A Fine Balance – In Carlos’s Footsteps

  • Venue:

  • Times:

    14:00, 15:00, 16:00, 18:30
  • Dates:


Carlos Trower escaped slavery to become one of the world’s greatest tight rope walkers and used this platform to promote the emancipation of enslaved people. A Fine Balance explores the remarkable story of ‘The African Blondin’ who once lived on Christmas Steps and performed with a Victorian Panorama show at Bristol’s Colston Hall (now Bristol Beacon) for over 3,000 people.

With funding from Heritage Schools and The University of the West of England’s Community Fund, Local Learning has been working with primary school and university students to create an exhibition and live show in collaboration with actors, activists, archivists, aerialists and acrobats.

Who was ‘The African Blondin’? – Click here to read more about the life of Carlos Trower in this blog piece by Dr. Paul Green.

Production credits

A Fine Balance is a collaboration, a coming together of talented artists sharing their expertise and creativity.

  • Myers-Insole Local Learning Community Interest Company
  • David Ellington
  • Dr Paul Green
  • Sula Gleeson
  • Carlota Matos
  • Ruth Myers
  • Jordan Emeil Morton-Trowers
  • Ruth Pitter
  • Kate Webb
  • Costumes by Charly Riddett
  • UWE Architecture students: Jessica Medrano Gabriel, Susan Gurung, Nour Kayyal, Charles Khai, Olivia Neale, Karina Sobolewska, Thomas Taheny and Marvin Hanny Woko
  • UWE Film students: Grace Alexander, Oscar Blakeborough, Clarenz Guttierez Badlis and Chloe Ireland
  • Year 5 pupils and teachers from St Michael on the Mount Primary School CEVC have played an integral role in this project.
  • Additional thanks to Julian Warren and the University of Bristol Theatre Collection and UWE tutors James Burch, Sally Daniels, Ann de Graft Johnson, Dr Shawn Sobers and Dr Rose Wallis

Ticket information

Free but ticketed for either the presentation or a timed session at the exhibition.

This is to control numbers for the presentation and exhibition – FOH can adjust numbers for show night and exhibition accordingly.

Public Performance – Wednesday 26th May 2021

  • 18:30 doors open for exhibition in Lower Ground Foyer
  • 19:30 start performance in Stalls Bar
  • 20:00 end of performance

Art Exhibition – Saturday 29th to Saturday 5th June 2021

  • Lower Ground Floor 14:00 – 17:00 each day
  • Sessions on the hour, with a limit of 30 people per session.

Cover image: Bray, Rachel Hemming., ‘Portrait of Carlos.’ (Reproduced with permission of the Artist)

Main image: Willis, J. of Manor Road, ‘African Blondin at Rosherville Gardens,’ Gravesend, Kent, 1881-1882. (Reproduced with permission of the local studies collection at the Gravesend Library)

 Covid safety measures

The venue will be employing specific measures to ensure it can operate safely in the current circumstances.

These measures include:

  • face masks must be worn when entering the venue until you are sat at your table.
  • Respect social distancing rules in the queue and venue.
  • sanitiser points and a comprehensive hygiene policy in accordance with government guidelines
  • Table service is in operation
  • Please do not raise your voice

Click here to view Bristol Beacon’s FAQs about coronavirus.

Were you at this show?

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Supported by

  • Heritage Schools

  • Quartet Community Foundation

  • UWE Community Fund

  • Circomedia

  • Myers-Insole Local Learning

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Welcome to
Bristol Beacon

On Wednesday 23 September 2020 Colston Hall changed its name to Bristol Beacon.

Our new name is just the first step, it is about more than the sign above our door. Click below to find out more about how we’re changing, watch our name announcement, and discover how we want everyone to share in the joy of live music.

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