Who’s Steering this Ship…?!

About Tit for Tat

Tit for Tat is an unusual juggling company that believes in celebrating the ordinary. We take ordinary objects, objectives and scenes, and we explore every nook and cranny until we make them extra-ordinary. We believe in finding the most exciting and, more often than not, the most difficult way of getting from A to B. Even when undertaking simple tasks such as making a cup of tea, painting a wall, or changing a lightbulb.

Tit for Tat has performed pieces both small and large all across the UK. Whether its making chips for the public in a blur of ketchup and salt, launching furniture halfway across the stage, or becoming chaotically tangled in the Outdoor Arts – Tit for Tat brings a special element of heartfelt complicity and comedic near-calamity to all our performances.

Ryman and Lou

Our Team

Ryan Murphy
Artistic Director

Maia Ayling
Artistic Director

Max Gabarre-Grindrod
Associate Artist

Truan Jay Mathias
Associate Artist

Charles Brockbank
Associate Artist

Harry Kingscott
Associate Artist

Tom Barker
Associate Artist

Company History

Louis and Ryan met in 2010 at Circomedia; England’s academy for Contemporary Circus and Physical Performance. There they discovered a shared interest in the eccentric and the absurd; applying juggling theory to dustbin lids, clothes racks, and shopping trolleys to create surreal and unconventional spectacle.

 In 2012 they began working together as cabaret double act “Ryman & Lou”. Working across all manner of spaces and venues; enjoying the comedic challenge of low ceilings, narrow corridors, or unstable flooring across their juggling routines.

In 2013, with support from Arts Council England, they created their first full-scale show; “The Most Dangerous Cup Of Tea In The World”, and began working as Tit for Tat. Over 3 years they enjoyed delivering a UK-Wide celebration of absurdity thanks to the support of many. With special thanks to Kate Hazel (Winchester Hat Fair), Matthew Feerick (Wet Picnic), Matt Pang (Pangottic) and Billy Alwen (Cirque Bijou) for their early support, generous enthusiasm and endless/bemused patience.

Over 2015-2017 Tit for Tat began to work in collaboration with new artists across England and France; building new networks as part of cultural activities made possible through organisations, projects and schemes such as ZEPA2 (European Zone of Artistic Projects), the Artist’s International Development Fund (Arts Council England), and The Great Leonardo Project (Circus Schools across Amiens, Carampa, and London’s National Centre of Circus Arts).

Over this time, Louis turned his focus towards prop invention and set construction, whilst continuing to manage his walkabout company Joy Magnet (Tit for Tat’s cousin on jumping-stilts). Ryan went on to study clowning at Ecole Philippe Gaulier (France) whilst continuing to work as an associate artist with Wet Picnic. During this time, Ryan re-met fellow Circomedia alumni Maia Ayling, who had finished studying at Ecole internationale de théâtre Jacques Lecoq. Together, they began designing a new show.

In 2018, Maia offically joined the Tit for Tat team, collaborating to launch a new outdoor show “Books!”. This show began its touring in the wake of the pandemic, when public events began to resume. This in turn developed Tit for Tat to be able to begin working with a wider pool of core artists and larger creative teams across a several new projects.

In 2023, Tit for Tat found a home in Bristol; taking over the voluntary management of a collective art space previously run by Desperate Men. Through this, Tit for Tat have taken up the Desperate’s legacy and continue to supporting artists through affordable space solutions to better sustain emerging new work.

Tit for Tat continues to work with new artists and in new collaborations to improve the scope, quality and scale of our work. Now working across both the indoors and the outdoor arts sector, we look forwards to new networks and the many new ridiculous ideas yet to come.

People First

We provide an all-inclusive sense of community fun; bringing people together in local streets through engaging absurdity and dynamic visual spectacle.

Quality of Work

We take our silliness very seriously – delivering professional high-octane entertainment to transform public spaces.

Art for All

We are proud of what we do, and feel a part of the wider arts sector; valuing interconnectivity between communities and artists to create work that audiences really engage with.