Photo Feature: Cirque Stratosphere at the Sydney Opera House

Usually when I go along to media calls, the thing that I am photographing is theatre.  As an actor, I understand the ebb and flow of linear storytelling and with music theatre, the timing of the swells and crescendos of the music to which the choreography is timed.  All of which allows me to prepare my shots and predict possible tableaus.


But Cirque Stratosphere is a modern style circus; the storytelling is more abstract and the music is often used to add atmosphere rather than rhythm.  A whole new challenge opened up for me to capture the feeling of this production.

The three acts that are performed for us are spectacular from any angle, but challenges continued to present themselves.  In particular the “Wheel Of Death” (a sentence that must be accompanied at every utterance by three descending dramatic chords), a spinning apparatus with a circular cage at each end of a long metal frame, almost caught me out.  As I followed one of the cages with my eye pressed up at my camera (the cage containing a man using his body to spin the whole contraption) I was completely unaware that I was missing the other chap in the other cage who was doing all the tricks.  Needless to say, lessons were learned; they say a watched pot never boils, but watching the wrong end of a spinning Wheel Of Death… I don’t know where I was going with that, but although the guy I was watching was cool, the other end was really quite amazing.


As I mentioned in my last article about this production, it is difficult to show the scale and spectacle of Cirque Stratosphere in photograph form, but I can tell you that even looking at the ‘wrong’ thing is entertaining.  As the great steel wheel slowed to a stop and the acrobat stepped off onto the stage, the call was over.  It was a challenge to capture this grand and ever-moving piece of theatre, but if you want to capture it too, you have only until the 19th…

David Hooley is a Sydney based actor and photographer.  For more information visit or visit his Facebook or Instagram page.

David Hooley

David Hooley is a Sydney based actor and photographer. A graduate of WAAPA and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland; he has a passion for new Australian works.  When not on stage he runs his own photographic business - more info at

David Hooley

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