On the Couch with Harley Mann

NICA Dispersion Harley MannWho is Harley Mann?
I am a Waka Waka man from Queensland. I grew up in Sydney on Gadigal Country. As a performer, I specialise in aerial rope and diabolo. When I’m not studying the Bachelor of Circus Arts at the National Institute of Circus Arts – I am performing both skills as part of Casus’ award-winning show Chasing Smoke. I am also the Director of Na Djinang Circus’ production Social Staples.

I have been working and training as a member of the circus industry since 2003. I have been honing my skills as an artist from the teachings of elders of the community, with hope to pass this knowledge onto the next generation.

Drawing on my own Aboriginal heritage as inspiration, I founded Na Djinang Circus in 2017 and since then have been working with a number of creatives and artists to present our premiere piece Social Staples at festivals around Australia, including Catapult Circus Festival 2018, Adelaide Fringe 2019, and Melbourne Fringe 2018 – for which Social Staples was nominated for Best Circus.

I was also honoured with the 2018 Melbourne Fringe Award for Best Emerging Circus Artist. I was also chosen as the youth representative for the 2018 Circus Talk event as a part of the Sydney Festival.

Who inspires you and why?
My mum has always inspired me, she’s a hard-working woman who, despite setbacks, has always put her best foot forward. By working to create opportunities for her children and helping those in need, my mum continues to inspire me to defy odds and help where I can.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I think making a difference or changing the world is a really big, scary task and not for the faint of heart. For the rest of us that aren’t up to that challenge, I think all we need to do is share with each other – share our stories, our knowledge, our respect and our happiness.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
The beach, preferably Kiama on the south coast of NSW – but anywhere with sand and waves will do.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I always find time to take them to Eau De Vie for a cheeky drink.

What are you currently reading?
Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe and The Bare Foot Investor by Scott Pape.

What are you currently listening to?
Kendrick Lamar’s album Damn and Electric Fields’ 2000 and whatever.

Happiness is?
Fluid – it’s relevant to the things around you and is constantly changing. I believe it comes from the people in your life and the moments you share.

What does the future hold for you?
I’m not sure, but I hope that it’s full of strange and exciting moments in unique places, with lots of quirky and loving people.

Harley will be featured in NICA’s latest production, Dispersion at the NICA National Circus Centre: 18 – 22 June 2019. For more information, visit: www.nica.com.au for details.

Image: Harley Mann (supplied)