Four decades on – Circus Oz rocks into a milestone year 

Circus Oz 2008 Ensemble Teeterboard - photo by Rob BlackburnIn 2018, the iconic Melbourne-born arts company, Circus Oz will celebrate forty amazing years of groundbreaking Australian contemporary circus.

Maintaining a strong commitment to creating circus that is accessible to everyone, the core values of Circus Oz – humanity, hilarity, community and diversity – remain unchanged as the pillars that underpin each and every project the company undertakes and the shows it presents.

As Circus Oz continues to develop, question and craft the way its infamous brand of circus is created, this anniversary year has a jam-packed program that includes national and international tours; devising and premiering multiple main stage works; exploring and nurturing the kernels of possible future shows with different collaborators; and connecting with even more independent circus artists and companies through the Sidesault program.

Circus Oz Artistic Director Rob Tannion, whose vision for the company is to create a robust and versatile portfolio of shows and projects, explains “2018 is significant milestone for Circus Oz. We’ve already kicked off with a huge Model Citizens four-week Sydney Festival season at Circus City in Parramatta and recently premiered a sell out season of NEON – the gloriously gaudy and glammed up ‘80s circus cabaret at the Karralyka Centre’s Ringwood Spiegeltent. And this was just in January! We have an exciting and diverse schedule of creative projects lined up for the rest of the year.”

The exact birth date for Circus Oz remains an enigma, tangled in history, memory and the mayhem of the late ‘70s. Was it 16 January 1978, when the founding members purchased the canvas to make the first Circus Oz Big Top? Or was it 9 February 1978, the date the company was incorporated? Or was it 13 March 1978, when Circus Oz had their inaugural show in a tent in Alexandra Gardens during Moomba? Or some people believe that the significant moment was at the Pram Factory in Carlton.

“I believe we were born in the Pram Factory tower (where some artists may have been living or at least sleeping) after a long meeting with beer, whisky and some drugs (it was the ‘70s man!),” said Circus Oz founding member, Tim Coldwell. “We were a ratbag collective of circus artists from across the country who voted to amalgamate New Circus and Soapbox Circus and charge forward into a new future as Circus Oz.”

Circus Oz promotes the best of the Australian spirit and a fair go for all; actively champions accessibility and diversity; and choses to celebrate the potential of the human body to inspire and entertain audiences. In their fortieth year, Circus Oz aims to share circus widely and empower participants and audiences across a huge schedule of programs and activities around Australia and worldwide.

For more more information about Circus Oz and its activities in 2018, visit: for details.

Image: Circus Oz 2008, Ensemble Teeterboard – photo by Rob Blackburn

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