Circus, Professional Development

ACAPTA Circus Sesh at Gold Coast

On Friday 28 March 2014, I attended the ACAPTA Circus Sesh at Gold Coast at Rabbit and Cocoons Arts Hub.

ACAPTA Gold Coast Sesh Program

Let me tell you about the Rabbit and Cocoons before I give an overview of the ACAPTA Sesh at Gold Coast.  This place … wow!!  Its very artsy and a place for artists to network and potentially collaborate on a project.  You can visit their website: I was saying to someone that we need a place like this in Brisbane as currently the spaces are not in a precinct and its all over the places.  Also spaces for circus artists are very limited.  I am finding out the hard way.  I will just have to practice at the Powerhouse as it had the right height with the right rigging equipment and so forth.

It has been an interesting day of discussion and networking.  I am glad to be attending this event and I was told that the members of City of Gold Coast Council has never seen an Auslan Interpreters at events like this. I was shocked and glad that I was able to make a difference in terms of providing awareness about marginalised communities such as deaf community.

Postcard/Email from the Future

Anni Davey
Email was read by Rockie Stone as Anni was not be able to present at the ACAPTA Gold Coast Sesh.  She wrote two emails, one to her mum and other to the president of ACAPTA.  Hilarious emails although it raised few issues such as community based circus performers disappearing due to lack of financial supports, insurance rate is being ridiculously expensive and no space for circus performers.

Kristy Seymour
Kristy is the founder of Circus Stars which is a specialised Circus training program for children with Autism.  Talked about her research and the work that she does with autism children through circus training.  The issues raised were training facilities and the future of youth circus.

I like her term – “Circademic” meaning the study of circus.

Shien Chee
The postcard was presented by Alice Caldwell.  Her postcard from the future talked about the small c and big C in the 2020.  Also the need for collaboration between small c and big C to ensure the small c does not disappear.

Darcy Grant
Darcy mimed part of his presentation from the future.  The issue he raised was the space, insurance and youth circus. Also the potential for small c to disappear.

I enjoyed each postcard from four different people, they each paints gloomy pictures of the future circus performers. Insurance. Space. Youth Circus. Financial Support.

Networking and Collaboration
The activity for Networking was 2 minutes speed networking activity.  This is bit like speed dating however its networking and getting to know who they are.  I have met amazing people and majority of them works in youth circus sectors.  Some were performers and other were from performing arts hub.

Rockie Stone – A room with a view… to create
She did a play in the first part, she was talking on the phone to many different venues while practising her acrobats act.  The point of this provocation was to talk about space availability for circus performers requiring the right floor, right height and right space for creative development.  Most circus performers will make do with their own backyards and space within the house. Recently she visited a place in France, Circus Next which is based in La Grainerie which is a place for roaming circus artists to do their creative development.  Also she talked about financial support for circus artists to continue doing their work however they must do 2 performances a year in France.  La Grainerie Circus Space

I agree with her.  I recently went through a whole lists of possible venue in Brisbane and it is only leaving me with places like Brisbane Powerhouse, Circa training facility and Flipside Circus facilities.  I do not mind using their space although I would like to have my own space to do creative development without having to do it in front of others or trying to compete for the space amongst the performers.  Brisbane needs a arts hub for all types of theatre performers including circus.  A good size space, with good height, floor and rigging equipments.

Although I don’t agree with financial supports – I am more afraid of people providing boring acts rather than being creative – 2 performances a year … risky.  I prefer to have financial support for creative development, collaboration work and providing outstanding and risky performance – perhaps once a year.  Although what about arts workers or an arts organisation with real purposes??  I am still in airs with the idea of financial support.

Bernard Yu – Circus… Socially Yours? – Variations on Social Circus
Bernard talks about Social Circus for the use of social justice and social goods using Cirque du Soleil as an example.  Cirque du Soleil targets at risk groups to deliver circus programs to enhance and encourage self-esteem and trusts as well as developing social skills.  Then he went on to talk about what Flipside Circus has been doing to develop the social circus program regional areas.

I personally felt that most community circus organisations across Australia has been doing social circus for the last 20 years focusing on marginalised groups. They are becoming the forgotten community circus organisations while the mainstream circus takes the recognition for their work.  I think it is time to recognise these community organisations for their hard work.

Celia White – What makes circus contemporary?
Celia talks about the art form of the circus today as circus contemporary which is also known as cirque nouveau. Previously, it used to be acts by acts and didn’t really connect well together.  Now performers are using circus acts within a story and becoming more integrated.  Although what makes circus contemporary? The circus has evolved for the last 40 years and the direction of circus is becoming more and more mainstream like for example social circus and riskier circus acts.

I would like to do some research into contemporary circus.

Cafe Conversations
I chose two topics – Collaborations; and Emerging Artists and Career Pathways.

Interesting conversations about collaborations from various area, like for example, collaborating with other artists to hire space suitable for all artists, collaborating with artists to work in a creative development project and collaborating with artists for Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast.  This topic was very broad and needs to be explored further.

Emerging Artists and Career Pathways
Another broad topic and most of the conversations was about youth circus performers.  I made a mention about deaf and disabled performers although again, broad topic.  There was few areas that I wanted to explore that is not about performing but about the technical side of things like for example, entertainment rigging.  The current process for rigging does not match the entertainment rigging and where do we get our technical experience for circus performance in terms of rigging and building circus equipments.

Overall of the ACAPTA Gold Coast Sesh
I have to say, wow!  We covered a lot of issues in one day although there is still more to explore and the issues that needs to be discussed.  I thoroughly enjoyed the session and meeting new faces. I look forward to reading the action plan that the ACAPTA will develop from this sesh.

News for Gold Coast Communities
There is funding for Gold Coast performers through the council’s RADF program.  Also if you are interested in being part of the Commonwealth Games 2018 in Gold Coast,  it is good time to start participating in events that the City of Gold Coast is organising as part of preparing for 2018.

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