Alex Palmer – Head Rigger

What is your role in Out Of This World?
I am the Head Rigger and will also perform in the show.

What has led you to this point?
I’ve been lucky enough to work as both an actor and rigger for many years and then began working with Mark around five years ago.

Where did you study/train?
I trained as an actor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. The rigging skills have mostly come from my life long obsession with climbing and working with others in the business.

Who else have you worked with?
As a rigger, I have worked with National Theatre Scotland, Glastonbury Big Top, Cuerda Productions, All or Nothing Aerial Dance, 2012 Olympic shows (with Mark) amongst others. As an actor, I have worked with many people including: Richard Eyre, Danny Boyle, Peter Weir, Russell Crowe, and Diana Rigg.

Why are you excited about working on Out Of This World?
The opportunity to work on a show like Out Of This World is unique really. The process that Mark brings to all his work is inclusive, creative and very exciting. This is a job that has the potential to create in three dimensions, using aerial systems to further a story and take a theatre audience on a truly amazing journey.

What do you think will be one of the main challenges of this process?
Hard to say at this point as most challenges normally appear when you least expect, but the key thing for me will be to create aerial systems that are as versatile as Mark’s ideas. Also, it’s always challenging taking this style of work on tour and fitting it in to lots of different theatres and spaces.

What do you think will be one of the key highlights of this process?
The creation process is a chance to try ideas as and when they come up, and no matter how crazy they seem, give them the chance to work. One of the most exciting things about using aerial systems to tell a story is being able to bend the laws of physics to create images that seem visually impossible to the audience.

Who have been the most influential people in your career so far, and why?
My first Drama teacher, Robert Winston. If it hadn’t been for him I’d never have made it into this industry. WH Murray, climber, I read his book Mountaineering in Scotland when I was very young and it’s what made me want to become a climber.

What live productions have inspired you most, and why?
I saw the original production of De La Guarda at the Round House in London and it literally blew me away. It made me realise what could be achieved when aerial theatre is used to tell a story, rather than just to show off. Another show that inspired me was Dirty Wonderland by Frantic Assembly, a truly site specific roller coaster!

What advice would you give to anyone looking to pursue a similar career to yours?
A rigger that only understands how to rig, but doesn’t understand the creative process will not be able to fully comprehend what it is they’re working towards. Gain experience wherever you can, be it theatre rigging, industrial rigging or climbing, it can all be used. Never cut corners or ‘hope for the best’. Learn the limits of your systems and equipment and always choose the safest possible way to accomplish an idea. Aerial theatre may sometimes look dangerous, but it never should actually be dangerous!

See the amazing rigs used live, in Out Of This World at The Peacock 1 – 3 May 2017. Click here to learn more.