Circus Factory

MAAS_Circus Factory_editorialRoll up, roll up to the Powerhouse Museum’s circus spectacular, Circus factory – featuring all the wonder of the circus with live performance, sideshow favourites, local and international exhibits and vintage toys and novelties. A circus and carnival wonderland of this scale has never before been staged in Australia.

Until 3 May 2015, explorers of all ages will journey through a world of imagination and discovery, crafted in collaboration with renowned French scenographer Gérard Cholot and designer Alban Le Henry. Throughout the journey visitors will have the opportunity to test their skill and showmanship, be awed by feats of human creativity and wonder at rarities from near and distant shores.

“To borrow a colourful phrase from one of the carnival posters in our collection, Circus Factory represents “a delightfully daring” indication of the direction in which MAAS is heading,” said Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences Director, Rose Hiscock. “This exhibition is an immersive, hands-on experience for the whole family, glowing in neon, with a new discovery around every corner.”

In partnership with the Centre National du Costume de Scène (CNCS), Moulins, France, Circus Factory will present an exhibition of circus costumes and props that will explore ringmasters, performing with animals, acrobats, clowns, dressing rooms, accessories and the grand parade.

This magnificent exhibition of 60 circus costumes, drawn from Australian and international collections, focuses on the craft of designing outfits that express each circus performer’s specialty. Some of the costumes are over 100 years old.

A 100 year-old carousel from Craig Robson’s Fairground Follies collection will be on show, with rides offered all day, every day. On display will also be hilarious kinetic sculptures and contemporary mechanical figures created by Adelaide’s David Archer, who will conduct a series of workshops for children to build their own wacky wire bugs.

Visitors can delve a step further into sideshow activities like the Strongman Game and Laughing Clowns, with the opportunity to learn the scientific explanations that underlie the mystique.

Reflecting the vision of MAAS, over 200 items from the Museum’s vast collection will be on display throughout Circus Factory, including stunning objects and photographs from the never before seen collection of the famous Australian Wirth’s Circus. Also included will be a large number of early 20th century tin and diecast toys.

Join the Powerhouse Museum and be mesmerised by the neon lights of Circus Factory. Throughout the April holiday season, the Circus Factory arena will come alive, featuring a limited season of performances from the acclaimed Australian contemporary circus troupe, Circa.

Circus Factory
Powerhouse Museum, 500 Harris Street, Ultimo (Sydney)
Exhibition continues to 3 May 2015
Entry fees apply

For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Illustration of George Wirth performing as a clown, from his scrapbook. Gift of the Wirth family, 2012. Collection: Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences.