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A touching new circus show about disability is coming to The Civic

He Ain’t Heavy is a touching new physical theatre production by Oddly Moving, produced by Turtle Key Arts who last year brought Imbalance to Barnsley.

“An incredibly poignant and intimate portrayal of sibling love. You have to see Grania in action: she is a highly skilled circus performer, storyteller and connector, lighting up the entire stage.” LucyLovesCircus

Using physical theatre, aerial circus, audience interaction and storytelling, performer Grania Pickard tells the story of growing up with her disabled autistic brother Sean. Through puppetry, the audience sees how Sean walks, talks and interacts with the world and how his unique take on life has shaped and influenced the performer.

Speaking about the show, Grania, Oddly Moving Artistic Director and Performer said: “When people ask me about my brother I usually give them the short answer; he has severe learning disabilities, epilepsy and autism. He Ain't Heavy is the long answer. As Sean cannot go on a national tour due to a love of routine and no concept of theatre, we are going to bring him into the room in other ways.”

Speaking about the inspiration to create the show, Grania said: “Sean being different was a quiet certainty that formed who am I but was something I rarely mentioned to others. This show grew out of a desire to explore this as I grew older and reflected more on family and responsibility; in part out of regret that he is unable to attend milestone family events (birthdays, weddings, anniversaries etc) and in part because I became aware that at some point in the future he will become my sole responsibility. This came with the dawning realisation that my experience isn’t unique, that there are thousands of other people quietly going about their days who share my version of normal.”

Grania originally trained as a Dramaturg at Bretton Hall before directing shows for various companies. She attended Circomedia specialising in physical theatre and aerial circus, going on tour internationally. She has devised site-specific aerial performances for the Bristol Shakespeare Festival, Brick Box and Drunken Chorus, alongside performing aerial acts for Circomedia, Circus Fantastic and Circus Malabaristas in Kuwait, Italy and across the UK. Grania established Oddly Moving in 2016.

He Ain’t Heavy is part of Circus 250, which marks 250 years since the first ever circus. More spectacular circus will follow, as The Civic showcases awesome performances of strength, wonder and beauty throughout the year.

He Ain’t Heavy is on at The Civic on Wednesday 3 October at 1:30pm and 7:30pm

Tickets £12 | £10 conc | £8 child

Recommended for 12+