Gratte Ciel's Stéphane Girard on bringing angels to WOMADelaide

An interview with Stéphane Girard as Place des Anges arrives in Botanic Park

feature (adelaide) | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 01 Mar 2018

Today our eyes often focus on footpaths and phones, but Gratte Ciel’s Place des Anges encourages us to look up and transform our relationship with familiar places.

Created by Stéphane Girard and Pierrot Bidon, Place des Anges is an aerial spectacle arriving at WOMADelaide. The performance will feature angel-like acrobats performing in Botanic Park. Their white feathers will, Girard says, make a fascinating contrast against the night sky. Girard explains the show as a “storm of love” but these graceful angels are far from ordinary. They more like "characters from the circus."

For 25 years Gratte Ciel have been developing techniques to push new limits and spaces with circus. Place des Anges has been performed many times around the world. But this string of performances, Girard explains, will be “completely different.” Trading buildings for trees, WOMADelaide will be the first time Place Des Anges performs in park lands. Girard and his team are excited for the challenge and opportunity to perform in among nature and with “a new energy”. The team have been planning and preparing for months, tackling the logistics the new space brings and constructing the set.

Making the performance appear seamless is credit to a multiskilled team consisting of technicians, climbers, circus performers and dancers. Although the whole idea for Place des Anges came about as a "big joke", says Girard. But, after their first minimalistic show the audience reactions inspired him and Bidon to develop the concept further.

Now paired with world music, the performance boasts 32 crew members. This includes not only 16 acrobats, but also meters of zip lines and one tonne of feathers. The feathers meet strict European regulations regarding animal welfare and will be composted after the shows.

"It's more than a show, it's really an experience [which] speaks of love and tenderness," says Girard. He hopes as people stroll into Botanic Park in the future memories of the performance will always return, giving new meaning to the space.

Place des Anges, WOMADelaide, 9-12 Mar, various times/prices