Nofit State Circus

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NoFit State Circus
Immortal Circus.jpg
the Immortal tour 2006
Country Wales
Year founded 1986
Ringmaster(s) no
  • Tom Rack
  • Alison Woods
Travelling show? yes
Circus tent? a large Spaceship
Winter quarters Training in Cardiff
Type of acts contemporary circus – anarchic fusion with theatre
Other information no animals

NoFit State Circus is a contemporary circus company based in Cardiff, Wales.

Formed in 1986, NoFit State Circus have been a mainstay of new and contemporary circus in the United Kingdom since their inception, and have toured tented and theatrical shows at home and abroad. They also maintain an active education programme and run community projects that allow non-professional performers to devise circus work, working alongside the company's own professionals.

The company's first large-scale show Immortal was described by the Scotsman newspaper as circus that "celebrates the human soul rather than just the human body",[1] and elsewhere lauded as "rich, powerful stuff [...] overwhelming in its diversity of ideas".[2] Writing in The Times, dance critic Donald Hutera gave a more measured response, saying that it was better to "surrender to the show's deceptively shambolic quicksilver atmosphere"[3] than concentrate overmuch on the plot. Immortal won a Tap Water Award, an Editor's Choice Award from, and The Jury Award at Spain's Tarrega Festival.[4]

NoFit State's next show, Tabú, premiered at Tredegar Park, Newport in April 2008, and has been touring Britain and Europe in the time since. Directed by Firenza Guidi, who also worked on Immortal, Tabú shares much of Immortal's visual and narrative style, and carries over some of the old cast. It has received mixed reviews. Lyn Gardner writing for The Guardian called it "fabulous stuff that owes more to contemporary dance and experimental theatre than it does to sawdust and elephants",[5] but others have criticised that the live show seems to have "no connection with the programme's bogglingly detailed back story",[6] and that the circus skills on display "don't dramatise the original concept".[7]

In 2012, the company developed their show BIANCO: Time For Beauty in partnership with the Eden Project. The promenade show, also directed by Firenza Guidi, ran in the tented performance space throughout the summer, and was described by This Is Cornwall as "an incredible experience". The show was then redeveloped to incorporate new ideas, acts and performers in 2013 to become BIANCO: Turning Savage. It opened at The Roundhouse in April 2013, and was praised by the Guardian newspaper for "combining first-rate skills with a joyful, unashamed pleasure". BIANCO: Turning Savage went on to tour venues across the UK in NoFit State's custom-designed big top spaceship tent, including a sell-out run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August 2013. In 2014 the show toured to Perth, Australia, and around Europe and will continue touring in 2015.

NoFit State's show NOODLES premiered at the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The production, by Finnish circus director Maksim Komaro, is staged in a traditional theatre setting and received mixed reviews.

The company are also known for their outdoor work. Both Parklife and Open House were directed by Orit Azaz, and operate by inviting local amateur and professional performance groups to train in public with NoFit State performers. Barricade, also directed by Azaz, is a large-scale outdoor performance which has played to audiences in the UK and France. The company's most recent outdoor production directed by Azaz is called Open House and combines performance with community engagement.

Since 2006 NoFit State have been running a permanent training space / school in Cardiff. They provide a variety of aerial and ground-based classes for all experience levels, including ropes, silks, aerial hoop, static trapeze, acrobalance and juggling. Their training space also houses Wales' only flying trapeze rig. The company run a successful Youth Circus programme, and students have since gone on to study at Circomedia.

In January 2015, NoFit State was invited to the south of France as a featured company at the first edition of the Biennale Internationale des Arts du Cirque.

On 11 December 2015, the company launched a special 30th anniversary exhibition at its Four Elms building in Adamsdown, Cardiff, as well as a brand new NoFit State E-Archive, which details the company's 30-year history from juggling club beginnings to acclaimed global success. On the same night, the company's co-founder and one of its creative directors, Ali Williams, announced that she was to step down from her current role with the company later in 2016.

In 2016, the NoFit State celebrates its 30th anniversary. In February it will make its Chinese Premiere performing BIANCO at Queen Elizabeth Stadium in Hong Kong, and later on in May, the company will make its US debut in partnership with St Ann's Warehouse in New York City.


  • Immortal – 2002 – 2006
  • Tabu: 2008 – 2010
  • Labyrinth: 2011
  • Mundo Paralelo: 2012
  • Barricade: 2012
  • Parklife: 2012
  • BIANCO: 2012 – 2015
  • NOODLES: 2013 – 2015
  • Open House: 2013 – 2015
  • Block: 2016 –


  1. ^ Roger Cox. The Scotsman. Retrieved 28 July 2009.
  2. ^ Tony Layton. The British Theatre Guide. Retrieved 28 July 2009.
  3. ^ Donald Hutera. The Times review, duplicated on the NoFit State website. Retrieved 28 July 2009.
  4. ^ NoFit State Circus and Meltdown. Retrieved 28 July 2009.
  5. ^ Lyn Gardner. The Guardian. Retrieved 28 July 2009.
  6. ^ David Jays. The Times. Retrieved 28 July 2009.
  7. ^ Sideshow Circus Magazine. Retrieved 28 July 2009.

External links[edit]