Developing circus artist Matthew Bishop with fellow Flipside workshop participants Katie Lavidis, Paige Gilbert and Kameli Downs.

Flipside Circus and Lockyer Valley Circus Arts are making children’s dreams of running away with the circus a reality.

An on-going partnership between the Brisbane-based Flipside, Queensland’s premier youth circus company, and the tradition-rich Ashton’s Family Circus has seen students from the city training at the school operated by Lorraine Ashton’s Family Circus in the Lockyer Valley, and vice versa, ensuring a successful cross-fertilisation of circus traditions.

The latest exchange program between the two organisations will see 15-year-old Matthew Bishop, a student at Lockyer Valley Circus Arts, undertake a full week placement at Flipside, during which time he will learn such essential circus skills as juggling, trapeze, tumbling and aerial tricks.

Along with Flipside’s other students, Bishop will learn from the company’s newly appointed Master Trainer, Bayaraa Odonchimeg, formerly of the Mongolian State State Circus.

Tanya Flannigan, Director of Lockyer Valley Circus Arts, thinks Matthew can learn a lot from the Flipside Circus trainers.

“Being away from the city, we do not have access to a large variety of circus trainers. Matt will be able to learn things like aerials from artists working in the circus industry, which is really exciting,” Flannigan said.

CEO of Flipside Circus Deb Wilks said she is proud to share the organisation’s resources with Lockyer Valley Circus Arts.

‘The Ashton family is rich in circus tradition. Through this partnership, our students can experience traditional circus training while Lockyer Valley students can experience a more contemporary style of training,’ she said.

A not-for-profit organisation, Flipside Circus has grown steadily from a solid community base, providing an extensive circus program for young people of all backgrounds. The company celebrates its 15th birthday in October this year.

‘Flipside Circus is fast becoming a circus and arts hub for local and international artists. Circus artists from all over the world want to train and teach at Flipside Circus and we are keen to share this with the community,’ Wilks said.

For more details about Flipside’s circus workshops, visit

By Dianne Ooi | Tuesday July 2 2013  |