Circus Oz Sidesault – a festival of experimental circus

Circus Oz Sidesault at the Melba Relax EF AARIn the ongoing pursuit to challenge, push and develop contemporary circus artists and the art form, Circus Oz has announced the inaugural Sidesault at The Melba festival in Collingwood over two weeks this November.

Sidesault at The Melba will feature five emerging and established circus companies presenting new works ranging from breathtaking physical stunts to outstanding circus poetry, with styles and approaches that span political satire, to feminism and the roles of women across life stages, to provocative sideshow.

Circus Oz Senior Artistic Associate, Antonella Casella has co-curated Sidesault at The Melba with Melba Spiegeltent Producer, Halley-Jean Buckram, and explained that circus is an art form that is continually reinvented by new generations and different artistic collaborations.

“In many different ways all the shows in this festival are focused on the ‘circus body’ and placing it in a new context – whether that be the female body across a lifetime, the body as a site of destruction and pain, the body as something ridiculous or the body as a site of explosive power and human celebration,” said Casella.

The inaugural Sidesault at The Melba festival includes:

Casting Off  – A GOOD CATCH
8 – 11 November – 6.30pm
This is not your typical circus yarn. kNit is 29, Pearl is 40 and Slip is over 50 but under 60. Biologically, socially and psychologically their needs and concerns differ. Casting off stereotypes these acrobats devise without a leader, leap from heights, tumble around corners and catch-up with each other in precarious positions while celebrating the accumulated moments. Featuring Deb Batton, Sharon Gruenert and Spenser Inwood.

Unsuitable – Tumble Circus
8 – 11 November – 8.15pm 
Unsuitable is a circus comedy with confused jugglers, dangerous aerialists, dispirited clowns and broken acrobats. It’s about displaced and marginalised people trapped in a world of pain. Featuring Tina Segner, Ken Fanning and Angelique Ross.

Nonstop – Time in Space
15 – 18 November – 6.30pm
Nonstop draws audiences into the limits and possibilities of the human body both physically and mentally. The music influences the way the acrobats move, think and feel. Nonstop brings a fresh approach to circus that combines tricks, dance, group acrobatics and juggling into an experimental circus show. Featuring Dylan Phillips, Hamish McCourty, Lisa Goldsworthy, Mark Longo and Josh Croall.

Party Ghost – Poached Eggs & Asparagus 
15 – 18 November – 8.15pm
Do we celebrate our ‘death day’ in the afterlife as we do our birthday in the land of the living? A ghoulish exploration of the post-mortem mystery through an absurd pop-cultural lens, Party Ghost is part circus and part séance – it’s a macabre suite of the grindhouse kind. Created from the limbs of drag queens, the blood of acrobats and the guts of misunderstood clowns, Party Ghost is a wacky Frankenstein monster of a show. Featuring Jarred Dewey and Olivia Porter.

Relax: Everything’s Fucked The Syndicate Group
15 – 18 November – 9.45pm
Watch in awe as these punk rock daredevils go bigger, better and weirder than ever as they challenge the boundaries of decency and common sense with spectacular sideshow stunts, electrifying burlesque, incredible escapes and whip sharp political satire. Brimming with ideas, wit and anarchistic energy, Relax: Everything’s Fucked is a carnival cult-hit that pushes boundaries, tantalises senses and subverts expectations. Featuring Captain Ruin, Samora Squid and Elle Diablo. (Recommended for 16 years +)

Sidesault at The Melba
The Melba Spiegeltent, 35 Johnston Street, Collingwood
Festival: 8 – 18 November 2017
Bookings: Casting OffUnsuitable / NonstopParty Ghost / Relax: Everything’s Fucked 
Bookings: Festival Pass (2 – 5 shows)

For more information, visit: for details.

Image: The Syndicate Group presents Relax: Everything’s Fucked (supplied)