Circus Saved My Life

BandBazi was founded in 2001 by actress and aerialist Philippa Vafadari. Philippa trained as an actress at the Scottish Royal Conservatoire. After working in regional repertory theatre including the Royal Court Theatre, London, she went on to train as an aerial artiste at The Circus Space, London. As Artistic Director of BandBazi she aims to integrate narrative theatre with aerial metaphors in what the company calls 'Aerial Drama'.

BandBazi' has an inclusive, multicultural Youth Circus Theatre attached to its professional company (7-25 yr olds) with whom she has directed five devised Circus Theatre productions. She is committed to developing the creative talents of the group as artists and arts leaders through the Arts Awards programme. The group also write songs, make films and create photographic exhibitions. 

Philippa has produced all of BandBazi's productionsand is also Creative producer for ART:sync, the South East hub of the national Sustained Theatre initiative, developing cultural leaders from artists of diverse heritages. Philippa was part of the professional aerial cast for the Olympic Opening Ceremony ('Mary Poppins') and the Paralympic Closing Ceremony ('Firefly') at London 2012.

Philippa has recently retrained as a psychotherapist, gaining an MA in Integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy from the University of Roehampton.  She is using this expertise combined with her 25 years experience of working in the arts to continue to develop BandBazi’s #ResilientArts project exploring how the arts can support emotional wellbeing.  Your can find her therapy work on or email

Here Philippa speaks about how the circus saved her life at the TEDx East End event in October 2012

About TEDx
In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)




Company number: 4271844 

Charity number: 1091276