HOW DID CIRCUS OZ BEGIN?
In 1977 New Ensemble Circus from Adelaide joined up with the Australian Performing Group’s Soapbox Circus and formed Circus Oz. Some people credit us with being the first of the new or contemporary circuses which have now populated the entertainment scene across the globe. We have been performing our brand of circus all over Australia and the world ever since.
WHAT DO YOU DO?
We perform about 150 shows a year to about 100,000 people in about 20 different places every year. We teach circus classes at our Port Melbourne secret circus laboratory and out and about. Occasionally we do corporate gigs. Training, teaching, rehearsing, devising, building, driving, bumping in and out, producing, managing and marketing keeps us pretty busy. We are currently performing in Arnhem Land in very remote indigenous communities.
WHAT DOES CIRCUS/PHYSICAL THEATRE MEAN TO YOU?
Our circus is based on the principles of collective ownership and creation, multi-skilling of personnel, gender equity, aiming for a uniquely Australian signature, being open to the widest possible range of inspiration, maintaining a balance between intimate, accessible performance and a high level of experimentation and innovation and a concentration on creating a show that exemplified team work rather than star turns.
* this bit’s borrowed heavily from Jon Hawkes’ “The History of Circus Oz”
WHAT’S THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR CIRCUS/PHYSICAL THEATRE CAREER SO FAR?
Too many highlights! The best thing is always seeing people loving the show. Being able to give the show to people who might never have the opportunity to see a big show like ours is even better. Performing in Maningrida to about 300 indigenous kids on a football oval right now is pretty special.
IF YOU WEREN’T DOING CIRCUS/PHYSICAL THEATRE, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING RIGHT NOW?
I suspect that if Circus Oz hadn’t started when it did, then someone would have started something like it pretty soon afterwards. And if the people in it now didn’t have Circus Oz to go to, they’d be doing circus somewhere else. There is no “not doing circus” for us.
WHAT SKILLS DO YOU LIKE PERFORMING AND WHY?
New ones, old ones, different ones. We like performing live, to live audiences. We like the fact that it’s you and us, together in one space, looking at each other across the ring. Every performance is similar, but different, because the audience is a big part of what we do.
WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE IN 5 YEARS TIME?
In 5 years we’ll have our new space in Collingwood up and active! We can’t wait to have a bigger space to create circus in. I wonder if there’ll be a touring circuit in space by then?
WHY DO WE NEED CIRCUS/PHYSICAL THEATRE IN THE WORLD?
Because Circus is inclusive, embracing, eclectic, curious and democratic. Much like the world should be!