This September, Melbourne audiences will witness the phenomenal skills and imagination of the circus world’s future stars, when the National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA) in collaboration with one of Australia’s most lauded playwrights, Stephen Sewell, presents Empty Bodies.
Empty Bodies is a circus-drama fusion considering the uniqueness and common elements of what it is that makes us human. The production is NICA’s largest second year ensemble show to date and features a set made from thousands of items of pre-loved clothing.
Our journey from birth to death, Empty Bodies examines our representation of self through language and clothing. We are born from nothing and enter as a blank slate. On the journey we clothe ourselves with whatever we can, scurrying like refugees across a barren land snatching at love and meaning. What does it mean? Nothing. Then what’s it worth? Everything.
The twenty-eight Bachelor of Circus Arts students have spent thirty hours a week for the last two years honing their circus and performance skills with the best trainers from across the world. They present an array of group and solo acts including Hand-balancing, Trapeze, Juggling, Chinese Pole, Hula Hoops, Acrobatics, Contortion, Aerial Straps, Roue Cyr, Tissu, Pitching and more.
Empty Bodies is a new work devised in collaboration with esteemed Australian playwright, Stephen Sewell. Head of Writing for Performance at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), Sewell is an award-winning stage and screenwriter whose work delves into multiple fields of study, from economics and politics to philosophy and psychology. His major credits include acclaimed Australian film The Boys, and an extensive range of work with actor Max Gillies.
Empty Bodies is co-conceived and created by director Zebastian Hunter – an elite international performer with 15 years of industry experience, performing in Cirque Du Soleil shows Alegria, and Quidam. Hunter’s first show, DownPour by A4 Circus Ensemble toured regionally, nationally and internationally.
Set and costume design is by recent NIDA graduate Stephanie Howe who, since graduating from a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Design for Performance) in 2015, has worked on theatre production, Infected – directed by Charles Sanders and written by Stephen Sewell; and films Cooped Up directed by Kane Guglielmi; and Safe Neighborhood – a new American horror film.
Composition and sound design is by Melbourne based artist Ian Moorhead who has worked around Australia and internationally with numerous companies, while Canadian teacher, aerialist and dancer Meaghan Wegg, who has toured globally with Cirque Du Soleil, 7Fingers, Cirque Eloize and Pigeon’s International will choreograph the show.
NICA is Australia’s Centre of Excellence for training in contemporary circus arts. It is one of eight national arts training institutes and offers Australia’s only Bachelor of Circus Arts. Graduates of NICA have gone on to pursue exciting careers both locally and internationally and have contributed to the development of Melbourne’s vibrant circus arts industry.
NICA National Circus Centre, 39 – 59 Green Street, Prahran
Season: 7 – 10 September 2016
Information and Bookings: www.nica.com.au
Image: Cast of Empty Bodies – photo by Aaron Walker Photography