A stunning physical theatre show mixing movement, aerial, acrobatics, theatre and Russian swing on a brand new spinning stage.
Three travelers arrive with an irresistible invitation to a giant puzzle, a spinning planet forged from 80 metres of steel pipe. There’s only one crown and we each want it with every bone in our bodies – unfortunately none of us has a clue how to get it.
Planetary is us unlocking a brand new piece of aerial theatre equipment. We’ll discover its secrets and maybe something about ourselves as we fight to be top dog in this tale of daredevil mayhem. Its a journey of unstable alliances, misplaced trust, a bit of greed and what happens if you finally get what you want.
This structure is the Distance Ladder – a new concept of Human Motion Sculpture designed and built by Pete Gunson and Eleanor Hooper in 2012. It mixes intimate focussed framings of performance, intricate technical mastery and human fireworks as the pace heats up. The Distance Ladder is an evolution of Pif-Paf’s engineering for theatre, creating dynamic structures that at once take foreground as captivating kinetic sculptures and simultaneously melt into being an elegant stage for a dynamic, high skills, high risk acrobatic and movement language.
Planetary is a 24 minute outdoor show for family audiences, best seen end on or traverse, 2 times a day
Director – Helen Parlor, Circus Director – Paul Evans
Costume – Maija Nygren, Music – Will Lenton and Howard Jacobs
Performers: Fran Widdowson, Laura Cork and Pete Gunson
Eleanor Hooper – CoAD research and outside eye
We will tour with a team of 3 and be technically self sufficient, PA is an option. The Distance Ladder structure sits in its own freestanding cradle and we bring an area of matting and an inflatable crash mat. We need 10m x 6m on flat well drained land, preferred hard standing,
We will not be able to perform in rain, the set can be quickly covered and briskly reset.
Suitable for audiences up to 600
Development Since 2012:
Since the Distance Ladders creation in 2012 we have run 7 distinct periods of development. These has been iterative, exploring, refining the structure, charting what is possible and building the right team at each juncture to exploit our aims.
Walk The Plank and Ordsall Community Arts commissioned the DL for a night time spectacular for 2,500 audience – acrobatic coached by Jeni Barnard of Acrojou and directed by Orit Azaz to video by Tim Briton of Forkbeard Fantasy.
Summer 2013 saw GfA funded R&D led by Adrian Porter (NCCA, Cirque Du Soleil) opening Russian swing potential and a parade routine diving competition led by Orit Azaz.
Autumn ’13 we R&D’d Romeo and Juliet with George Mann from TheatreAd infinitum.
Summer 14 saw 3 days with Kevin Finnan MBE (Motionhouse) where we decided the way forward was developing a high skill circus show, that overt theatrical plot was working against the stunning and never before seen possibilities of the structure.
Oct 14 saw a final 3 days exploring the realities of choreographies between 3 performers at Greentop Sheffield. We opened up yet another swathe of new moves thanks to a technical development on the structure.
The Distance Ladder was commissioned by Ordsall Community Arts and Walk The Plank and development of Planetary and the structure has been suppoertd by Arts Council England Lottery Funding and NoFitState.