Friday, June 24, 2011 - 16:34

Hailing from countries as far flung as Argentina and Australia, the cast of the Eden Project’s amazing new summer show will feature some of the world's finest circus performers.

The full cast of Labyrinth will arrive at the project next month (July) to start rehearsing for the spectacular evening show to be performed in and around the Biomes over 21 nights from July 29.

It is being devised and staged by the UK’s leading large-scale contemporary circus company NoFit State, who fuse jaw-dropping aerial acrobatics with surreal circus stunts and live music and dance.

Using the entire project as a stage, the international circus performers will move among the audience and overhead on flying trapezes, swings, cradles, tightwires and hoops.

Labyrinth will be the first time Eden has hosted an evening show throughout the summer holidays. It has been written and devised by critically-acclaimed director Firenza Guidi to mark the project's 10th birthday year. Hailed as the future of British circus, NoFit State are described as "Cirque du Soleil without the Disney and the disinfectant."

The cast of Labyrinth were recently selected by NoFit State from nearly 200 hopefuls at an audition in the Belgian capital, Brussels.

Among the stars of the show are:

Marcella Manzilli, performer
Born in south Italy, Marcella Manzilli is an accomplished international clown and circus performer. When she realised that making people laugh was her biggest joy she decided to make it her work and has not stopped since. She specialises in flying trapeze and one of her prestigious clowning teachers is Labyrinth’s director Firenza Guidi. In addition to her circus work Marcella has performed her solo comedy static trapeze act ‘Miss Glamour’ internationally at cabarets and festivals, including Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain in Paris.

Shaena Brandel, performer

Shaena is an aerialist and circus performer who has been performing for 13 years all over the world, from Mumbai to Latvia. This included five years touring with NoFit State Circus performing in the award-winning shows Immortal and Tabú. Shaena has featured in three films and has also appeared as a fallen angel at the Tate Modern, a tropical bird at Legoland, and a human mirror ball in Egypt. She has appeared in adverts on the front of the Roundhouse in London and all over the London Underground.

Vanina Fandiño, performer
Vanina was born in Rosario, Argentina, and worked with the Argentinian company Circo Volante. In 2002 she moved to Belgium, where she created the company Circo Fantasma, which toured in street festivals throughout Europe. It was while at "Espace Catastrophe" in Brussels that she discovered her tight wire skills. She continued her creative work and joined NoFit State Circus on their Tabú tour from 2008 to 2010. Last winter she joined the Helsinki Winter Circus in Finland.

Lyndall Merry, performer
Starting out with traditional circuses from Norwich to New Zealand, Lyndall is highly trained in swinging trapeze and began his training at Circomedia in Bristol where he gained inspiration and first experiences of flying. Lyndall works with Labyrinth co-star Freya Watson to produce a strong and unique style in doubles static trapeze. He is also a skilled artist in performance rigging with some of his harness shows including The Winter Olympics Opening Ceremonies in Vancouver, and X-Factor for Sony Music.

Howie Morley, performer
Born in Sheffield, Howie had no formal training in circus but developed a huge passion for the art after seeing Norman Barrett and his performing budgies in the Great Yarmouth Hippodrome in 1973. He originally volunteered for Nofit State as a scaffolder, ending up with a large role in a show. Since then he has been putting up the big top, loading lorries, entertaining the crowds and travelling the world with NoFit State, culminating in a headline performance at Montreal's first ever festival of circus and a sell-out run at the Edinburgh Festival. His speciality is eccentric characterisation combined with the classic circus skills of balance and manipulation.

Firenza Guidi, director

Milan-born Firenza Guidi is an independent theatre/circus and film director, writer and visual artist who developed NoFit State's style of performance through the award-winning shows, Immortal and Tabú. She trained as a performer with international theatre and circus masters such as Dario Fo, Philippe Gaulier, Enrique Pardo and Ida Kelarova, and as an actress and singer at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. She founded Elan (European Live Arts Network) and runs a creative centre from an old olive press in Tuscany, Italy. For the past two decades she's been developing her unique style of training and performance creating small and large-scale shows throughout Europe and beyond. The vision for each show is that the audience plays a part in the artistic process rather than simply watching from afar.

Labyrinth producer Tom Rack said: "Eden is a dream venue for our immersive style of circus. We've assembled an international company of world-class performers, and we're delighted to be working once again with Italian director Firenza Guidi, with whom we created the award-winning shows Immortal and Tabu.

"This is going to be one spectacular, jaw-dropping and amazing show in, above and all over the fantastic architecture, landscape and inspirational space that is Eden.

We can't wait to get there and add our magic to that of Eden. Together we will blow the audiences minds, win their hearts and touch their souls."

Labyrinth performance nights are:

• Previews: Friday 29 and Saturday 30 July
• Tuesday 2 - Friday 5 August
• Tuesday 9 - Friday 12 August
• Tuesday 16 - Friday 19 August
• Tuesday 23 - Monday 29 August

Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays: doors open 6pm, performances start at 8pm and finish at 10.30pm

Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays: doors open 4pm, performances start at 6pm and finish at 8.30pm

For more information on Labyrinth, go to