Cirque Bijou Senior Producer: Kate Lanciault

Senior Producer with Bristol-based showmaker, Cirque Bijou, Kate Lanciault takes the hot seat to discuss special skills in production, logistics, health and safety, and creative problem solving.

Cirque Bijou Senior Producer, Kate Lanciault.

What sparked your interest in the events sector?

“I have always been interested in behind the scenes of live events – how things are organised and run efficiently. Whenever I go to see a show, I’m always looking at how they do the rigging or thinking about the quick costume changes as much as watching the action.”

How did you get your start at Cirque Bijou?

“I saw a job advertised for an Arts Administrator with Cirque Bijou back in 2010. I applied and had my heart set on working there. However, due to the huge number of applicants and my lack of live events experience, I didn’t get the job. Undeterred, I volunteered one day a week for around eight months, getting involved in as many of the projects as possible. There was later a Company Manager vacancy, which I snapped up.”

How has the company developed over the years?

“Cirque Bijou has grown a lot over the past decade, taking on larger and more ambitious projects in unusual locations like beaches, stadiums, festival sites and mansions. I have developed a passion for all aspects of production by getting involved in as many jobs as possible and shadowing experienced production crew members. As a Senior Producer, it’s now my job to make ideas happen, commissioning, managing, overseeing and realising projects.”

What have been some of your career highlights?

“Production Assistant at the Battle for the Winds at the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012. Production Manager for an aerial crane spectacular to celebrate Malta’s 40th anniversary as a Republic in 2014. And Producer of a series of high wire shows for the Taiwan Lantern Festival 2020, among many other projects.”

With specialities in a range of areas. Does it help to be versatile and ‘juggle’ lots of moving plates at work?

“We are always working on multiple large-scale projects simultaneously and it’s essential to be able to keep lots of balls in the air at the same time. I feel that I have been instrumental in the forging of Cirque Bijou’s sky-high production values.”

How are you keeping busy during lockdown?

“We have been focussing on how to get artists back into rehearsal rooms safely. We’ve also been working closely with Extraordinary Bodies integrated circus company to create digital work, including What Do You See In Me? which was filmed in artists’ homes. It has been important for us to learn a great deal about the complexities of digital collaboration and work that is accessible to everyone. In 2020, we gathered a socially-distanced group of 30 crew and performers and, using LED umbrellas, created a performance, which was filmed by drone. We are also planning to create our own COVID-19 secure touring venue for 2021 – watch this space!”

What advice would you give to industry newcomers or young people at this particularly difficult time?

“Be keen, be helpful, don’t be afraid to ask. Volunteer if you can’t get paid work. Learn on the job. Never stop learning. The best piece of advice I was given when I started was that you don’t get anywhere by resting on your laurels.”

This article originally appeared in issue #257 of TPi, which you can read here.