Flipside CEO Robert Kronk talks all things circus!

Flipside Circus and arTour have collaborated on one of the first large-scale tours since the COVID crisis hit Australia – and it’s all for the kids!

The all-abilities workshops for kids aged 2 to 18 will involve a 2-day training residency, culminating in a performance. Participants will learn a series of new skills including juggling, acro-balance, trapeze, and hula-hooping, as well as improving overall confidence and fitness levels.

Robert Kronk

Robert Kronk is the Creative Producer and CEO of Flipside Circus, as well as an accomplished director, writer, dramaturge, and producer. He has worked with companies nationally including La Boite, HotHouse Theatre, QPAC, and Brisbane Festival. Robert has written a number of plays including All Other Places, Snagged, We That Are Left, and The Longest Minute.

With the workshops well underway, we had a chat with Robert about how Flipside are working through COVID to bring Circus to the youth of Queensland.

Could you tell me a bit about your history with Circus? When did you first get involved?

I have worked beside circus artists for most of my career – on Brisbane’s independent stages, touring, and in clown/new vaudeville venues. But, when I started at Flipside was the first time I had been really immersed in circus. It’s been a fantastic (and steep) learning curve over the last three and a bit years. I have loved combining my clown, writing, and dramaturgy background with circus.

How have Flipside as a company navigated the COVID crisis?

The great thing about circus (and Flipside) is we are, by nature, very adaptable. Flipside’s mission is to connect and empower communities through circus. COVID-19 only highlighted the value of what we do and the need we all have to connect. Our goal has been to ensure the future of the organisation and to maintain connections with our community and artists. Our staff, board, and supporters have been amazing as we’ve adapted over these last few months. In the first days of the pandemic, we developed a range of online programs. At the same time, and to reduce costs, we moved from our Alderley training space and put our gear into storage. As soon as face-to-face programs became possible again we set up our new temporary pop-up circus training space here at Northshore. It’s been amazing to see our artists, students, and friends coming back and into the new space. In the coming weeks, we will break ground on a new permanent home that also supports Queensland’s circus sector. This will help ensure we can keep training, making new performances, supporting communities, and supporting Queensland’s peerless circus artists.

Flipside is one of the only major circus companies to travel regionally with their programming – what have been some highlights of sharing the craft?

We love going back to communities over a number of years and building long term relationships. We’ve been lucky to have made so many friends and found so many great local champions who help us get back to town. One of the biggest highlights would be working with young bull-riders in Hughenden and seeing how easily they transfer those skills, the balance, the core strength, and the fearlessness, into circus.

Why is circus such an important art form?

Circus is a great way to tell stories and explore ideas. It’s democratic. It’s spectacular, intimate, funny, dangerous, challenging, and Queensland’s really good at it. Queensland is home to world-leading circus artists and companies. For young people, we believe it has a great capacity to encourage them to dream and aspire, work hard, show off, laugh, trust each other, and have fun.

For more information and tour dates, please visit www.artour.com.au

Gabi Bergman

Gabi Bergman is a Melbourne-based performer and educator, and is the current Deputy Editor-in-Chief of AussieTheatre.com. She holds a Double Arts degree in Theatre Studies and Film/Screen Studies and a Master of Teaching (Secondary Education). Gabi has always been an avid lover of theatre, specifically musicals, and spends way too much money than she’d like to admit on tickets. Her most prized possession is her crate of theatre programs.

Gabi Bergman

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