A high-octane spree of physical virtuosity, Backbone tests the limits of strength: physical, emotional, individual and collective. Staged with a deceptively DIY aesthetic and dispensing of trickery and distraction, this is circus that goes straight for the jugular and leaves no viewer unmoved. Backbone is the culmination of all that’s gone before: a celebration of human connectedness and the meaning of strength, its athletic appeal is run through with a conceptual brilliance that elevates it to a new level. At the Fringe this August, The Fountain caught up with Jascha Boyce about the show and the drivers behind it.

TF: You are performing at the Edinburgh Fringe this year, how exciting?  

It’s very exciting! We absolutely love the Edinburgh Fringe. We have performed three seasons of our smaller work, A Simple Space, in the festival so we have spent a lot of time in Edinburgh it almost feels like a home away from home! This year we are bringing our larger scale work, Backbone, to the festival! We can’t wait! 

TF: Backbone certainly sounds interesting, what is the premise? 

Backbone is a group acrobatics and physical theatre work that examines strength in all of its forms; physical, emotional, collective and individual. As strength is intrinsic to acrobatics, the underlying themes of the show can be clear but we also rely upon virtuosic, abstract physicality to demonstrate the importance of strength in everyday life – leaving space for an audiences personal interpretation of the work. 

TF: And what drove the project, where did your influences lie? 

Physical and emotional strength are integral to acrobatics so it is a topic we encounter every single day as physical performers. Initially we brainstormed words that made us feel something or ideas that felt like an integral aspect of our lives and strength was a common thread through all of our thinking. We worked with director, Darcy Grant, to create movement styles and physical pieces that could demonstrate the various types of strength not only vital to an acrobat but also to each and every person. Choosing an idea to explore that encourages honest connection with our audience is at the core of all of our creative processes.  

TF: What are your plans for the Fringe, having been before are there any tips or musts you would offer to first-time performers?/Have you been to the Fringe before, is there anything you are keen to see whilst in Edinburgh? 

Even though we have been to the Edinburgh Fringe three times before this season is looking like it will be out most challenging yet! Backbone is a much larger show than our previous work and we are performing in one of the biggest theatres in the festival so we have many seats to fill! My top tip for getting bums on seats is to get seen as much as possible! During our very first year in Edinburgh on top of doing our stage shows we were performing segments of the show in the street pitches almost everyday and flyering before and after every show. There are so many incredible performances that comes to the festival so making sure the right people see your show early on is vital! Also make sure you see other shows! Edinburgh is the perfect place to connect with other artists. I always leave the festival so incredible inspired to create! 

TF: And what are your future plans beyond Edinburgh this August? 

During August will be the first time Gravity & Other Myths have three different shows all on tour simultaneously! It is a massive step for the company and the beginning of another few years of consistent touring for all of our artists so we have a busy year ahead! But directly after the festival we have a week off so I am heading to lay on a beach in southern Italy to rejuvenate! 

You can see Backbone at the Underbelly, Bristo Square until 26th August at 17:00. For tickets, go to https://tickets.edfringe.com/