Karen Edelenbos [VIC]

parasol acapta 6 524x349Stage name: Miss Ellaneous

HOW DID YOU GET INTO CIRCUS?
I was a Youth Worker in Fitzroy and Matty Gee from ‘Little Big Tops Circus’ used to nag me to use the youth centre I worked at for circus classes. My boss never let him, but I got involved with LBT in writing grants for shows/open access projects. Most of these programs were at the Carlton Baths YMCA.

A lot of the work was making circus affordable through subsidising classes for kids who came from ‘troubled’ backgrounds (refugee, homeless, low income families).

 

 

I was also part of the process for engaging ‘Inner City Youth’ in Circus which eventually became a performance troupe (which you may have heard of) called ‘TRICK circus’. I also taught myself to juggle to spite an ex boyfriend!! It was much more difficult back before YouTube!

WHAT ELSE DO YOU DO?
I’m a bit of a ‘Jack of All Trades’

I teach a lot of circus still, from regular classes, to corporate workshops for big companies, to directing Youth Circus performances and working with outreach programs. I’ve taught and performed in Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and New Zealand.

At the moment I am really enjoying teaching circus to people from Non English speaking backgrounds (mainly refugee kids/teenagers) they are so full of excitement!!

I also do event management, build circus tents, market shows, build stuff, write and self produce shows.

WHAT DOES CIRCUS MEAN TO YOU? 
It’s a place where you can challenge yourself physically and mentally. It makes you really aware of who you are. It’s something you never get sick of (there is always something to do). It’s a really loving community, wherever you go, if you are into circus and meet other circus folk it’s like instant family. I have toured with a Trad style circus, as well as creating ‘theatre’ and ‘contemporary’ circus. I’m glad that there is support from people in all forms (including street).

WHAT’S THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR?
Being on a billboard in Rotorua, New Zealand was pretty funny. It was to advertise Circus Aotearoa at the Arts Festival. Just me and my juggling partner. Our faces were HUGE!!

I’m sure I’ve done other ‘Very Important gigs’ but this was just ridiculous!

IF YOU WEREN’T DOING CIRCUS, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING RIGHT NOW? 
Probably running an awesome arts festival like Woodford. But having way less fun!

WHAT SKILLS DO YOU LIKE PERFORMING AND WHY?
I am primarily a Juggler. But I have done a bit of everything. I really like theatre, so I prefer to create acts with a character in mind, rather than just about the skills. I also really really like Clown, and hope that in 10 years I’m kick arse at it!

Doing flips on stage was pretty cool too (especially seeing I’m not primarily a tumbler)

WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE IN 5 YEARS TIME? 
Working for a professional troupe (whether established or one I’ve created) in Europe. Taking Juggling to new and exciting places. If not that, then volunteering at a circus school which works with street kids or disadvantaged youth. Like in Colombia, East Timor, Ethiopia, Vanuatu or Nepal.

WHY DO WE NEED CIRCUS IN THE WORLD?
Because no one should grow old in their hearts. Circus makes everyone happy (cheesy I know…)

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Australian Circus & Physical Theatre Association