Circus News

A Tale of Two Circuses: An Existential Balancing Act

Two of the biggest – Circa in Brisbane and Circus Oz in Melbourne – have endured months of zero box office revenue.

“We’re staring at a fairly deforested landscape,” says Circa’s creative director Yaron Lifschitz. “We can’t produce the work, there’s no audience to perform to and we can’t travel to our key markets.”

Executive producer of Circus Oz Penny Miles concurs: “We’re all fighting for survival. No doubt about it.”

But the course of the epidemic has diverged in their respective host cities. The new outbreak and resulting lockdowns in Melbourne tells a tale of two circuses.

For Circa – the most popular and acclaimed of our circuses internationally – the first challenge of COVID-19 was to race its acrobats home before international borders closed. An extended season of Humans had just opened in Paris and another show in New Zealand had to be cancelled before it began.

With performers quarantined back in Brisbane, the company quickly decided to retain all employees at slightly reduced hours, many on JobKeeper. It focused on creative development, benefiting from Queensland’s smooth path towards a virtual elimination of the virus.

Most acrobatics require extensive (and strenuous) physical contact, so lockdown activities were initially limited to Zoom rehearsals and individual conditioning. “Then we moved into the studio and worked on solo acts socially distanced,” says Lifschitz. “About a month ago we got approval from Queensland Health to be working together without restriction…”

Read the Full Article at The Sydney Morning Herald

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