An Interview with Brainfools: creators of circus show ‘Lucky Pigeons’

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A woman in a blue long-sleeve shirt and purple pants balances on the shoulders of a person in a yellow shirt wearing a bird-like mask. Two others, also wearing bird masks, in green and red shirts, support her. They are outdoors on a grassy field with trees in the background.
Lucky Pigeons

Offering up an lively performance for the entire family, the renowned circus company Brainfools is hitting the road with their vibrant production, Lucky Pigeons! With refined contemporary circus techniques and captivating charm, this is a show we needed to learn more about...

Hey team, what’s Lucky Pigeon all about? What makes for a good family-friendly circus?

Lucky Pigeons is a modern fairytale featuring giant pigeons, a struggling hero, and loads of acrobatics. It tells a surreal fable about the pecking order of urban society, using pigeons as a metaphor for marginalised groups. A good family-friendly circus combines thrilling stunts with humour and heartwarming stories, creating an engaging experience that delights both children and adults. It's a real feather in our cap!

What influences did Brainfools lean into when conceptualizing Lucky Pigeon? Were there particular circus performances, storie

We were inspired by the harsh reality in London, where people are marginalised and sometimes treated in dehumanising ways. We noticed that pigeons are treated similarly and wanted to use them as a metaphor to address this in a fun, uplifting way. Influences include classic circus performances, modern dance, and abstract storytelling, blending these elements to highlight social themes while entertaining our audience. We aim to ruffle some feathers in the best way possible! 

A man in a white shirt with a red bow tie sits in the foreground, looking surprised. Behind him, four people wearing colorful bird costumes, complete with detailed masks and feathered collars, strike dramatic poses on a dimly lit stage with a dark, industrial backdrop.
Brainfools’ Lucky Pigeons

It would be great to hear more about how minds can be stimulated through circus?

Circus stimulates minds by being a vehicle to combine visual spectacle with thoughtful theatrical narratives. In 'Lucky Pigeons,' we use acrobatics, surreal imagery, and metaphor to explore social themes like empathy and marginalisation. By engaging audiences with both dazzling performances and meaningful messages, we hope to spark reflection and inspire change.

Your show will be exhibiting some serious modern circus skills; what does the training look like for the performers involved?

Our training regimen is intense and multifaceted. Our performers spend hours each day honing their individual skills, from acrobatics to dance. We also conduct group training sessions to synchronise our acts and plan our performances. This rigorous preparation ensures that we deliver top-notch, cohesive shows every time we perform.

Two street performers, wearing whimsical bird costumes with oversized eyes and colorful frills, juggle white balls in front of a mural depicting tennis players in action. The background consists of urban buildings and onlookers watching the performance.
Lucky Pigeons

What’s caught your eye in the UK culture scene recently?

We absolutely love it when the lines between theatre, dance, opera, ballet and circus are blurred. A great example is Tess' by Ockham's Razor, which creatively combines these art forms. Such innovative crossovers in the arts inspire us and reflect the dynamic and evolving nature of the UK cultural scene.

Learn more about Lucky Pigeons here.