Announcing CIRCFest22 Meanjin

Club-Briefs-photo-by-Lachie-Douglas-@somefxCluster Arts is excited to share with industry a spectacular new festival, based in Brisbane, dedicated to showcasing the best of Australian contemporary circus and physical theatre.

In a unique partnership with international circus centres Tohu in Montreal, CIRCFest22 Meanjin firmly establishes Brisbane’s reputation as a global leader in Circus and Physical Theatre and fosters exciting international touring opportunities.

Over 10 days from 21 April to 1 May 2022 more than 200 extraordinary performers will thrill, entertain and mesmerize audiences with 68 diverse performances across 5 venues in Brisbane including Brisbane Powerhouse, Metro Arts, The Ron Hurley Theatre and the Kingston Butter Factory.

The brainchild of Cluster Arts, the nations celebrated production house for performing arts Circus & Physical Theatre companies, CIRCFest22 Meanjin will showcase First Nations artists, independent companies, and Australian International superstars of the circus world.

CIRCFest22 Meanjin offers everything from blazing burlesque to stiletto funambulists, powerful physical theatre to radical drag, crazy clowns to breathtaking acrobats.

The full program will be revealed early in 2022, but Directors Deb Wilks and Kate Malone have hinted at a world premiere collaboration between two of Brisbane’s leading companies, 12 Queensland premiers, and a closing night spectacle celebrating Brisbane’s colourful underground history as a circus city.

They are also putting a call out to Brisbane artists who are interested in developing a solo work. Two artists will be selected and commissioned to create a 20 minute solo piece, with artistic support by a Director of their choice.

“CIRCFest22 Meanjin brings together a bold and ambitious program that celebrates circus in all its richly diverse forms – there is something for everyone. The focus has been on delivering a festival where the artists are at the heart of every decision,” said Cluster Arts co-directors Deb Wilks and Kate Malone.

A key industry activation will be CIRCFest22 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 APAM.

“The APAM Office is looking forward to partnering with CIRCFest Meanjin in 2022 on ways to connect artists, presenters, and producers nationally and internationally with Australia’s thriving circus and physical theatre community,” said Catherine Jones, APAM Director.

It is hoped in the future, as borders reopen for touring international buyers and presenters will be invited to attend as well as Brisbane audiences being able to experience international circus companies’ performances.

“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,” said Ruth Wikler, Deputy Director of Programming, TOHU from Montreal.

“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.”

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.

Australia is recognised internationally as a leader in the artform and Brisbane is its hothouse, 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.

CIRCFest22 Meanjin will see Brisbane come alive with death defying feats, breathtaking spectacles and something to entertain and engage everyone from the subversive and sexy for adults only to the fun and thrilling for the family.

CIRCFest22 Meanjin will run Thursday 21 April – Sunday 1 May 2022. Full program announced in 2022. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Thom Worrell in Bite Club – photo by Lachie Douglas @somefx