Sidesault at The Melba
"Pushing circus into new places" (Theatrepress)
In 2017, across two weeks in November, Circus Oz launched the inaugural Sidesault at The Melba experimental circus festival generously supported by the City of Yarra. The festival featured five emerging and established independent circus companies presenting new work that ranged from astonishing physical stunts to outstanding circus poetry, with styles and approaches that spanned political satire, feminism and the roles of women across life stages, to provocative sideshow.
- Productions and companies presented in 2017:
- Casting Off – A Good Catch
- Unsuitable – Tumble Circus
- Nonstop – Time in Space
- Party Ghost – Poached Eggs & Asparagus
- Relax: Everything’s Fucked – The Syndicate Group
Several of these shows were critically recognised and have since gone on to national and international touring opportunities, speaking to this festival’s focus on innovation and harnessing circus to tell bigger stories. Casting Off recently won the Total Theatre and Jackson’s Lane Award for Circus at the 2018 Edinburgh Festival.
In addition to the shows, Circus Oz hosted a panel discussion, Risk and Innovation in Circus: What are the barriers and how can we lift them?, with panellists from the various shows, as well as Nicole Byer, CEO of Theatre Network Australia, and Rob Tannion, Circus Oz Artistic Director, which attracted an engaged audience of 100 local emerging and established circus artists.
In 2018 Theatre Network Australia hosted a and a grant writing workshop during Sidesaut at the Melba.