Sydney Festival 2018 Circus Roundup

The Sydney Festival Circus Program 2018 confirms the leading-edge, world-class nature of Australian Contemporary Circus.

Photo Credit: Gravity and Other Myths.

The 2018 Sydney Festival, under the Artistic Direction of Wesley Enoch, has maintained a strong commitment to the presentation of contemporary circus. The 2018 circus program focuses on presenting Australian work, and serves to underscore the range, vitality, and extraordinarily high calibre of contemporary circus in Australia now. The shows presented include:

It’s Not for Everyone from Acrobat 

A challenging and  provocative work that combines circus with commedia dell’arte, butoh, and performance art to create a unique and extraordinary work exploring the human condition and, amongst other things, the awareness of the inevitability of physical disintegration and death.

Confronting, bleak, funny, physically eloquent and profoundly beautiful.

Model Citizens from Circus Oz 

The first work from the new Artistic Director of Circus Oz, Rob Tannion, Model Citizens shows the larrikin humour long associated with this national circus company in an exploration of  Australian suburbia. The work displays considerable innovation with the surreal enlarging of everyday items from the  suburban environment, such as a clothes peg, and a safety pin. used to create unique, new pieces of circus apparatus.

Innovative and entertaining.

Close Encounters from Briefs 

This spectacular show melds circus, boylesque and sci-fi to fantastic effect. It features world class aerials, dance, clowning, delicious high-campery and a strong political focus on the importance of diversity, acceptance, and inclusion from the wonderful bearded ringmistress, Shivannah. Close Encounters is chock full of amazing characters including the gender-fluid male hula-hooper wearing a high blonde beehive wig, tattoos, and a beard, hula-hooping with neon hoops.

Gender-fluid, politically progressive, high camp fabulousness.

Backbone from Gravity and Other Myths

This show features what can only be described as a new form of ‘hyper-acrobatics’ that takes the traditional acrobatic circus acts of hand-to-hand, pyramid building, and ‘toss the girl’ (or apache) and pushes them to extremes, into new dimensions of daring and skill. The traditional ‘toss the girl’ act, for example, is extended  to become the ‘toss three girls at once on a small stage’ act. Three different groups of acrobats perform the apache sequence in unison on a relatively small stage demanding  a whole new level of split-second timing and precision. The wow factor is high, the physicality, timing, strength, and stamina are awe-inspiring.

Mind-boggling, awe-inspiring, ‘hyper-acrobatics.’

Circus City 2018

Circus City is the Sydney Festival hub for circus in Parramatta and features circus activities in and around Riverside Theatres. In addition to Model Citizens in the Circus Oz Big Top in Prince Alfred Park, and Backbone in Riverside Theatres, the program features  Highly Sprung a performance from Legs on the Wall on trampolines, featuring community involvement; flying trapeze workshops from Sydney Trapeze School, and circus workshops for young people from Aerialize.

Vibrant community engagement in circus activities.

The Circus Industry Forum 2018

Taking place over two days at Studio 404 in Parramatta as part of Circus City, The Circus Industry Forum is now in its second year and is proving to be an important event for contemporary circus in Australia.

Connecting, dialogue, and development across the Circus Sector,

This 2018 Circus Program from Sydney Festival serves to highlight the exciting world-class, leading-edge nature of contemporary circus performance happening in Australia right now.

5 stars out of 5

Sydney Festival Circus Program 2018

6-28 January 2018

Katie Lavers
About the Author
Dr. Katie Lavers is a writer, director, producer and researcher based in Sydney.