As the Adelaide Fringe festival drew to a close in March, familiar clouds of yellowed grass and dust started to rise from the trampled fields of the Garden of Unearthly Delights. The coronavirus was making headlines and the mood was tense. One afternoon as I was spruiking to the audience outside the tent the dust caught in my throat mid-way through a spiel and I began to cough, having to pass the mic and go inside lest I cause alarm. As we packed down the tent we joked, only semi-ironically, that at least we’d had a good time over the last month, because clearly none of us were ever going to work again.
lly, that at least we’d had a good time over the last month, because clearly none of us were ever going to work again. Four months later and it looks like many performing artists will indeed find it difficult to get on stage for the rest of the year. The ongoing uncertainty of the pandemic seems to spread out around us like a slowly growing puddle of ooze. No one really knows when we will be able to get back to work, and this has prompted despair from friends around the world, asking themselves – ‘what is a performer without an audience?’ Aside from the unprecedented scale of this health crisis there is an accompanying economic tremor running through a pillar of contemporary social relations – capitalism. The insistence of governments on ‘re-opening’ economies drives home the idea that our primary role within 21...
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Mitch Jones (Circus Oz, Snuff Puppets) is a circus performer and artistic provocateur from Melbourne, Australia. As Captain Ruin he has toured extensively around the world, specialising as an MC, and performing escapes, fire eating, and knife throwing. His recent physical theatre show AutoCannibal was described by critics as “Original, bold and disturbingly amusing, this is must-see physical theatre” (Theatre Press)