The team at Westside Circus just got ‘artier’ with the appointment of four new Artistic Associates. Westside Circus CEO, Simon Clarke, said the appointments signal another phase of renewal for the company and the beginning of a truly exciting time.

The team we have is incredibly experienced. Westside Circus will benefit enormously from these circus minds and hearts working in the engine room. In challenging times the only way to succeed is to be clear about what you do. We’re a dynamic circus arts organisation working with young people and it’s never been more important to reinforce that.” he said.

The newly appointed Artistic Associates are Sal Frances, Luke O’Connor, Christy Flaws and Rockie Stone. Each of the Artistic Associates is appointed on a part time basis and given a portfolio in addition to the workshops they manage and teach The contracts are short term (six months with options to extend) to enable practicing artists to come and gain experience in an office environment and make an important contribution without having to compromise their long term choices about their performing careers.

The next generation of artistic leaders will have an understanding of creative, administrative and managerial processes and be able to balance or switch between these roles effortlessly. So, in an effort to foster this, Westside Circus Artistic Director Sue Broadway will be working with each of the appointees to help them manage the challenges of being artists working in an office environment, and facilitate this learning.

Sue: “I began my career as a circus performer, and have also worked as a trainer and teacher, so I understand well the transition from the coal face to a managerial and directorial career. The development in the art form over the past fifteen years means that there is a new emerging generation of creative leaders who only need opportunities and support to flourish and lead the sector towards a fresh pathway. Exciting times indeed.

At this juncture, we also thank and farewell outgoing Artistic Associate, Karen Edelenbos. Karen has made an enormous  contribution in the eight months that she was in the role, as she forged a path for those that come after through some tumultuous times at Westside Circus. It has not gone unnoticed that she is being replaced by four people. Karen will stay on as a trainer at Westside as she awaits her next adventure.

Attached to this release are short biographies of new Artistic Associates. For further information, contact the Westside Circus office on 9383 2299 or email Simon directly at ceo@westsidecircus.org.au. Interviews and photo opportunities are also available upon request.

ARTISTIC ASSOCIATE BIOGRAPHIES

Sal Frances was fortunate enough to stumble across circus in the mid‐1990s and has made either a habit or a living out of sharing her discoveries since then. She is inspired by, and passionate about, people and their journeys, and views circus as a vehicle for people to discover new possibilities for themselves. These interests have led her to meet and work with an amazing array of groups and individuals. High notes include working extensively with the New Women program at Women’s Circus and the Public and Community Access Programs at Westside Circus and Circus Oz. She has worked with incarcerated women at Tarrengower and Parkville and run workshops in Taiwan at the Asian Region Community Arts Conference. Sal has taught and trained in a wide variety of circus skills including stilts, ensemble work, aerials, stage combat and many different forms of manipulation. Current obsessions include body percussion, choreographed skipping, and balancing random objects on her face. She also claims to be a dab hand at cryptic crosswords.

Christy Flaws trained at Circo Arts in Christchurch in 2003. She has since performed professionally in Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Japan, Scotland and Hong Kong. She has devised and performed shows with companies such as Sweet ‘n’ Sour Circus (Pirated!), Westside Circus professional troupe (Spilt Milk), Quiche Lorraine (Domestic Bliss), One Trick Pony (Peep, Carousel) and Porcelain Punch (Traveling Medicine Show, Custom of the Sea). Christy also co‐founded Asking for Trouble, performing in Bubblewrap & Boxes and KAPOW! In 2011 Christy completed a study tour in Europe, training in Ensemble Physical Theatre and Improvisation with John Britton, Clown with Philippe Gaulier, and attending a number of acrobatic conventions. She also performed a full length showing of her solo work, String Thing in La Mama’s Explorations for which she received a City of Melbourne Young Artist Grant. Christy continues to tour and develop work with Porcelain Punch, Asking for Trouble and One Trick Pony. She has taught workshops for Westside Circus since 2004.

Luke O’Connor is a performer, director and improviser. He holds a Bachelor of Contemporary Arts in Dance and Drama from Deakin University, a Diploma in Circus and Performance Arts from CircoArts (NZ), and a Diploma of Creative Industries from Victoria University. For 3 years Luke ran Babaganouj Cooking Club, an ensemble of young performers exploring physicality in performance, and he has performed extensively with a number of companies including Quiddity Theatre Ensemble, under the direction of John Britton; DownSide Up; Two’s Company, SCALD Physical Theatre, under the direction of Teresa Blake; and with Westside Circus touring Spilt Milk. Luke founded Asking for Trouble in late 2008, managing the company and performing Bubblewrap & Boxes and KAPOW! throughout Australia and overseas. Luke has directed five full‐length community circus theatre shows, as well as a number of smaller works, managed budgets and overseen artistic teams. He is currently a performer in Porcelain Punch’s Travelling Medicine Show and with the Duende Physical Theatre Company (UK).

Rockie Stone was three when she first hit the stage in ballet shoes and a poodle costume. After many years of dancing and with a Bachelor of Science under her belt Rockie fell into circus and took to it like a bird to the air. Rockie is a graduate of the National Institute of Circus Arts and has a Post‐Graduate Diploma ‐ Performance Creation from the Victorian College of the Arts. She performed for as a core ensemble member of Circa and toured across the globe with Circus Oz. Rockie co‐founded circus theatre company 3 is a Crowd, and recently toured the ensemble’s debut award‐winning show Fright or Flight across Australia and internationally. Throughout her career Rockie has taught adults and children across the world to stand on their hands, stand on each other and hang in all manner of shapes from various apparatus. From flipping with the Blakrobats in far north Queensland, teaching master classes at circus festivals, term classes at Circus Oz, Womens Circus, Flipside Circus, Westside Circus and NICA, and directing Tasmania’s youth circus troupe Slipstream Circus’ annual production, Rockie is delighted to bring her wealth of knowledge and experience to her Artistic Associate role at Westside Circus.