Hemlock Mejarne is the artistic director of Solid State Circus and runs the PASS (Peer Assessment for Street Safety) program in Sydney and Melbourne as well as being an acrobat and veteran busker. He is passionately devoted to the keeping public spaces open as places for creative expression.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO CIRCUS/PHYSICAL THEATRE? Sports Acrobatics gave me a big skill set, Corrugated Iron Youth Arts gave me my first circus performing opportunities, Streetshows hardened my audience skills, wonderful encouragement and advice from elders of our industry inspired me.
WHAT ELSE DO YOU DO? There’s something else!???
WHAT DOES CIRCUS/PHYSICAL THEATRE MEAN TO YOU? A way of sharing what it means (or can mean) to be human.
WHAT’S THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR CIRCUS/PHYSICAL THEATRE CAREER SO FAR? Keeping the streets open to freedom of expression; not just for the circus streeties but the chalk drawers, musicians, statues, poets and all the fabulous quirky people our society colours our streets with. Since 1997 I have advised Sydney City Council and many others on best practice busking policy. I developed the Peer Assessment for Street Safety (PASS) program to allay fears of dangerous acts on the street and am constantly sitting in meetings educating bureaucrats as to why they need to keep the streets free for performance. A few years ago a world study on busking policies declared Sydney, Melbourne and San Paulo to be equal best in the world. I’m so happy to see that decades of work pays off. I’m saddened to see we have to constantly defend our right to freedom of expression. I’m meeting with Melbourne’s arrogant Lord Mayor this week to set him straight again!
IF YOU WEREN’T DOING CIRCUS/PHYSICAL THEATRE, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING RIGHT NOW? I’d be dead, or at least dead in my soul.
WHAT SKILLS DO YOU LIKE PERFORMING AND WHY? The right somersault/fire move/stilt trick/facial expression/pause/double take/juggle thing with just the right timing, in the perfect way, for that crowd there in front of me in that moment.
WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE IN 5 YEARS TIME? Being on stage with younger performers that are all better than I ever have been.
WHY DO WE NEED CIRCUS/PHYSICAL THEATRE IN THE WORLD? Circus is where sport and art meet. The physical, intellectual and emotional enrichment circus provides in one medium outshines plain acting or dance or stand up comedy or poetry or sculpture or satire or music or any of these things because it can be all of them at once. It is good for society’s morale. Circus helps keep us human.