Flying Fruit Fly & Skinnyfish sounds like a slightly unusual Masterchef challenge, but is, in fact, an exciting new partnership between Albury/Wodonga’s Flying Fruit Fly Circus and Skinnyfish Music from the NT who will work together to deliver a unique circus program to the Barunga region, culminating in a spectacular performance at Barunga Festival 2014.

The Flying Fruit Fly Circus is a unique Australian success story. Founded on the banks of the mighty Murray River in Albury-Wodonga in 1979 as a community youth project, it is now internationally renowned as Australia’s’ National Youth Circus. It remains the only organisation in the country that offers full-time elite level circus training, general education and a touring performance program to young people aged 8 to 18.

Barunga Festival officially began in 1985 in the remote Aboriginal community of Bamyilli (now known as Barunga) and is held annually on the Queen’s Birthday long weekend in June.

The Traditional Owners of the area have appointed Darwin’s Skinnyfish Music to coordinate the Barunga Festival from 2013 to 2017. It is now the largest remote community festival in Australia, with a proud 29 year history as the home of the Barunga Statement and inspiration for Yothu Yindi’s hit song Treaty. It is a celebration and showcase of remote Australian indigenous community life though music, sport and culture, benefiting the community of Barunga and the people of the region economically, socially and culturally.

In an exciting new collaboration with Skinnyfish Music and the Katherine Group Schools, the Flying Fruit Fly Circus’ world-class trainers and young artists will work with indigenous young people in the area, particularly Barunga School located 70kms south-east of Katherine in the NT, to develop circus skills and together celebrate a cultural exchange of stories and ideas, culminating in a unique performance exclusively for the festival.

The community, their friends and guests will never have seen anything like this before. The Festival celebrates community life at its best and this project exemplifies this objective. It will be an unforgettable experience for the young performers from Albury Wodonga and the local indigenous community alike.

Richard Hull, Executive Director of the Flying Fruit Fly Circus said “This is a wonderful opportunity for our kids to gain a deeper understanding of indigenous culture and share their skills and passion for circus with the young people in the Barunga area. This collaboration will undoubtedly develop into an extraordinary performance for the Barunga Festival next year and I hope mark the beginning of a long term connection with this community and a fruitful ongoing partnership with Skinnyfish Music.”

“It comes in a year when we will celebrate our 35th anniversary, expand our Bouncing River Kids (Burranha Bila Buraay) program for our local young aboriginal community and for the first time, welcome three indigenous students to our full-time elite circus training program” Richard Hull said.

Mark Grose, Managing Director of Skinnyfish Music said “We are extremely excited about this relationship because it gives us the chance to engage young indigenous people in one of the skill areas in which they excel. Like football and music, circus has the potential to engage an entire community in positive activity. Our hope is that the partnership will lead to the establishment of small circus troupes in every community across the Jawoyn region! This is a very exciting time and we look forward to a long term relationship with the Flying Fruit Fly Circus.”

The Barunga Festival is 6th to 9th June 2014.
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