Circus Oz senior artistic associate, Antonella Casella, talks about the Strong Women program.
What is Strong Women about?
Circus Oz has always challenged conventions and ideas about the capability of women, as well as being committed to gender equity, within Circus Oz and beyond. We believe great role models are essential for women and girls of all ages. Strong Women supports this by providing advanced training and professional development for exceptional emerging female circus performers.
We recently held a Strong Women panel to raise funds for the Strong Women masterclasses. It was presented by a panel of Strong Women from Australian business, theatre, aviation, circus and media. The panel discussed “What makes a Strong Woman today and how we can inspire the Strong Women of tomorrow”.
The panel included Circus Oz board chair Wendy McCarthy AO, Ilbijerri Theatre artistic director Rachael Maza, Jetstar chief pilot Georgina Sutton and our own Strong Woman and previous Circus Oz performer Mel Fyfe.
Discussion facilitator was the warm, witty and smart Libbi Gorr. Following the discussion guests were invited to witness the thrills of the female-empowered Circus Oz show, TWENTYSIXTEEN under the Big Top.
What happens in the Strong Women masterclasses?
In 2015 we conducted our inaugural Strong Women Circus masterclasses, a program supporting the development of five female circus artists and an emerging female circus director, Nicci Wilkes. From a cow character on aerial silks, to five women on a bicycle, the project created wonderfully inventive and powerful work. Following the masterclasses, several of the participants went on to tour internationally with some of Australia’s most exciting small circus ensembles.
In a few weeks we will run our second series of masterclasses, to be conducted by the project’s lead director, and award-winning performance maker, Maude Davey.
Davey will also be supported by emerging director, Carly Sheppard, a dancer and choreographer, descending from the Wallangamma and Takalaka tribes of north Queensland. We are also delighted to have legendary Brisbane acrobat, Rudi Mineur, as head acrobatics trainer, and acclaimed director and physical theatre artist, Anna Yen, as movement facilitator. They will be working with eight young female circus artists, including an independent ensemble of women circus artists – “The Element of Consequence”, as well as a number of vibrant emerging circus artists from throughout Australia.
Strong Women and Sidesault
Strong Women is a part of our Circus Oz Sidesault program, which is all about taking risks, leaping off the edge and creating a hub for circus innovation. Whether it be conducting the Strong Women masterclasses, opening up circus as a form of expression for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, or bringing an eclectic group of small companies together to make new work, our Sidesault program is supporting and inspiring a new generation of circus artists.
Incredible alumni from these programs feature in Circus Oz shows every year.
17 August 2016