Following an action-packed national tour crossing Arnhem Land, a Sydney Big Top season, then a smash-hit international tour across America to Montreal, Circus Oz return home to their custom-built secret circus laboratory in the heart of Collingwood to cook up a brand spanking new show – But Wait…There’s More.
Circus Oz shows are co-created from the inspiration, ideas and energy derived from the unique skills of each member of the extremely diverse ensemble that are then woven into the core concept of the show like layers of a collage. One of those members is newbie to Circus Oz, Olivia Porter who says that being a part of Circus Oz is a very unique opportunity.
"Even though circus is still a smaller industry comparatively to theatre, dance and music, it is still a competitive field and the chance to be hired as a full-time performer is rare and very exciting. Working with Circus Oz gives performers like me an incredible opportunity to share work with audiences across the nation and the globe. I get an incredible insight into the mechanics of how a large-scale company runs, the perks of getting to work with incredible set, costume and prop designers, a full marketing team, accounts and production crew and a bunch of amazing performers that support and share their skills. It means a lot."
Porter's talents include Juggling, clowning, acrobatics, dance, skipping and cowbell. Interestingly, she began circus later in her life, comparatively to a lot of her peers. "I started doing workshops in Brisbane after I saw (now friend) Davy Sampford do an amazing juggling act at a festival in Queensland when I was 19," explains Porter. " I started doing workshops with Davy and then at Vulcana Women's Circus in Brisbane. It was an interesting transition into the performing world, as I felt as though I accidentally fell into it. I developed a style of juggling that people felt was unique and new. I was really nurtured and supported in the Brisbane circus community and I was given lots of opportunities and encouragement to develop my work there. I feel like I have the Brisbane circus community to thank for my influence and decision to become a circus performer."
"But if I had to pinpoint the moment in my life I wanted to make circus my career it would be after one of my first performances I did at a community circus show as a trainee at CIRCA. I rode the buzz of being in that show for the next 24 hours, and at the end of that 24 hours a close friend of mine suddenly died. I decided then that life can be unexpectedly short. I resigned my full time job and balanced training and odd jobs in hospitality until I got enough work as a trainer and a performer to survive comfortably."
Theatricality seems to be a big part of Porter's performer self, and, she admits, it went a long way towards her successful induction into the Circus Oz family.
"For an actor in a musical or a play, they are often given a role to perform. I have been hired for a role as the juggler in the Circus Oz show, but I feel the reason I was hired was because what is most important to me is to not just present a skill in itself, that when I am creating work, it is very important that I am layering my work with storytelling and theatrics, whether this is comprehended or understood by an audience, I don't really mind. As long as I am portraying an emotion or inspiring an audience to feel emotion is why I do the work I do. But in the end, as long as people enjoy what I am doing whether it be the skill itself or the theatrics I put behind it or both, I don't mind. But for me personally, I would never purely present juggling as just a skill. I perform to try and make things unexpected, fun and emotive."
Porter pursued juggling and admits it definitely takes a lot of time and discipline to learn to juggle." I played a lot of soccer when I was young, and this has played a big part in my juggling style as I enjoy using my feet a lot," she says. "But as I mentioned earlier, as a performing career, I feel like it found me. I never said as child “I want to be a circus performer when I grow up.” It felt as though a series of events lead me to this career. I have been doing it for eight years now and have loved every moment of it."
It’s early stages for Porter to date, as she has only been a part of the company since the beginning of this creative development, but she already heralds the crew as the best thing about performing with Circus Oz.
Circus Oz is a local brand that has been around since 1978. Extraordinary shows are toured both nationally and internationally and Circus Oz pride themselves on being an animal free circus that adults and children can enjoy together. Circus Oz are truly all Australian and promote the best of the Australian spirit: generosity, diversity, death-defying bravery, and a fair go for all.
"This is the chance to see an all-new cast of some of Australians finest circus performers," says Porter. "Come and see flying trapeze, sassy hula hooping, insane hoop diving, ridiculous dance and baton twirling, acrobatics on a unicycle, amazing music, quirky juggling…all mixed in with some layers of social commentary and a bundle of laughs and a absolute night of silliness and fun."
June 18 – July 13