Nathanael Cooper | Brisbane Times | Thursday 11 February 2016
IT was like Australia’s Got Talent for clowns and acrobats at Brisbane’s city hall on Thursday.
A ragtag band of hula-hoopers, jugglers and miscellaneous circus performers converged on the Ithaca Auditorium for Cirque du Soleil’s first audition roadshow in many years.
With 18 shows playing all over the world, Cirque is one of the largest employers of performers anywhere in the world, and there is a huge demand for new artists as shows are being developed all the time.
On Thursday morning the audition panel, made up of Cirque Australia promoter Andrew Dunn, former Cirque artist Zebastian Hunter and local actress Veronica Neave, saw a mixed bag of performers hoping to be discovered and launch their careers into the Grand Chapiteau.
The auditions began with local lad Rory who showed off his juggling skills; first with bowling pins, then with balls and finally with marshmallows which he stuffed into his mouth.
He was followed by Claire Ogden, who certainly came dressed for the occasion in a bedazzled gown, and her hula-hoop routine.
Then came Boof the Clown, known to his mum as Clint Bolster, who somehow managed to get the audition panel and a few others assembled in the room to wish him a happy birthday through a rendition of the traditional song performed on hand bells.
The group were the first of a number of Queenslanders who were trying their hand at the first stage of auditions for the famous circus company, hoping to score a role in one of the many productions they have touring around the world.
For Bolster, who is one of Brisbane’s most well-known circus performers, the decision to audition was based on the company’s culture.
“I have always been an admirer of their work,” he said.
“I have always thought their work encapsulates hope.
“When people see a show of Cirque’s it invigorates their soul.”
Thursday’s auditions are part of Cirque’s open auditions around the country to find Australian’s who are going to be the next crop of circus stars.
The company has a long history of engaging Australia’s best performers in their shows, including Hunter who has appeared in two of Cirque’s productions – Quidam and Allegria.
And he uses his own experience auditioning for the company to make the audition experience for hopeful stars as relaxing as possible.
“You want to make them feel welcome, make it a welcoming environment, make them feel what it will be like working for the company because it is a really nice company to work for,” he said.
With Cirque returning to Australia with Kooza, a show originally conceived in 2007 that has been touring under the famous Grand Chapiteau, this year some of the performers will be hoping they will make their hometown debut sooner rather than later.
But Mr Dunn, who has been promoting Cirque shows in Australia for many years, said there is a long road to the stage for the successful auditionees.
“It’s unlikely they will be ready for the show when it comes to Australia,” he said.
“There is a lot of work to do to get the performers ready before the join a production.”
Those who made it through the first round of auditions in Brisbane on Thursday will be invited to undergo a second audition in Melbourne in two weeks where they will be put through a series of tests to see their strength and conditioning abilities as well as a range of other speciality skills.
Kooza is expected in Australia in the second half of the year with a Brisbane season likely to take place in November.
IMAGE CREDIT: via Brisbane Times
ORIGINAL SOURCE: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/queenslanders-try-to-tumble-their-way-into-circus-career-20160211-gmrefa.html