PREVIEW: Lockdown film by Extraordinary bodies champions diversity

Brian Butler September 28, 2020



Extraordinary Bodies, the professional circus company was about to go into rehearsal for a major UK tour of a new show when Covid 19 hit.

They quickly moved to what they call a “ low-fi” lockdown film as a prequel to their show What Do You See In Me ?”. Filmed in the artists’ homes on mobile phones, it’s written by Hattie Naylor, with an original score by Ted Barnes. The story is of isolated yet interconnected, marginalised lives and told  through physicality, dance and music.

One performer dances with a Dyson, another- pregnant – twists, stretches  and sways against the metal frame of her bed, surrounded by scattered paperwork; a third performs a weightless, aerial display on a pull-up bar in her doorway.

The 12 minute film draws attention to our view of others, the judgements we make and the values we hold as a society. The film seeks to give a glimpse behind the labels we put on people like those  with pre-existing conditions and the  forgotten shielders of this pandemic . It was filmed in Brighton, Leeds, Bristol, London and Munich.


The 9-strong integrated cast includes disabled performer John Kelly and British Sign Language user David Ellington. It’s co-directed by Claire Hodgson and Billy Alwen. Its fundamental question is “ what do you see in me ? “ Judging by the trailer I’ve seen , it’s a very cogent question to ask in our current  too-often  judgemental society .

Extraordinary Bodies is a partnership between circus production company Cirque Bijou and diversity practitioners Diverse City.

You can see the film stream on YouTube from the night of Wednesday 30 September. It’ll make you think.