“I have been asked by some people to explain – why the focus on Circus in Parramatta?” – Wesley Enoch, Sydney Festival Director.
The reasons are two-fold:
1. The role of circus in Australia and the fact that we are a world leader in the art form
2. The art form of Circus cuts through many levels of a community.
You may not know this but Australia is considered a world leader when it comes to Circus. There’s something about our long traditions of larrikin antics and vaudeville, touring shows and physical performance that have created the conditions for Circus to flourish here. There are a few styles of Circus that have taken root in Australia a kind of larrikin clowning that is about having fun and upturning authority. It provides a politically charged voice that questions the status quo (Circus Oz was one of the first companies in the world to establish the modern circus with no animals and to this day flies an Aboriginal flag above it’s big top). There’s a charming clown style that I guess you could call the “contemporary dance” style of circus where refined beauty meets acrobatic skills.
When I’m travelling the globe there is a strong sense that Australian circus is leading the world. I was at Edinburgh Fringe Festival and saw Australian circus companies playing to sellout crowds and watched how audiences loved them and how they are so distinguished themselves amongst their peers. We are also supporting industry discussions and workshops for professional circus artists to help stimulate debate and development.
In terms of the cut-through idea, I reckon circus cuts through every demographic boundary. Whether you are young or old, rich or poor, a tradie or an office worker, from outback NSW or recently arrived from overseas, there is something for everyone in Circus. The ideas of trust and the demonstration of physical skills is something everyone can understand and appreciate. I reckon Parramatta is a great place to offer the best of circus in the country and the world.
Read more about Circus City at Parramatta here.