Interview With…Michelle Ross

The performer chats to LLLC’s Emma Clarendon about starring in No  Show at the Soho Theatre from the 22nd January. 

(c) Chris Hoyle.

For those who don’t know what is ‘No Show’ all about? No Show is about the reality behind being a circus artist. We explore the experience of being a performer within the industry, from the good to the bad. Quite often we will spend weeks, months or years trying to learn tricks or moves and only when they are good enough, we put them on stage. Often during that process of learning, we fall and we fail, over and over again. No Show lends you a window into this world, to listen to what we have to say, as we show you what it has taken for us to get here.

What were your first impressions of the show when you first heard about it? I thought the show would be much more serious than it turned out. I really enjoyed the thought of being able to share my experiences with others, mainly non-circus folk who might have otherwise not got to see the extent of the work put in ‘behind the scenes’. Also, I think as a circus artist it is refreshing to be able to put into perspective all of the strange requests we sometimes have – some that are funny, some that are pure ridiculous and some that are demeaning – and to bring those to the foreground.

There seems to be a real focus on striving for perfection in ‘No Show’ – do you think society as a whole puts too much pressure on all of us to be ‘perfect’? Yes, far too much so. We are a cast of five women and in particular I think we feel the pressure to have the perfect bodies, whilst still being able to be strong, flexible and also technically capable of doing all of the skills that we do. The same goes for general circus technique – we all want to learn more and more skills because we want to be the best we can possibly be. I think this is a mirror on what happens in society as a whole, everyone wants to be one step ahead of where they are now and when they get there, they still want to be one step ahead of that. This is what it’s like in Circus – there is always someone who is seen as better, stronger, more flexible, more original, more talented, and the list could go on.

What was it that made you want to be involved with the show? I think the show is important – especially for young women/girls – who may be struggling with the way body image and success are portrayed on social media and the likes, and I wanted to be involved to bring that to life. It feels important to get to have our say and stand together as circus artists whilst doing so.

How would you describe the show? It’s fun, informative and honest.

What can audiences expect from the production? Expect us to welcome you in and entertain you. To learn that we are not all as perfect as we might seem. You will see us succeed, but you will also be there as we fail, fall and decide to get back up and try again.

By Emma Clarendon

No Show will play at the Soho Theatre from the 22nd January until the  9th February.  

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