Circus News

Flipside Circus Celebrates 20 Years!

Emerging from humble beginnings in the Brisbane suburb of West End, Flipside Circus grew rapidly from a small community organisation, incorporated as a not-for-profit organisation in 1998, to a well-established youth company with the largest circus space in Queensland. Founded by then Brisbane-based circus artist Joy Hoy, Flipside Circus swiftly became an intrinsic part of the local circus and community arts sectors, offering workshops for children and young people and performing at local festivals and community events. This year Flipside Circus will celebrate its twentieth year, and the impact that it has made across the local and national arts sectors.
Flipside Circus 1998 outdoor circus workshop at West End, Brisbane

Since its emergence on the Brisbane arts scene, the company has operated in multiple venues from community halls and major arts venues such as The Brisbane Powerhouse, Old Museum and the Judith Wright Centre. The company has also attracted the very best of Australian circus into its fold as trainers with artists such as: Rudi Mineur, Kelly Vella, Ira Seidenstein, Mark Winmill, Davy Sampford, Chelsea McGuffin, Mali De Gooey, Flip Kammerer, Fez Fa’anana, David Carberry, Tom Flannagan, Jesse Scott, Lachlan Mcaulay, Natano Fa’anana, Allie Wilde and numerous others taking on long term and short-term teaching roles. Further to this, its connection to the wider national circus sector has been enriched by the guest direction of legends such as Tony Rooke and Scott Maidment and the late great Dr. Reg Bolton.

Within Australia, youth circuses play a vital role in the ongoing development of the contemporary circus artform on many levels. In the spaces they provide for training and development (not only for their own students, but for visiting companies and freelance artists) and in their capacity to feed their students across the sector into the professional realm and into higher training institutes such asNICAandEcole nationale de cirque.

Flipside Circus Performance Troupe performing Wasteland

Flipside Circus is a leading example of the importance of youth circus within the ecology of the contemporary circus sector. Their current home base, formerly the Bonds clothing factory, was transformed from an old run-down building, opening in April 2010, and rapidly became an epicentre for contemporary circus in Brisbane. I was lucky enough to spend six years working for Flipside as Head Trainer and Artistic Director (2005-2010) and so was there when the company made the big move from the Brisbane Powerhouse Stores Studio to its own home. It took weeks of scrubbing the floors, painting the walls and installing the rigging to make the space what it is today. The renovation of theFlipside  Circus  space would not have been possible without the in-kind support of staff, students, their parents and siblings. It is a reflection of the kinds of communities that youth circuses such as Flipside have the capacity to cultivate, reflecting a major strength of circus as an artform: its ability to bring people together. The artistic community surroundingFlipside Circushas enabled it to flourish and to offer a safe space for young people to belong and grow into the best versions of themselves.

Flipside Circus 2018 training centre Alderley, Brisbane

Twenty years onFlipside Circuscontinues to offer pathways for its students into the professional realm and has many successful graduates who have gone on to work in well-respected national and international companies such asCirca,Casus,Briefs Factory,Company 2, Strut n Fret Production House,7 Fingers(Montreal) andCirque du Soleil,or to form their own companies (Pants Down Circus.) Beyond its success in training the next generation of young circus artists, its role in providing an arts space where local and visiting circus artists can share skills, gain employment and access space for creative development, further cements its importance and influence across the wider contemporary circus sector. Congratulations to theFlipside Circus  community past and present for the roles you have played in the evolution of such a unique and important organisation. Here’s to another twenty years of “un-thinking the impossible.”

All photos courtesy of Flipside Circus
AUTHOR
Kristy Seymour
Scholar
Australia
Dr Kristy Seymour is a circus artist and emerging scholar with over 19 years’ experience in the Australian circus sector as a performer, trainer, artistic director and administrator and more recently, as a researcher. She has worked extensively in the youth circus sector leading a team of inspiring artists as the Head Trainer and Artistic Director of Flipside Circus in Brisbane 2004-2010. Working as a creative producer and choreographer, she has collaborated with leading arts organizations, venues and festivals such as with Strut n Fret Production House, Brisbane Powerhouse, Creative Generations, Woodford Folk Festival, Brisbane Festival and Adelaide Fringe Festival and Festival 2018 (Commonwealth Games 2018).
In 2012 Kristy completed her Honours thesis “How Circus training can enhance the well-being of children with autism and their families”. She then went on to open her circus school, Circus Stars, solely dedicated to children with autism in 2013, the topic of her recent TEDx talk (June 2017). Kristy completed her doctoral research in 2018 titled “Bodies, Temporality and Spatiality in Australian Contemporary Circus” and is currently an Adjunct Researcher at the Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research at Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia.

Kristy Seymour

Dr Kristy Seymour is a circus artist and emerging scholar with over 19 years’ experience in the Australian circus sector as a performer, trainer, artistic director and administrator and more recently, as a researcher. She has worked extensively in the youth circus sector leading a team of inspiring artists as the Head Trainer and Artistic Director of Flipside Circus in Brisbane 2004-2010. Working as a creative producer and choreographer, she has collaborated with leading arts organizations, venues and festivals such as with Strut n Fret Production House, Brisbane Powerhouse, Creative Generations, Woodford Folk Festival, Brisbane Festival and Adelaide Fringe Festival and Festival 2018 (Commonwealth Games 2018).
In 2012 Kristy completed her Honours thesis “How Circus training can enhance the well-being of children with autism and their families”. She then went on to open her circus school, Circus Stars, solely dedicated to children with autism in 2013, the topic of her recent TEDx talk (June 2017). Kristy completed her doctoral research in 2018 titled “Bodies, Temporality and Spatiality in Australian Contemporary Circus” and is currently an Adjunct Researcher at the Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research at Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia.