PEEPSHOW

Guest Blog: Nathan Knowles On Circa's PEEPSHOW
Circa's Peepshow

I suppose I was an odd child; from a young age, I viewed the world as if from the other side of a thick glass wall, leaving me often disconnected to the people and situations around me. I wasn't socially skilled unless in intimate settings and preferred to fade away into artistic outlets as an escape mechanism.

Circus offers the perfect mix of getting the intimacy I craved, the creative expression I hungered for, and being on stage gave me the power to interact with strangers in a controlled and carefully crafted scenario.

Having been introduced to circus by pure luck at the age of six through a workshop at my primary school with a local clown, I learnt the basics of circus disciplines such as stilt walking, juggling, clown and rola-bola.

I remember going home later that day to tell my family that one day I would run away with the circus. They and myself had no idea what the future would hold.

The circus scene in Vancouver at that time was very underdeveloped, and still to this day is not as established as many other major cities around the world. The easiest route for me to achieve this goal was to study acrobatic dance at a local dance studio, and then, soon after, I was taken under the wing of a contortion trainer in the town nearby.

At the age of 17, I moved to Montréal and spent four years at the prestigious National Circus School, specialising in handbalancing and contortion.

Guest Blog: Nathan Knowles On Circa's PEEPSHOW
Circa's Peepshow

Performing has helped me immensely in positively shaping how I interact with the world around me.

I've been a full-time ensemble member of Circa for two years, and Peepshow will be my tenth show from the company's repertoire tucked under my belt. It's the perfect show for London audiences, because it challenges the more commercial and sometimes overly gratuitous entertainment.

Not only is Circa world renowned for its skill level and innovation, but it is also one extended family full of love, sweat and beauty on stage - and equally so behind the scenes. In a lot of senses, we're like any family, and what tethers us together is our common devotion to presenting quality work to our audiences.

We are not only dedicated performers, but grounded human beings who laugh, cry, play together. It's fantastic being part of Circa and it's fair to say that backstage is as much of a circus as it is on stage. There's never a dull moment. Limbs and underwear everywhere, and without a doubt a big old bag of laughs!

Peepshow, specifically, is very special to me because it combines two of my passions: contemporary circus and the world of cabaret. While studying in Montréal I held a prominent presence in the city's cabaret scene, and the art form is one that I know very well.

Peepshow allows me the opportunity to dissect and taste what cabaret can be in a way that I had not touched upon before. It lets audiences see the world from the other side of the mirror.

Circa's Peepshow at Underbelly Festival, London until 18 August

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From This Author Guest Blog: Nathan Knowles

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