Circus artists perform tricks in the rubble at Jacksons Lane

Circus performer Maz at Jacksons Lane in Highgate

Circus performer Maz at Jacksons Lane in Highgate - Credit: Kaveh Rahnama

Circus performers have shot a film of them performing amid the renovation works at Jacksons Lane.

Jugglers, acrobats, hoop spinners and a strong lady did their tricks in the shuttered Highgate arts centre which is due to reopen in September after a multi-million pound revamp.

Circus performer Leo in the rubble at Jacksons Lane

Circus performer Leo in the rubble at Jacksons Lane - Credit: Courtesy of Jacksons Lane

Works to improve the foyer, rehearsal spaces and auditorium with new seating, disabled access and a cafe are on schedule, but artistic director Adrian Berry wanted to continue engaging with artists and the community.

Strong woman Charmaine lifts bricks at the Highgate arts centre

Strong woman Charmaine Childs lifts bricks at the Highgate arts centre - Credit: Courtesy of Jacksons Lane

Directed by Jacksons Lane associate Kaveh Rahnama, Encore is a 7 minute film featuring 10 circus artists on the scaffolding, juggling, and practicing cyr wheel. Strong Lady, Charmaine Childs said: "Standing in the rubble, mid-renovation - seeing it with it’s makeup off, as it were, was like an amplified version of that feeling of being backstage, waiting to go on….  The building itself is slowly dressing for the show and waiting to step out in front of audiences once again."

Acrobat Joana on the scaffolding

Acrobat Joana on the scaffolding - Credit: Courtesy of Jacksons Lane

Berry added: "As Jacksons Lane was unable to open this last year, due to the combination of the building redevelopment and COVID, it made us more determined than ever to find a way to employ circus artists and create new work. Encore is a journey through our venue-in-progress– scaffolding, rubble and all – with circus artists working in every space at Jacksons Lane."


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The arts centre raised £3.35 million in grants for the scheme and is due to launch a £300,000 fundraising campaign to complete the renovations including ‘Donate A Door’, ‘Love a Lantern’, ‘Buy a Brick’ and ‘Sponsor a Seat’.

Unicyclist Ella in one of the dressing rooms

Unicyclist Ella in one of the dressing rooms - Credit: Courtesy of Jacksons Lane

Actor Jonathan Pryce who lived in Jacksons Lane for more than 20 years and rehearsed Hamlet's sword fight there in 1989 said: "I have warm memories of the building’s past and great hopes for its future. It is a huge asset for the entire community and I know from my family’s personal experience it is invaluable. Please give it all the support you can."

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Architects Citizens Design Bureau have designed the redevelopment to be inspiring, beautiful and practical; environmentally sustainable, accessible, and future proof to stage exciting performance work for decades to come.


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