Founders of Joli Vyann, Olivia Quayle and Jan Patzke speak to Theatrefullstop about premiering their latest work, 'Stateless' at London International Mime Festival 2015!


Founded in 2012 by performers Olivia Quayle and Jan Patzke, ‘Joli Vyann’ have gone from strength to strength. Their fusion of circus skills, dance and theatre have seen the company win the admiration of audiences, and they continue to push the boundaries with their imaginative works. Ahead of their performance of Stateless at next year’s International Mime Festival, Theatrefullstop were able to speak to the founders about collaborating with choreographer Florence Caillon, their inspirations for the piece and who they are looking forward to watching at the festival!

Hello Joli Vyann! This is your first time performing at the London International Mime Festival, what are you most excited about?

We are really excited to be apart of this prestigious festival and to have the opportunity to showcase our work to an international audience.

Stateless covers Immigration and refugees, what drew your company to this topic?

This is a very topical subject and we were very interested to make a political piece. We feel that the subject of immigration is often spoken about broadly along with all the problems associated with it and we wanted to delve into the subject on a more personal and human level. Jan grew up on the East / West border of Germany with a clear image of a broken bridge in the middle of the river, stopping people from crossing the border. He was particularly fascinated with the extremes people go to in order to cross these borders and the risks they take. This led us into more research about the individual people, their stories and their physical and emotional journeys.

How does Stateless, differ to your two previous shows H2H and Don’t Drink and Dance?

Stateless is very different in many ways. It is our first indoor show and so it has the subtleties and sophistication of lighting and an intimate and focused environment. It is also the first time we have had a set designed and had original score composed for us specifically for the show. DDAD is a comedy piece and H2H has comedic and light hearted moments, alongside more thought provoking moments. However, Stateless involves real people and their experiences and so the emotional content is much higher. Using voices from refugees we have spoken to makes the piece genuine and real. For us the process was much more emotive and poignant than with DDAD and H2H due to the subject matter and way we worked with Florence Caillon, who focused a lot of our energy on intention and character. The difference in process reflects between the pieces.

The styles you work with are very physically demanding, how much training do your rehearsals involve?  Talk us through a typical day with Joli Vaynn .

We train a lot! When we are in a creation process we start the day with an hour and a half class (45 mins dance warm up and 45 mins acrobatic warm up). We then do an 8 hour day where we set creative tasks, improvisation tasks, teach material and play with new acrobatic language. When we are not in a creation period we train in both dance and acrobatics by going to professional dance class, teaching our own class and training our acrobatics to gain new skills for the next creation.

In your opinion why do you feel circus and dance is a good medium to explore these topics?

Dance is very expressive and is a great medium to interpret the words we have gathered from refugees. Dance movement captures the emotion of the situation and the acrobatic language helps to emphasise the vulnerability, fear and courage that we have found in the people we have talked to. The mixture of the two makes this complex subject accessible to an audience of huge diversity.

You collaborated with choreographer Florence Caillon for this project, how was this experience?

Working with Florence has been insightful and hugely rewarding. She worked with us mainly through improvisation tasks and placing us in circumstances useful to our topic. She worked very much on movement quality and intention and supported this by creating  a certain mood through the music she composed. It was great to have such an experienced outside eye.

What else are you excited to see at the Mime Festival?

It’s a great programme so we want to see as much as we can! We are excited to see Gecko, Company 111, Oktobre and also friends of ours, BMT with ‘Bromance’ ​

Interview by Lucy Bishop.

Joli Vyann will premiere their new show Stateless at the London International Festival 2015. For more information on the production, and the festival, visit here…

Written by Theatrefullstop