Extraordinarily Human: Training the Next Generation of Circus Artists
Anni Davey joined the Flying Fruit Fly Circus as its new Artistic Director in July. She reflects on a mid-career shift from freelance director to the artistic leadership of a nationally treasured youth circus.
I have been working in circus since the late 1980’s when I joined Circus Oz as a performer. Back in those days there was almost a symbiosis between Circus Oz and The Fruities. Oz performed in the Fruities’ pink and white candy striped 600 seat Big Top, which had been designed and made for them by Tim Coldwell, a grand old man of Oz (who was grand but not so old back then). It would be difficult to pin point a moment when there wasn’t a Fruit Fly in an Oz show. It was expected that if you were passing through Albury you would drop in at the ‘Y’ (now Hot House Theatre) which also housed the offices of the Murray River Performing Group (MRPG), whose 1979 school holiday program gave birth to the Fruities.
Together, Oz and the Fruities were like an extended family. I watched kids grow up and emerge into the industry where they became my peers and companions on stage. And I watched my elders, the pioneers and developers of this new circus grow up and older, moving out of the industry and into academia, or community theatre, or event direction. There was no, still is no, well-trodden career path for a contemporary circus performer that I can follow, but some new paths have been carved, and some roadblocks and obstacles have been identified and dismantled by those going before…
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