War and Peace @ the Circus

Giffords Circus’ sensational 2011 adaptation of Tolstoy’s War and Peace @ the Circus toured England and Wales for 5 months. A fantastic 15 piece live band drove the action with an original and vibrant score by Sarah Llewellyn.

Produced and designed by Nell Gifford
Directed by Irina Brown
Music and Musical Direction by Sarah Llewellyn
Choreography by Fleur Darkin
Lyrics by Kit Hesketh Harvey
Creative musical assistant Karen Hutt

The spectacular & thrilling 2011 Tolstoy’s War and Peace re-imagined by Giffords Circus toured around the beautiful countryside of the South West and Wales to packed audiences, driven by Sarah’s original, vibrant and relentless score and performed by Giffords’ uncompromising fifteen piece live band.

The show enjoyed a world-class performance company of 60 including Tweedy the Clown, Ethiopian Jugglers Bibi and Bichu, a sublime hand-balancing act by Pat & Kate Bradford, the incredibly graceful Hungarian silks artist Natália Demjén, actors, horses, doves, flying Russian acrobats and last but not least, Brian the Goose.

 Limited edition £7.50 CD of the music of the show available to buy here




The Band

James Keay – Band leader – Piano, percussion, voice
Francesca Simmons – Violin, musical saw, Soprano sax,voice
Claire Barbier – Vocal leader – voice, percussion, piano
Jean Goubert – Alto saxophone, banjo, drums, voice
Beth Schofield – Tenor sax, flute, piccolo, recorder, clarinet, voice
Louise Marsland – Baritone & alto sax, clarinet, flute, voice
Jannah Warlow – Voice, Tenor sax, violin
Penny Callow – Cello, flute
Sam Alty – Guitar, double bass, trombone, voice
Gemma Fuller – Trumpet, voice, percussion
Valentine Chatelet – Trumpet, voice
Celine Biewesch – Euphonium, percussion, voice
David Insua-Cao – Principle percussion, voice

Visit the Photo Galleries:  

The Show                     The Rehearsals             Recording the CD






Other Collaborations with Giffords Circus












  • Sarah Llewellyn has composed intoxicating music for a gloriously rumbustious town band.’
    Rupert Christian, The Telegraph, June 2011

    ‘a total delight’
    Ismene Brown, The Arts Desk

    ‘. . .theres real storytelling here, and the kind of attention to detail that drapes the tent with giant scrawled excerpts from the book and gives a real Russian twist to Sarah Llewellyns fine music played by the live band . . . Brilliant.’
    Libby Purves, The Times

    ‘. . .Snatches of folk music from a distant band float past on an early summer breeze . . a tiny colourful and thoroughly unusual troupe . . .’
    Patricia Carswell, The Telegraph, May 2011

    ‘. . .the unique charm that is Giffords, plenty of circus skills threaded along the narrative of a pared down version of the Russian classic. Full of drama, rousing music and some inspired clowning from Tweedy the Clown. . .’
    The Hay-festival, May 2011Hereford Times

    ‘I love the music, it’s a massive highlight for me: the mood shifts, rhythm and brass are extraordinary, melodies beautiful and this year’s devil’s stomp makes my hairs stand on end’.
    Peter Browning, audience member

    ‘The original score and live music is one of the things that makes Giffords so memorable. . . ‘
    Laura, Word Press