I have been interviewed or discussed in the following publications:
Street Theatre and other outdoor performance Bim Mason
L’Autre Cirque Bernard Begadi, Jean-Pierre Estournet, Sylvie Meunier
The Best of British Women (1993) Best of British publications
Coming of Age, celebrating 21 years of Mela in the UK Irna Qureshi
My own book, Aerialist which will be published in time to celebrate the 250th anniversary of circus in 2018 and launched at the Bradford literature festival in the same year . This has been about ten years in the writing and discusses and describes the following relevant themes;
Artistic process – what makes an artist/why? Creating art, making a show, running a show, making costumes, describing inspirational sources and thought processes. Artistic development enabling moving on post physical performance peak.
Physical journey of a performing artist – the development from childhood through gymnastics and theatre to professional performer, reaching a peak and then decline through ageing, stress and injury.
Cultural/social/political/economic climate which allowed/encourages Skinning the Cat to emerge. A special time in the artistic community in Bradford, certain groups, artists, events coming together. A historic period in the history of circus as contemporary circus emerges and Skinning the Cat leads the way for aerial shows with narrative.
Technical/practical explanations for circus – explaining circus terms, equipment and skills.
Emotional and mental health journey of artist – Specifically around the dangerous life of an aerialist and the falls that happened in Skinning the Cat. Trying to explain the background to the development of mental health problems, how it subtly develops and how it takes effect.
Circus industry/community/performers reaction – inclusion of interviews with relevant artists, audience and members of the circus community; remembering, discussing and reacting to the themes that I write about.
By Rebecca Truman, Chapter 1
Skinning the Cat
|Aerialist – in a circus context means anyone who works in the air using a variety of techniques which includes the trapeze.|
I was a trapeze artist. Technically, I was an aerialist: I flew in the air on a variety of ropes, swivels, fabric, and trapezes, on which I, swung, twisted and balanced. When I was twenty-one I started an all-women trapeze company. We took our name from the traditional trapeze move ‘Skinning the Cat’.
I didn’t think about anything but the trapeze. I was talking trapeze, doing trapeze and dreaming trapeze. It is an all-or-nothing profession. The skin on the palms of my hands was thick with calluses, which I habitually picked at, and my body was shaped by the trapeze: wide shoulders and athletic legs, with a deep indentation on my thigh muscles where the bar pressed into them when I hung in catcher’s position. On show days, the day revolved around the show. And when we had no show, the day revolved around training and preparing for the next round of shows.
My years as an aerialist are divided into before and after the falls. These accidents changed everything; they made me more determined to continue the trapeze, but I was a different person, no longer carefree enough to enjoy the touring lifestyle as a free spirit. Before the falls, I was running wild and fulfilling my fantasies. Afterwards, it all became too real, the near loss of life and the shock and adjustment that followed, changed me.
Complete focus on the rope;
I feel it is a part of me.
I grasp it between my toes and,
as I lift myself off the ground, my second foot takes hold.
Keeping my hands close together,
I pull them towards my chest and flip upside down in one smooth pull.
With a small bounce my body is momentarily weightless,
I bring one leg to join the rope so close that it is like an extra strand.
I strike my first pose and acknowledge the audience.
Staring out into the spotlight,
I gesture dramatically with my free hand then suddenly dive forward.
As I catch the rope the relief from the audience is palpable.