Photo: Simon Richardson


Maddie McGowan is a performer, aerialist, theatre-maker based in Bristol. Highly versatile and immaginative, her work is driven by a curiosity to expand her creative practice of mixing skillful, innovative aerial with a broad range of performances styles, and a desire to make intelligent, truthful and raucous theatrical work.

She has performed in site-specific, immersive, roving, ensemble, devised, large-scale, outdoor and cross-disciplinary productions, as well as festivals, cabaret, traditional touring circus, children's shows and her own self-led projects. She is known for her quirky, poetic style in the air, and an ability to imbue aerial sequences with beauty and poignancy as well as daring.



Photo: Rachele Porto 

Maddie trained at the National Centre for Circus Arts (formerly The Circus Space) in London, and in physical theatre/Nouveau Cirque at the Scuola di Teatro di Bologna, Italy, and Drama BA at the University of Bristol.

Primarily a rope (corde lisse) artist, Maddie frequently undertakes playful research to find new vocabulary in the air. Additional circus skills include silks, trapeze, hoop, double rope, double trapeze, web-spin, counterweighting and harness work. Other performance skills include physical theatre, movement, and puppetry.



          Above: With Talia Randall in Expectation.                                                      Photo: Ben Hopper 

 Recent performances have included Expectation for Roundhouse Circus Fest 2014, an immersive and surreal meeting of aerial and spoken word directed by Silvia Mercuriali; The Second Breath, film and performance for Stumble Dance Circus; Out of Time, circus-theatre and puppetry for family audiences with Sideways Arts; Something to Hold, Pif Paf Theatre, directed by Kevin Finnan (Motionhouse) 2013 Without Walls tour. In October 2014 Maddie started developing a new solo piece called Grandma's Hands. She is keen to engage in projects and collaborations of all shapes and sizes that stimulate, challenge and provide a platform for playful creation.


 Above: In Say What You Like... National Theatre's Watch This Space festival


In 2012 Maddie was awarded a travel bursary from the Lisa Ullman's travel scholarship to fund a research project to Pune, India. Here, Maddie organised and undertook a skills exchange with Parag Vartek, a champion performer of rope Mallakamb, a traditional competitive and gymnastic form of rope work. It was a fascinating exchange and sharing of technique and cultures.


Maddie is a very experienced teacher and arts educational practitioner. As a freelance drama and circus facilitator she regularly writes and leads workshops for companies such as English Break (Rimini, Italy), and Eastside Educational Trust. She teaches circus skills to children and adults at Circomedia (Bristol). She is also a lead trainer with Circus Kathmandu having been out to Nepal to work on this social circus project for two sessions. Maddie supported the programme in it's early phase, teaching contemporary circus skills to survivors of childhood trafficking.




Above: Performing with Off The Wall, Circus Next/Jeunes Talents Cirque selection in Zagreb, 2010