Rockie Stone, ACAPTA Board Member | September 8th, 2016

Vincent van Berkel and myself (Company Here And Now) have just returned from taking our little show Perhaps Hope to what is effectively the world’s biggest performing arts market. And we had good company.

This year Edinburgh Fringe was host to 174 Australian productions (a figure I heard on the grapevine apparently stemming from the mouth of the Australian ambassador to Britain). We are the most represented country at that festival, outside of the UK. So it’s easy to see why the rest of the world regards our Arts scene as alive and well. Because clearly it is. (A tribute more to our artists’ ingenuity and resilience than to any governmental support of the small to medium sector!).

Australian Circus has developed quite a stronghold in Edinburgh. Not only do Australian companies dominate the circus section of the program in numbers, they do so in quality and diversity.

Australian circus companies are both excelling within the form and pushing the boundaries of the form. And what’s more, they’re all mates. That is to say, not only are we numerous and diverse, and train really hard, we all know each other and are a strong community. For all of this, we are the envy of many in the circus world.

I think we owe a great deal to the circus festivals of past and present which bring us all together and strengthen us as a community. Closing night of the Edinburgh Fringe, with its late night send off provided for by Club Briefs, was so well attended by Aussies it was easy to mistake it for the closing night of an Australian Circus festival!

So, let me give you some specific details of an #EdFringe 2016 Australian Circus Wrap-Up:

After a gruelling yet rewarding month in Scotland Company Here And Now with Perhaps Hope has returned home feeling stronger than ever, having gathered a slew of fabulous reviews, the attention of potential tour-makers and a nomination for the Total Theatre circus award.

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Casus – Driftwood

Casus circus kicked a serious goal premiering their new show Driftwood, filling the Assembly’s new Spiegeltent throughout their season.

Trash Test Dummies smashed their return season to the Circus Hub, selling out most shows.

Head First Acrobats killed it with their first-time presentation in Edinburgh of Elixir, also in the Circus Hub.

Emma Serjeant‘s Grace was nominated for the Total Theatre circus award.

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Circus Trick Tease – Children are Stinky

Circus Tricktease with Children Are Stinky were completely off the Richter scale selling out their entire season including 4 extra shows and won the Primary Times Children Choice award.

Circa knocked it out of the park with Closer.

Briefs Factory had not one but 3 shows in the fringe: as well as their ever-popular original Briefs and the new late night cabaret Sweatshop, they sent shockwaves throughout Edinburgh with the effervescent Hot Brown Honey which also cleaned up a Total Theatre Award.

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Emma Serjeant – Grace

Now veterans to the Scottish city Gravity & Other Myths blew people away night after night with their return season of Simple Space.

And long time clown cum comedian Asher Treleaven has taken a break from La Soiree and together with renown burlesque performer cum clown Gypsy Wood had me and the rest of the full house audience positively in tears and gasping for breath I was laughing so hard, in the cult comic magic spoof Peter and Bambi: The Magic Inside.

In addition to these Aussie companies playing Ed Fringe, several Australian acrobats appeared in other non-Australian productions: Elke Uhd and James Kingsford-Smith took charge of the airspace the La Clique spiegeltent, and ex-Fruitie Annabel Carberry, who now resides in the UK, returned to the Circus Hub with her company Lost in Translation and their children’s show The Hogwallops.

I think it’s fair to say Australian contemporary circus is alive, well and leading the world actually. Just sayin’. Congratulations everyone!