What’s On: CIRCFest22 Meanjin (Cluster Arts)

Image credit Embellysh

CIRCFest22 Meanjin

21 April – 1 May 2022

Various locations

Tickets are now on sale for CIRCFest22 Meanjin, a new Brisbane-based festival dedicated to showcasing the best of Australian contemporary circus and physical theatre. Through a unique partnership with international circus centre TOHU in Montreal, CIRCFest22 Meanjin intends to further establish Brisbane’s reputation as a global leader and foster exciting international touring opportunities.

Over 10 days of the festival, more than 114 performers will thrill, entertain, and mesmerise audiences with 76 diverse performances across 6 venues in Brisbane including Brisbane Powerhouse, Metro Arts, The Tivoli, La Boite Theatre, The Ron Hurley Theatre, and Kingston Butter Factory.

Circus has come a long way from the sawdust big top with a ringmaster whip-cracking tired lions through hoops – Australian contemporary circus is a modern performance artform of breathtaking human athleticism, raw emotional power, pure entertainment, and sharp social commentary. CIRCFest22 Meanjin offers everything from blazing burlesque to stiletto funambulists, powerful physical theatre to radical drag, crazy clowns to breathtaking acrobats. The brainchild of Cluster Arts, CIRCFest22 Meanjin will showcase First Nations artists, independent companies, and Australian international superstars of the circus world.

Directors Deb Wilks and Kate Malone have programmed 14 Queensland premieres celebrating Brisbane’s colourful underground history as a circus city, and say that the festival will bring together a bold and ambitious program that celebrates circus in all its richly diverse forms.

Ruth Wikler Deputy Director of Programming, TOHU from Montreal, said, “The proposed virtual exchange between Montreal’s International Contemporary Circus Market (MICC) & Brisbane’s Cluster Arts will draw on the momentum built over the past two years. CIRCFest22 Meanjin’s international digital platform, followed by the MICC’s in-person market, provide an ideal opportunity for this & underpin a reciprocal touring arrangement between Canada & Australia – two global circus countries.”

Australia is recognised internationally as a leader in the artform, and Brisbane is home to companies like Circa, Casus Circus, Briefs Factory, Hoopla Clique, ARC Circus and Chelsea McGuffin & Co, who are in high demand on every international festival circuit.

As well as a public facing program, CIRCFest 22 Meanjin will have key industry activations, hosting a number of forums & sector development opportunities including a First Nations led sector development for circus & physical theatre. This will be done in conjunction with The Australian Performing Arts Market (APAM). It is hoped in the future, as borders reopen for touring, international buyers and presenters will attend, along with Brisbane audiences being able to experience international circus companies’ performances.

For ticketing, programme, and further information, visit the festival website

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