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The Ramshackle House - Stratford Circus Arts Centre

Photo by Mark Robson

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

UPSWING are presenting The Ramshackle House at Stratford Circus Arts Centre – from December 4 to December 24, 2017.

Following a critically acclaimed UK tour of their award-winning family show Bedtime Stories, Upswing create a tale of a family creating, building, inventing and reinventing to achieve their goal of living happily and safely together.

Reflecting a world on the cusp of big change, the bright and growing young family use all their skill and ingenuity to keep their rickety house together in a show about solving problems and never giving up.

Three multi-skilled circus artists – Delia Ceruti, Renato Dias and Matthew Smith – will balance, climb, juggle, swing, slide and swoop to tell the story of the family’s ups and downs and, with a little bit of pluck and courage, things will turn out right in the end.

A tale without words, The Ramshackle House makes us consider the dynamics of family life and how adults and children help each other negotiate the changes that are within our influence and those that are beyond our control.

The show has been created and developed with families across the U.K to tell a story which audiences can relate to, reflecting contemporary society today. A diverse, international cast who are experts in aerial, acrobalance, rope and trapeze have been selected to perform in The Ramshackle House, carefully chosen to represent a multi-talented and multi-cultural Britain.

Upswing’s Artistic Director, Vicki Amedume, said: “I wanted to make a show that speaks fluently to both adults and children. So we have decided to make a piece of work with no words but rather uses movement, humour and tenderness to celebrate family life even through the complexity and instability we can, at times, feel in the world around us. We want the show to touch on these challenging themes but at the same time be full of the joy, thrills, excitement and danger that we look for in circus.”

Upswing, a diverse led contemporary circus company founded by Vicki Amedume in 2004, are committed to exploring relevant and thought-provoking themes across all their work. The Ramshackle House will explore big questions in a way that is fun and accessible, living up to Upswing’s reputation as a creator of high quality theatre for families. The Ramshackle House is the second instalment of Building Stories, Pushing Boundaries, a project seeking to develop new audiences for contemporary circus.

Upswing also provide classes and consultancy for companies including the National, the Royal Shakespeare Company and Cameron Mackintosh, for whom they supplied performers as well consultancy for Barnum. In 2015, Upswing were awarded the Family Art Festival ‘Best Family Event Award’ in the Get Creative Family Art Festival.

International award-winning set designer Becky Minto, who recently won the Silver Award for Space Design at the World Stage Design Awards 2017, is creating the scenic world for Upswing’s production. Her set design for The Ramshackle House promises to be both striking and bold, with a power to truly illuminate this story’s narrative whilst providing all sorts of intriguing and astonishing challenges and opportunities for Upswing’s artists to curiously explore and share their circus skills.

The Ramshackle House has been selected to be this year’s Full Hearts Full Tummies show. Full Hearts Full Tummies is Stratford Circus Arts Centre’s campaign to offer a magical Christmas treat to families in Newham who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford a seasonal treat. Last year, hundreds of disadvantaged children and their parents enjoyed a hot meal and a ticket to a family show for just £1.

The Ramshackle House is suitable for ages 3+.

Production images.

Tickets: £12 – £10. To book, call the box office on 0844 357 2625 or visit

Times: December 4 – 16: Monday to Friday at 10.30am and 1.30pm (no performance Friday, December 15), Saturday at 11am and 2pm; December 17 – 24: Tuesday to Sunday at 11am and 2pm.

Running Time: 50 minutes.

Stratford Circus Arts Centre, Theatre Square, Stratford, London, E15 1BX