Pirates of the Carabina (POTC) is an award-winning contemporary circus company, specialising in mechanically ingenious, ensemble-led work. All aspects of performance – including the set and the rigging – are celebrated as part of our shows.
Creative Directors Shaena Brandel & Barnz Munn produce all of the company’s work, including set & rigging design, and often perform in the shows. Our core team of international collaborators includes circus artists and musicians, theatre directors, visual artists, and technical and administrative staff, associate producers & a creative facilitator. It takes a community to make a circus!
Our large-scale productions featuring casts of 8-15 have toured internationally. Since POTC hit the stage for the first time in 2011 at Glastonbury Festival, our award-winning show FLOWN has been seen in theatres and festivals across the UK, Europe, Australia & the Middle East, winning the Total Theatre Award for Physical/ Visual Theatre in 2013 at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Our small-scale, outdoor show PIRATE TAXI is performed on a fully-functioning London Taxi by just two artists, allowing us to perform to rural audiences and local communities.
We are committed to supporting the growth of a diverse circus community, and using circus to provoke wider conversations about social issues.
Barnz is a trained Shipwright, Aerial Rigger, Tentmaker, Costume designer and Performer. Since 1998 he has been combining traditional ship-rigging and racing-dinghy rigging techniques in stunt shows with climbers and circus performers.
With Shaena Brandel, Barnz is the pioneer of performance-based rigging and Human Counterweighting developed during their time at NoFit State circus where, as Head Rigger, he designed the performance based rigging in their shows until 2009.
He has designed & built rigging systems for multiple Circus training spaces including NoFit State, Organised Kaos, the Circus Big Top at Glastonbury Festival, and Circus Arts Australia.
As a solo artist working in multi-media sculptural, sonic and kinesthetic form, Barnz recently hosted his first public exhibition of work at the Hat Works in Luton as Part of Tangled Feet’s Devolution Evolution project.
Shaena is an Irish Aerialist, trained in the UK, with over 25 years’ experience as a Performer & Aerial teacher. She has toured extensively across the UK and internationally including with Giffords Circus (for their first two seasons), and for six years with NoFit State on their critically acclaimed shows Immortal, Tabu and Labyrinth (Eden Project).
Shaena’s work with Barnz Munn developing the new discipline of counterweighted hoop, has been hugely influential in the international Circus community. She regularly consults as a creative director/ producer and aerial choreographer to a range of performance companies.
Shaena has taught Aerial performance in FHE and professional contexts, alongside producing and creating work with POTC. In her local area of Somerset Shaena has led on the design and delivery of participatory theatre programmes for emerging artists and community groups – including work with Wassail Theatre, Somerset Youth Theatre & Take Art.
Shaena’s current practice-based research focuses around themes of women and ageing within the performance context, and exploring storytelling through movement and aerial.
2019 - present
Keep an eye out for Information about auditions, creative playdays and company vacancies.
To be kept in the loop about forthcoming performance work, auditions, work placements or workshops email us with the subject heading: “I want to work with Pirates”
Educational establishments and those interested in bringing in POTC for a residency, workshop series or outreach project can see more here
interested in booking a show, having a chat, or looking to collaborate, please contact Shaena here:
Companies seeking advice in Rigging and Design Consultancy, or Performance Services please contact Barnz here:
all press, marketing and public relations enquiries please contact email@example.com
We specialise in uniquely inventive circus and developing acts that push the boundaries of technique, theatrical narrative and the mechanics of performance beyond the ordinary.
Collaboration is at the heart of what we do at Pirates of the Carabina. We strongly believe that a diversity of creative voices and experiences fosters great ideas and produces work that is both dynamic and sincere, and which directly connects with audiences.
Aligned with our commitment to collaboration is our practice-based research project PLACEDISPLACE – a reflective, performative inquiry into what it meant to be an artist in, and emerging from, the 2020 lockdown.