Against all odds, Brisbane’s renowned Circa Contemporary Circus is poised for a triumphant season of performances to close off 2020.
Adapting to the new regulatory environment, Circa became the first arts organisation in Australia to receive a health exemption, permitting their artists to navigate social distancing rules and maintain physical contact during rehearsals.
The Company used this time to continue development on five new productions, and maintained a commitment to the employment of over 40 staff, when many of the world’s performance companies went into hibernation.
When restrictions on public gatherings eased in Queensland, the Company was among the first back on stage, as part of seasons at Brisbane Powerhouse and Home of the Arts (HOTA) on the Gold Coast. Short Pieces for Long Nights featured new works developed by Circa’s ensemble and artistic team during isolation, along with guest directors Lee Lewis and Thomas E.S. Kelly and cellist Matthew Jones from the Queensland Symphony Orchestra.
Artistic Director Yaron Lifschitz notes “Creating art is our oxygen. The upside of the current situation is that our entire ensemble has been together, in our home space, developing new work and refreshing our repertoire. We are ready to hit the road,” said Lifschitz.
This Spring, Circa returns to stages around Australia with 34 performances in eight venues across four states, starting with a sold-out season of the epic Leviathan as part of Louise Bezzina’s first Brisbane Festival program.
Closing off Circa’s remarkable 2020 are seasons of Circa’s global hit Humans and family-favourite circus escapade inspired by Camille Saint-Saëns delightful salute to the animal kingdom, Carnival of the Animals at QPAC. Executive Director Shaun Comerford said this would make six home seasons for Circa in 2020 – the most the Brisbane-based company has ever done.
Humans’ return to the stage at QPAC on 18 November comes eight months after the abrupt and premature end of its European tour. Hailed by critics around the world as a masterpiece of circus performance art, Humans has been performed 233 times in 19 countries to a global audience of 132,656.
The busy end to 2020 is not dissimilar to the start for Circa. “As the coronavirus swept across the globe in March, our ensemble was in Paris, at the start of what should have been a two-month European tour of Humans. At that stage, we had already premiered three new creations, and presented 72 performances of six different shows in 15 cities around the world.”
More than 100 performances are only a quarter of what Circa normally presents, but in the post-COVID world, the company is thrilled just to be back on stage.
“In 2021 we hope to premiere some of our most ambitious works to date, and we will continue to develop these within the boundaries of social distancing restrictions. Adapting to the new environment created by COVID-19 is an imperative for live performance,” said Comerford.
Leviathan: 3 – 12 Sep, QLD
Peepshow: 10 Oct, QLD / 4 – 6 Nov, ACT
Sacre: 15 – 17 Oct, NSW
Wolfgang’s Magical Musical Circus: 29 Sep – 16 Oct, WA / 6 – 7 Nov, ACT
Humans: 18 – 22 Nov, QLD
Carnival of Animals: 16 – 20 Dec, QLD