There's been a lot going on in both here at Circus Rigging and Safety as well as everywhere else in the world. We've been planning the 2021 rigging conference for July and furiously editing our latest guide on Factors of Safety.

2021 Rigging Conference - Technical Symposium

July 6th to 8th online 6pm GMT onwards

We are now ready to launch this years rigging conference, building on the success of last years event. We have sessions planned on the work we've done over the last year in creating guidance on Factors of Safety and rigging at home. We'll cover some of the force test data we have collated and show what we have learned. We will also have some special guests who can give us some new creative ideas and concepts to work with.

In addition we will have an open session discussion for Scottish artists, teachers and venues.

Photo by Alex Smith / Unsplash

Last years programme took place over an entire day in a time before anyone had ever heard of zoom fatigue. This time we are splitting our sessions up over three days which allows us a little more space and time to breathe.

The line up so far:

  • Understanding Factors of Safety - Chris Higgs, Ryan Watson & Mark Gibson
  • Force Testing Database - Mark Gibson
  • Stunt Rigging for Circus Acts - Brett Copes
  • Rigging Structures - TBC
  • Schools & Training Spaces - TBC
  • Open Discussion Session - Scottish artists, schools and venues

There will be more details to come as soon as we can tie them down! I'll be creating a conference page and asking for some help promoting it in the next few days. I'll send out a conference specific newsletter in the next week. In the meantime please save the date.

This event will be free for paying members or £25 for everyone else. Please spread the word.

Understanding Factors of Safety

After a lot of really hard work we are ready to publish the first draft of our guidance on factors of safety. The guide is designed for riggers and is an in-depth technical guide.

A fire dancing demon entertains the Halloween celebrators during the "Awakening of the Walls."
Photo by K. Mitch Hodge / Unsplash

It's currently published for full members only. This is to allow a review period to get your feedback before we spread this to a wider audience. We want to take a relatively cautious approach to putting advice out there.

The guide begins by laying out the basics of factors of safety in the lifting industry then looks at what needs to be taken into account regarding acrobatic forces. The last section proposes how to create rules of thumb to help calculate the right Design Load for different scenarios.

Take a look here and let us know what's good, what's not and if we missed anything. We need your input.

Aerial Edge's New Venue

The latest news from Aerial Edge that I am very excited about is that we have agreed the heads of terms on a new venue for our school in Glasgow.

Cath & Scott have spent a lot of time and effort finding a great space while I was away. We are now busy drawing up the plans to take us through our next 14 years, but this time in our very own space. It'll be great to feel we are no longer living on borrowed time.

In the meantime I have been learning a whole lot about how to create and design an aerial studio. There is a lot more to get stuck into this time than many projects I've worked on before. We would usually just contract a structural engineer and away we would go. This time however, there's a lot of commercial property law and building regulations to figure out. Architects, solicitors, planning permission, building control.....!

We are going to pack a lot of different circus arts and circus tech into our new space. I can't wait to give you a guided tour!

From Goa to Glasgow

After an incredible few months the circus season in Goa came to an end and we spent the rest of April packing away the circus.

At the hottest time of the year the team banded together to perform all the equipment checks, dismantle our lovely new stage, then get all of the equipment monsoon-proofed and stored inland.

Before I left I did finally make the time to get some training in coconut tree climbing from Robert the local expert and professional bare foot arborist who had me practicing his tricks of the trade. Working at height with nothing but a rolled up cement sack for protection.

It became obvious at by the end of April that the pandemic had exploded out of control in India and cases had started to increase in Goa too. If I wanted to make it back to Scotland to take on our new venue I would need to leave before everything was locked down.

The devastation in many other parts of India has been terrible and has affected the lives of so many people, friends and colleagues. We were so fortunate to have had a complete season without any incidents before India's second wave came crashing down.

The last few weeks for me have been spent navigating multiple RT-PCR tests, jumping between different states and different lockdowns. I finally made it back to the UK and into quarantine at Heathrow airport.

This last six months has been a creative experience as well as a learning experience. It has opened up a world of new friends with expertise in things I never knew existed. I can't wait to go back!