New Futures: Harvey Aylmer

Welcome to the second instalment of our New Futures blog series. This series showcases interviews with participants who performed in SparkFest 2023. We will be delving into their creative practices, future plans, and goals, as well as the necessary steps they'll take to achieve them.

Today, we have the pleasure of speaking with Harvey Aylmer, an emerging circus producer and director, who premiered The Ringmaster at the festival earlier this year.

Hi Harvey! Can you briefly introduce your creative practice? 

Well, my creative practice all begins with where I work. I can only be creative if the environment around me is. Whether that be in my garden where I am surrounded by the blossoming flowers, or my desk which is filled with posters, interviews, and lots of colour!

Once I have an initial idea, (which usually comes from having writer’s block on another project) I brainstorm with what’s inside my head. Getting all of my ideas onto the page, means I can expand on what I’m happy with.

The themes I find myself inspired by are memories from my childhood. In every show I write, there has to be an element of magic. The kind of magic I have experienced from going to the theatre. I want people to feel the same way as I do. I’ve always loved exploring interwoven stories throughout as well. Working out how different stories can work their way into an original plot is a fun challenge!

Reflecting on your journey as a creative practitioner so far, what are some moments that you’re particularly proud of?

A highlight for me was talking on BBC Radio earlier this year. I loved sharing my story to a wider audience. Although I was very nervous at the time, looking back, it is something I am very proud of. It didn’t help at the time knowing all of my family was listening!

Usually on a production you have a team of people working on different segments of the show. On The Ringmaster we only had a few people all working together to make this show possible. A challenge I took on, and one I’m proud of, was designing our set. World creating has always been my favourite process when putting on a show. Right back to when I produced my first at 10! I was designing, constructing, and painting sets – so this came naturally.

What challenges or obstacles did you encounter staging The Ringmaster?

Challenges arise daily when you’re in the production process of a show. But I believe it is how you adapt to the situation which is important. When rehearsing this year we had a few problems crop up with some people who were going to be helping, but eventually dropped out. With being down on members of the team, I had to put on my producer’s hat and just look at different ways to move forward.

When you’re a one man band, lessons get learnt very quickly, as you are going into most situations blind. A main lesson I have learnt would be to start elements of a project earlier than I planned too. Once rehearsals start you don’t have time for anything. When building up to that time understanding how to prioritise is key.

What are some of the key goals or aspirations you have for the next stage of  your artistic development?

With this being the very start to my professional career in the industry, the aim for next year will be to expand on different productions that I have written. With any production I produce, the themes whether that be theatrical or circus, need to remain based on what I experienced when I was a child – magic! 

I have always believed that I have experienced magic in my life and through the eye of a child it is just mesmerising. When coming up with different ideas, I put myself back into those younger shoes. The aim is to make the impossible possible and for the audience to believe what is happening on stage.

In order to reach the next stage in your career what do you feel you need to focus on?

I think my circus! I need to be looking into that really. I want to be making tiny steps now to achieve bigger goals in the future. I need to keep working on projects and using the resources that are close. This will allow me to leave university with a clearer mindset and a strategy plan for my future.

Recently, I have been working really hard on a project which I am very proud of. Without giving too much away, since June 2022, I have been having meetings and working away on something which should hopefully give something to my name. With dreaming and manifesting every night –  I’ve got my fingers crossed!

Who would like to collaborate with in the future?

A very long term collaboration artist that I would like to work with is Carrie Hope Fletcher. I think she is incredible and I would love to create a role for her in one of my shows. I have been lucky enough to see her perform 3 times.

What advice or insights would you share with aspiring creatives?

I think (within reason) it is quite easy to get ahead of yourself with everything. Don’t compare yourself to what someone else is doing – this is a bit of advice for myself. Go at your own pace and if there is a dream you want to achieve, make a plan and work from there.

Asking for help is the first bravest step. When you’re going into an intense industry, it is important to ask for it. No one knows everything and there will always be someone who is willing to help. I have found, if you are looking to produce, taking small steps to achieve your goal is the first thing. I always say small steps are better than no steps. Look at who you have around you and work from that.

What’s next for you?

I don’t want to give too much away but…The Ringmaster will be returning in 2024! Just keep your eyes peeled later in the year.


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Harvey’s Instagram

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Posted by the SparkFest team.