Digital Playbill

Sweat & Ink

Explore the Playbill

About the Show

Sweat & Ink is an exploration of memory, of identity; a reflection on how we remember and the ways we capture what exists only deep within ourselves- through images, words and physical expression. It is a celebration of imperfection, a tribute to how we navigate and interpret these experiences and how they influence us to reevaluate our pasts and shape our futures.

About Barcode Circus Company

Barcode Circus Company is made up of Alexandra Royer, Eric Bates, Eve Bigel and Tristan Nielsen. Together they have performed in over 25 countries in multiple circus productions, festivals and TV shows. Their individual and group acts have all won numerous awards at circus festivals around the world, but no matter where they are they continue to train and push the possibilities of their art. Sweat & Ink is Barcode’s first full length production.

Creative Team

Performers Alexandra Royer, Eric Bates, Eve Bigel, Tristan Nielsen Dramatic Skeleton and Staging Jean Pierre Cloutier Guide/captain and Mentor Sophie Picard

Artist Statement

Circus is an expression of a lifestyle and of a community. A passion for exploration through traveling the world, encountering new people and ideas and colliding with them, stretching both our physical limits and the limits of our ideas and how we interact with the world; and sharing what we find onstage. It is beautiful and difficult for the sake of beauty and difficulty, a reflection of the human need to jump farther, climb higher, support one another in any challenge we choose to pursue. We hope our work inspires with a sense of play, grace in the face of adversity, and love and trust in those we choose to surround ourselves with. Enjoy.


Alexandra Royer was introduced to circus at an early age by well known Canadian circus companies such as Cirque Éloize and Cirque du Soleil passing through her hometown of Quebec City. Inspired, she began taking circus classes, and immediately connected with not only the art form, but also the sense of family and community present with the artists backstage. Shortly thereafter her family moved to Morocco and Alexandra discovered her second passion: the equestrian arts. Working with such incredibly strong and beautiful animals developed her sensitive and fearless personality traits, two important and defining qualities in her circus career. She has gone on to perform around the world and won multiple awards for both her hoop and Russian bar acts.

Eric Bates grew up in Vermont and has been juggling for as long as he can remember. After getting hooked on circus through a youth circus program he went on to the National Circus School of Montreal to make it his career. There he began working with Alex and Tristan and formed the Barcode Circus Company. As well as touring the world, he has won awards for both his cigar box juggling and Russian bar acts at the Cirque de Demain circus festival. In the rare moments he’s not upside down or throwing something (or someone) in the air, Eric enjoys playing chess, writing, taking motorcycle trips and baking apple pies.

Eve Bigel grew up doing 10 years of competitive gymnastics before discovering the circus arts at CRAC de Lille in France. She has since performed in numerous circus productions and TV shows, often finding herself at the very top of the human pyramids. She has also taken a stuntwoman course, and in her free time enjoys drawing, reading and tinkering.

Tristan Nielsen grew up in rural New England playing various sports, exploring the woods and doing youth circus. As a teenager he met Eric at the Vermont-based Circus Smirkus, from there they went on to study at the National Circus School in Montreal together, where they met Alexandra and founded the Barcode trio. The trio toured the world for six years with companies such as the 7 Fingers, Cirque Eloize and Cirque du Soleil. They were awarded a silver medal at the Cirque de Demain festival in Paris this past February, where Tristan and Eve also received a bronze medal for their hand to hand act. When not touring, Tristan enjoys traveling, hiking and motorcycling.

Jean Pierre Cloutier started his career as a physical actor with Cirque EOS, following that studied at le Conservatoire d’arts dramatiques de Québec. After his studies, he took part in many productions either as an actor, director or playwright. Jean Pierre is also an accomplished set designer and translator. The diversity and range of his talent has been awarded many times and has brought him to work with a multitude of world renowned companies such as ExMachina-Robert Lepage, Daniel Danis, Les 7 Doigts de la Main, and Wajdi Mouawad. His tremendous experience as a playwright and director have helped Barcode explore new and innovative ways to bring the show to life.

Sophie Picard has built an exciting career in the events and live entertainment industry over the past 20 and is a seasoned producer. She is a master with budgets and proficient in the domains of international taxation, immigration, insurance, contractual agreements and safe work practices. Wanting to share her expertise, she regularly mentors and gives seminars to members of En Piste, the pan Canadian association for circus arts. She was one of the first supporters to Barcode and has been indispensable to the creation of Sweat & Ink.


Barcode Circus Company thanks CALQ, Jerome Lebeau, Sophie Picard and La Tohu.

Hand to Hand Circus Festival is made possible through the support of PNC Arts Alive.

PNC Arts Alive is a multi-year, multi-million dollar grant initiative of the PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.  In its ninth year, PNC Arts Alive challenges visual and performing arts organizations to put forth their best, most original thinking in expanding audience participation and engagement. A very prestigious grant, only twenty arts organizations in the Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey region are selected.

“Through PNC Arts Alive, we continue to help invigorate local arts organizations while bringing new and exciting programs to our community,” said Joe Meterchick, PNC regional president for Philadelphia, Delaware and Southern New Jersey.  “The creativity and collaboration demonstrated by the local arts community is evident in the programs that will be introduced, while enabling new visitors and residents alike to experience a diverse range of exhibits and performances.”

For more information on PNC Arts Alive and the grant recipients visit

Coming Up at FringeArts

Auditions for Le Super Grand Continental
Choreography by Sylvain Émard
June 6-9

In 2012, the annual Fringe Festival was kicked off with a large scale performance unlike anything Philadelphia had seen before. One hundred and fifty residents of all ages and dance backgrounds assembled at the foot of the Philadelphia Art Museum steps, donned in the outfits of their choice, twirling into a rhythmic human kaleidoscope. Le Grand Continental® was a joyous and intoxicating dance spectacle, one that united people from across Philadelphia’s diverse communities and was praised by The Inquirer as “fantastic, a festive opening ceremony” for the Festival.

This year, the Fringe Festival will be ushered in once again with Émard’s unifying work, but with one key difference. As the title Le Super Grand Continental suggests, this time around Émard and his team are doing it bigger and are looking to gather 200 dancers to realize this remarkable performance. We hope that you’ll be one of them.

No prior experience is necessary to be a part of Le Super Grand Continental, just enthusiasm and a love of dance. A good sense of rhythm and coordination is recommended. Auditions will take place in the FringeArts theater June 6-8 from 6-8pm and on June 9 from 11am-1pm, 2-4pm, and 5-7pm. Auditions last the full two hours during which time you’ll be led through some of the piece’s choreography by members of the production team. Dress comfortably and bring some water.

FringeA-Thon 2018
Presented by Penn Medicine
June 16

FringeA-Thon isn’t just a fundraiser. It’s an enormous party that celebrates the power of dance to unite people of all ages and backgrounds.  With Philly-favorite DJs spinning all day, an outrageous “dance mom” host, pop-up performances, dance demos, dance battles, games, giveaways, and many more surprises, FringeA-Thon is a day you’ll never forget.

Be Part of the Story

Help FringeArts present world-class, contemporary performing arts that challenge convention and inspire new ways of thinking.