Wild Rumpus open up their woodland for artist residencies, starting with tightrope walker Chris Bullzini

Award-winning arts organisation Wild Rumpus, producers of Just So Festival, Timber Festival and Hinterlands Rural Film Festival, are delighted to announce the re-launch of their artist residency scheme. This autumn they will invite some of the most creative, disruptive and inventive artists in the outdoor arts sector to The Forge, their woodland creation space in Cheshire, for a series of exploratory residency retreats. 

There are lots of opportunities for people to get involved in these week-long adventures, from a masterclass to a Community Day for local volunteers.

The first residency will be hosted by acclaimed tightrope walker and circus artist Chris Bullzini from Saturday 19 to Friday 25 October. Chris has performed all over the world for the past 20 years, including at Wild Rumpus events Just So Festival and A Day at the Lake, and with Cirque de Soleil and Bristol’s The Invisible Circus. He recently performed a jaw-dropping tightrope walk as part of the Quays Festival at MediaCityUK in Salford.

Chris will lead a balance masterclass (Sunday 20 - Monday 21 October, tickets £50) as part of his residency. Drawing on mindfulness techniques as well as physical exercises on a real tightwire, Chris will invite participants to explore ideas which can be played out in a performance space. No previous experience is required but the workshop may be of more interest to those with some experience of circus, yoga or dance and those with an interest in meditation and/or performance. The masterclass will be followed by a simple shared supper, drinks and conversation around the campfire. Participants can stay overnight in a Wild Rumpus caravan on the evening of the masterclass.

Chris will also host one of Wild Rumpus’ regular free Culture Sessions, a monthly gathering of the cultural curators who are shaping arts activity across Cheshire. He will lead a discussion about circus performance and his work followed by an open conversation around the campfire (Sunday 21 October, 5pm - 7pm, free).

Wild Rumpus regularly welcome local groups and volunteers into their woodland home for Community Days so that people can learn about the work that they do, take part in some practical skills and training, and generally lend a helping hand. Wild Rumpus will host a Community Day on Friday 25 October as part of Chris’ residency. Participants will be able to meet Chris and participate in a 1-2 hour practical session based on his work. Community Days are open to all, with no expectation of experience in the arts. (Friday 25 October, 10am - 2pm with a break for a packed lunch, free).

During each residency, Wild Rumpus will be inviting a cohort of emerging artists to spend three days working with the resident artist in an Industry Lab. Feeding into a future Wild Rumpus event or activity, participants will work together to explore an idea, learn a skill or create something incredible. The specific content of the lab will emerge from the interests of the individuals taking part, guided and supported by the resident artist. This element of the residency is by invitation only. 

The Forge residencies are supported by Arts Council England through project funding, The Peter Sowerby Foundation, Cheshire East Council and Cultural Destinations. Further artist residencies will be announced in the near future. 

Ticketing information:

All events will take place at The Forge, School Wood, Lunts Moss, Scholar Green, Cheshire, ST7 3QJ.

Chris Bullzini masterclass
Sunday 20 October, 12pm - Monday 21 October, 10am
£50 per person, includes supper and overnight stay
Tickets must be booked in advance at www.wildrumpus.org.uk/event/masterclass-chris-bullzini

Culture Session
Monday 21 October, 5pm - 7pm
Tickets must be booked in advance at www.wildrumpus.org.uk/event/culture-session-11-chris-bullzini

Community Day
Friday 25 October, 10am - 12pm
Bring a packed lunch


Rowan Hoban and Sarah Bird, Directors of Wild Rumpus, said:

“We can’t wait to re-launch our artist residencies here at The Forge, starting with the wonderful Chris Bullzini. The artists can use the week to work on their skills, perhaps creating a new show, installation or artwork. We work from the woodland year round and find that being so immersed in nature inspires you in a different way to working in a studio space or a theatre. We hope that our visiting artists will love working in the woods as much as we do!

We’ll be hosting some of the most inspiring artists working in the outdoor arts sector today, and we’re really excited to be able to invite people to come and learn from the resident artists whilst they’re with us. We can’t wait to see what they create together.” 

Chris Bullzini said:

“It’s a love of balance combined with a desire to give people the opportunity to look up from the floor and see something different that keeps me on the wire. It’s been more than 20 years now, I’ve been making my way in the world using performance as my medium. For over a decade I travelled all over, tying a slack rope between trees and lamp posts, seeking masters to train with as well as performing for everyone from street kids to royalty.” 

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