We are delighted to announce that our professional integrated circus company, Extraordinary Bodies, a partnership between Cirque Bijou and Diverse City, has been awarded £719,322 from Arts Council England’s Ambition for Excellence programme for a project over 2 years from November 2016.

Extraordinary Bodies was conceived as a result of a partnership with Diverse City during our London 2012 project, Battle for the Winds, an epic project across 7 counties of the South West which culminated in a celebration of the Sailing and Windsurfing events in Weymouth. Extraordinary Bodies’ first show, Weighting, premiered in 2013 and toured in 2015-16.

The Ambition for Excellence award will support our vision of Extraordinary Bodies becoming the national integrated circus company of the UK, able to lead and develop the circus and outdoor arts sectors. We will develop and produce a new ambitious outdoor touring circus show featuring exceptional disabled and non-disabled UK artists, explore circus techniques and future co-production through an international residency with Circus Oz, and develop talented young disabled artists in partnership with major UK circus schools. It will also allow us to make an unprecedented difference within our sectors as we lay down the groundwork for truly integrated, and excellent, circus and outdoor arts practice.

“Extraordinary Bodies will be a game-changer for circus in this country and we are delighted to support it. It’s a direct legacy of the amazing culture and ceremonies created for London 2012. We’re very pleased that a long term programme that will make exciting work of scale and develop talent of disabled and non-disabled circus artists at a national level is launched while we’re enjoying Rio 2016. It’s a timely reminder of how the drive for success in sport is an inspiration for culture too. It puts the creative case for diversity front and centre of great art – exactly where it should be” Alison Clark, National Director, Combined Arts & Programme Lead, Ambition for Excellence, Arts Council England

Find out more about Extraordinary Bodies.