Light Night: Tabletop circus – The making

by am109145

Leeds Light Night is a annual art events festival in the city centre of Leeds that takes place on the first Friday in the October month. The event celebrates the array of artistic talent across Leeds in the form of ‘installations to street theatre, music, theatre, performance, film, dance, circus, exclusive exhibitions, family friendly activities, making & doing, music & storytelling’.

Across the city centre there are buildings, museums, art galleries and open spaces exhibiting work, interactive games, stalls and an array of activities alike for the whole family. The event itself begins at around 5pm and runs through the evening up until around 10-11pm, public are encouraged to enjoy and interact with the cities artistic and cultural event throughout the evening which is kindly supported by the Leeds City Council and institutions in the centre.

A couple of snaps from this years event (2013):




As apart of being a student at the Leeds College of Art (a participating institutions within the city) we were set a ‘light night brief’ in which thats mean that we are to be involved in running one of the 50 events at light night this year (2013). This years theme at Light Night is ‘The night time circus’. Being divided into groups of x4 year two students and x2 year one students, we collectively as a group have to produce and deliver, create and run and essentially showcase a circus themed tabletop activity, this should be done through using scrap recycled materials (which fulfils our Vis Com ethos of making the world a better place) along with painting equipment and materials alike.

The Group:

– Me (year 2)

-Bhakti Mistry (year 2)

-Joanna Buttercase (year 2)

– Becky (year 2)

-Vicky (year1)

-Issy (year1)

Initial idea’s:


(A spider diagram of some of our initial ideas)

After getting together in a group and introducing ourselves to the year one student who have recently joined the College we sat down and made a spider diagram of initial idea’s we could possibly go ahead with. Some of our ideas consisted of the stereotypical props, animals and events a circus portrays such as puppet shows and coconut shy game etc. However after writing down all of our idea’s we decided to try and incorporate an element of each idea on the diagram into one, which resulted in the decision of ‘Elefantastic’ being the name of our tabletop interactive game.


In a nutshell elefantastic is a racing game which requires a track to follow, a ball to control around the track and a hand made elephant to control  the ball. The aim of the game is to beat your competitor to the end of the track and pot your ball into the circus doorway located at the end, this is done by using the handmade elephants to take your ball around the obstacles and bridges encountered on the track.

Designing/producing the props for the game:

Collective work – Together as a group of 6 we started the production process of making the props by working together to paint the balls for the game. We each took two balls each to decorate and personalise in a circus themed manner. We decided to start the production/making together as it would be motivating to work in a team around a table in the morning to get our creative juices flowing before moving onto bigger tasks that required distribution to individuals.





After we had completed this I decided to suggest we distribute tasks amongst ourselves in order to make sure we were working efficently within the time period we were given in the workshop. One everyone was happy with there designated task we then worked around a table throughout the afternoon to complete all props. A list of tasks that were distributed to each team member are listed below:

Me – Producing ‘Elefantastic signage’

Bhakti & Jo – Making track

Becky – Pop up doorway for end of track

Issy & Vicky – x6 elephants.

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My Role:

As I was the one of the people working alone the first steps I decided to take in order to produce successful signage was to research circus signage on the  internet and also in a couple of books from the library, along with looking at circus signage in general I decided to venture into and browse at some different types of hand drawn type I could use that would be appropriate. Once doing so I then drew out a rough copy of my idea into my sketchbook and seeked the advice and constructive criticism from my fellow group members. After doing so I produced the design on a large scale using the appropriate materials.

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Finished studio piece ready to be taken down to Vernon Street in preparation for Light Night:


Final Preparation:

After having a debrief at the end of the day on the production workshop it was good to hear the year one’s experiance of a collabrituve priject with us second years. After discussing problems we encountered and the success of the day of production of props we then split ourselves into two groups in order to decipher who would set up and run the event for the first part and who would take down the event and run it for the second half.

Group 1: Becky, Issy, Lucy

Group 2: Me, Bhakti, Jo

Evaluation & General feedback points:

As a group we worked incredibly well together on the production side of things during the workshop day. I felt as if the year one student felt comfortable enough to talk to us and engage with the project and we as year two students also felt comfortable talking to them and vice versa when discussing progress throughout the day, in essence we had a great group dynamic and work ethic. Nevertheless we encountered a couple of hiccups throughout the day work-wise, one of them being not knowing whether the size of our track was the correct size and once starting to build it realising it may be a little to big for the designated table space. Although this problem was encountered early on Bhakti & Jo carried on with the production of the track devising a plan that would enable us to cut the track if need be without hindering the game. Another tedious problem we encountered was the lack of white paint available to design our props with, to overcome this problem we managed to seek some white paint from another group who had generously offered there own purchased acrylic paint from the shop. Other than these two problems the workshop ran smoothly and efficiently with the deliverables for the event ready to be taken down to Vernon Street at the end of the day.