Cluster Arts Brisbane Circus Management Backstage Business

Circus News

Cluster Arts: Brisbane’s Circus Management Team Backstage and Taking Care of Business

Transcribing my conversation with Deb Wilks (Executive Director) and Kate Malone (Executive Producer) of Cluster Arts was like time travel. We spoke in mid-March. The company was celebrating its 5th anniversary, and Covid-19 had yet to truly, globally impact the performing arts. I listened to our past selves describe future plans that now we know will not take place. Despite the time warp, this interview expresses something far more permanent: Cluster Arts’ core values of support and love for the artists they represent, Australian communities and audiences, and the art form of circus. The Brisbane based management team helps artists and companies become sustainable organizations from the ground up as well as propelling already established enterprises into new possibilities. The company handles everything from keeping promotional photos organized to the copious details involved with international touring. They represent companies such as Casus Circus, Company 2 and Briefs. I remember thinking as we ended the conversation, if I needed a management team, it would be Cluster Arts. 
Madeline Hoak: After looking at the Cluster Arts’ website, I have to ask, what don’t you do? Deb Wilks: (with a laugh) We don’t perform! Kate Malone: We love management.  MH: Cluster Arts provides ‘backend’ services. Tell me more about that. In Australia, generally, you’re a not-for-profit. We’re going the opposite direction and making [companies] a proprietary limited company, that is a for-profit model. They should be proudly seeking to make money. Let’s get away from this idea of not earning money or being poor. DW: It’s the stuff behind the scenes that nobody sees: the budget, the booking, the insurances, the contracts, the visas. All the stuff that has to happen before anyone does anything, really… [artists] wear many hats, and sometimes the b...
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Madeline Hoak

Madeline is a NYC based performer, producer, professor, and choreographer specializing in aerial, acrobatics, dance and movement direction. She is an adjunct professor of Aerial Arts at Pace University, on staff at Aerial Arts NYC and The Muse Brooklyn and initiated the Aerial program at Muhlenberg College where she taught from 2011 - 2017. Her movement direction contributed to Circle Theater NYC’s production of The Mountain winning Outstanding Original Choreography/Movement, 2015. She co-choreographed The Battles, a musical voted by Broadway producer Ken Davenport one of the top 10 new scripts of 2016. Madeline's choreography has been presented at Dixon Place, Circus Warehouse, BAX, The House of Yes, Abron Arts Center, Times Square, The Flea, STREB, Galapagos, and The Muse. She received BAs in Dance and Theater from Muhlenberg College and is currently studying at NYU’s Gallatin school of Individualized Study where she is designing a master’s degree in circus studies with a focus on dramaturgy and creative processes.