News & Reviews

Four decades on – Circus Oz rocks into a milestone year

21st February 2018

In 2018, Circus Oz, the iconic Melbourne-born arts company, will celebrate forty amazing years of ground breaking Australian contemporary circus.

Maintaining a strong commitment to creating circus that is accessible to everyone, the core values of Circus Oz – humanity, hilarity, community and diversity – remain unchanged as the pillars that underpin each and every project the company undertakes and the shows it presents.

As Circus Oz continues to develop, question and craft the way its infamous brand of circus is created, this anniversary year has a jam-packed program that includes national and international tours; devising and premiering multiple main stage works; exploring and nurturing the kernels of possible future shows with different collaborators; and connecting with even more independent circus artists and companies through the Sidesault program.

Circus Oz Artistic Director Rob Tannion, whose vision for the company is to create a robust and versatile portfolio of shows and projects, explains “2018 is significant milestone for Circus Oz. We’ve already kicked off with a huge Model Citizens four-week Sydney Festival season at Circus City in Parramatta and recently premiered a sell out season of NEON – the gloriously gaudy and glammed up ‘80s circus cabaret at the Karralyka Centre’s Ringwood Spiegeltent. And this was just in January. We have an exciting and diverse schedule of creative projects lined up for the rest of the year.”

The exact birth date for Circus Oz remains an enigma, tangled in history, memory and the mayhem of the late ‘70s.
Was it 16 January 1978, when the founding members purchased the canvas to make the first Circus Oz Big Top?
Or was it 9 February 1978, the date the company was incorporated?
Or was it 13 March 1978, when Circus Oz had their inaugural show in a tent in Alexandra Gardens during Moomba?
Or some people believe that the significant moment was at the Pram Factory in Carlton.

Circus Oz founding member, Tim Coldwell, explains “I believe we were born in the Pram Factory tower (where some artists may have been living or at least sleeping) after a long meeting with beer, whisky and some drugs (it was the ‘70s man!). We were a ratbag collective of circus artists from across the country who voted to amalgamate New Circus and Soapbox Circus and charge forward into a new future as Circus Oz.”

Circus Oz promotes the best of the Australian spirit and a fair go for all; actively champions accessibility and diversity; and choses to celebrate the potential of the human body to inspire and entertain audiences.

In their fortieth year, Circus Oz aims to share circus widely and empower participants and audiences across a huge schedule of programs and activities around Australia and worldwide.

  • Jan Model Citizens directed by Rob Tannion – Sydney Festival, Parramatta
  • Jan NEON directed by Malia Walsh – Ringwood Spiegeltent, Ringwood
  • Feb –Mar The Fibonacci Project creative collaboration with Les 7 Doigts – Circus Oz, Collingwood
  • Apr BLAKflip masterclass with First Nations artists – Circus Oz, Collingwood
  • Apr – May Model Citizens directed by Rob Tannion – Tour: Victoria
  • May Underage creative collaboration with Company 2 on tight wire – Circus Oz, Collingwood
  • Jun – Jul Precarious co-directed by Kate Fryer and Rob Tannion Premiere: Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, Melbourne Gardens
  • Jul – Sep Model Citizens directed by Rob Tannion – Tour: Tasmania, Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales
  • Sep Collaboration with Melbourne Symphony Orchestra – Premiere: Hamer Hall, Melbourne
  • Oct – Nov Model Citizens directed by Rob Tannion – Tour: Spain and Germany
  • Nov Rock Bang directed by Rob Tannion with Otto & Astrid – Premiere: Melbourne
  • Oct Sidesault at The Melba festival of experimental circus – Circus Oz, Collingwood
  • Nov Education show and workshops – Circus Oz, Collingwood
  • Nov –Dec Collaboration with Western Australia Symphony Orchestra – Remount: Perth Concert Hall, Perth
  • Ongoing Sidesault supporting independent circus artists and companies – Circus Oz, Collingwood
  • Ongoing The Melba Spiegeltent events, shows and festivals – Circus Oz, Collingwood
  • Ongoing Circus Classes (term based) for kids, teenagers and adults – Circus Oz, Collingwood
  • Ongoing Community and education programs including the Deadly Elders program and with Broadmeadows Special Developmental School
Four decades on – Circus Oz rocks into a milestone year -