A visually spectacular and aural feast as the combined talents of the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra (WSO) and Legs on the Wall ( Legs ) unite to bring us NEXT CHAPTERS ABOVE/BELOW .It was performed and filmed at the Concourse , Chatswood as part of the Chatswood Bites season and streamed by the Australian Digital Concert Hall. 

Musically we hear contemporary classical works, mostly by Australian composers but also Arvo Part. Included are Elena Kats-Chernin’s Wild Swans Suite (which accentuates the use of harp, piano and celeste) and Graeme Koehne’s Just Walk Beside Me. Not forgetting Matthew Hindson’s The Stars Above Us All

They are joined by soprano Susannah Lawergren,.  in a rich, multi-layered, highly accomplished performance energetically, enthusiastically led by Willoughby Symphony conductor Dr. Sarah Penicka-Smith.

There are great sequences showing the Orchestra.  The three performers from Legs on the Wall, Isabel Estrella , Anna McCulla and Romain Hassanin, perform on the thrust stage at the front of the Orchestra. Sometimes, very briefly, Lawergren also ‘flies‘ while singing. Continue reading NEXT CHAPTERS ABOVE/BELOW : A WONDROUS EXPERIENCE


As part of CHATSWOOD CULTURE BITES, Willoughby Symphony Orchestra is  proud to join forces once again with powerhouse aerialists LEGS ON THE WALL to  present one show only on Saturday 19 March at The Concourse Chatswood – the  cultural heart of the North Shore. 

LEGS ON THE WALL is renowned as the thriving heart of physical theatre in Australia  and is known nationally and internationally for its exuberant synergy of circus, theatre  and dance. Established in 1984 by a group of young artists busking on the streets of  Sydney, ‘Legs’ has gone on to become a mature global cultural export that has performed around the world reaching audiences in their thousands through its outdoor  work (and millions via television viewers).  

Audiences will be uplifted by the sweeping sounds of the Willoughby Symphony  Orchestra as renowned soprano Susannah Lawergren joins three aerialists from  LEGS ON THE WALL to float high above combining a sea of sound with aerial beauty.  Continue reading CHATSWOOD CULTURE BITES : NEXT CHAPTERS II


This festive season, Cirque Stratosphere – a spectacular new circus from the creators of CIRCUS 1903 (2016) and last summer’s smash-hit The Illusionists: Direct from Broadway – will transform the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall into a futuristic space-age utopia for a strictly limited season from 24-29 December 2019.

A dazzling new show, Cirque Stratosphere features gravity-defying acts on a scale never seen before at the Opera House. For six nights only, a troupe of Olympic-standard acrobats and gymnasts cast by The Works Entertainment will demonstrate that even the sky isn’t the limit. Continue reading CIRQUE STRATOSPHERE @ SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE


In association with the Russian State Circus Company and Moscow’s Nikulin Circus, Australian producers, Andrew Guild and Simon Bryce (Theatre Tours International), are delighted to present in Australia ZIRK! – Russia’s Big Top Circus Spectacular, a brand-new global experience which thrilled audiences in South Africa and Singapore, and had critics raving.

Producer Andrew Guild has a 50-year association with Russian circus and spent eight-months combing the world seeking-out and signing-up the best acts on the international circus circuit.        Continue reading ZIRK! RUSSIA’S BIG TOP CIRCUS SPECTACULAR : ONE DOUBLE PASS


 Cirque du Soleil will return to Australia from October this year with its most acclaimed touring show, KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities™.  KURIOS will premiere under their Signature Big Top on 2 October 2019 in Sydney at Entertainment Quarter, Moore Park.  Written and directed by Michel Laprise, KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities is a tale in which time comes to a complete stop, transporting the audience inside a fantasy world where everything is possible.  In this realm set in the latter half of the nineteenth century, reality is quite relative indeed as our perception of it is utterly transformed.

Tickets for Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne are available for purchase to the general public beginning Monday 18 March at 9am by or by calling 1800 036 685. Pre-sale waitlists for Adelaide and Perth will begin accepting registrations on Monday 18 March at 9am by visiting

KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities had its world premiere in Montréal April 2014 and since its debut, the critics have been raving across North America: “It is not to be missed on any account,” said Chris Jones in The Chicago Tribune.  “KURIOS is the most enthralling, consistently over-the-top magical show Cirque du Soleil has sent our way in a long time,” raved Robert Hurwitt in The San Francisco Chronicle.  “KURIOS is the most joyous piece of theater I’ve seen in years and it will lift your spirits to the stars,” said Richard Ouzounian in The Toronto Star.  And Misha Berson in The Seattle Times raved, “KURIOS thrills in a splendidly captivating new show.”  The Los Angeles Times made it a Critic’s Choice.


Sydney Opera House is promoting contemporary performance by daring young storytellers that is both bold and entertaining, Its most recent showcases included The Illusionists the Tony award winning In The Heights.  BLANC DE BLANC ENCORE now joins this modern milieu.

This brand news cabaret spectacle from Strut and Fret follows their productions of Blanc De Blanc 2016 and Cantina. 

A blend of Moulin Rouge french glamour, naughty humour, aerials, acrobatics and classic songs make the time spent at this cabaret circus fly by. Continue reading BLANC DE BLANC ENCORE : CIRCUS CABARET EXTRAORDINAIRE


Photo Credit: Prudence Upton

Last night’s audience certainly loved it.  ROCK BANG is sure to be a huge hit during the Sydney Festival.  Circus pings all the pleasure spots and nothing pleases like Circus Oz who have been leaping flying tumbling innovators for over 40 years.  This time though they have enlisted the high energy of Otto & Astrid from Die Roten Punkte and created a boisterous, rockin show which definitely needs categorising under not-as-we-know-it-circus!

Opening with a thumping rock number live and an aerial ring swing over the front rows, the show hits momentum quickly.  The characters of Otto and Astrid are funny and silly and very, very dark as they share their origin story.  German brother and sister to all intents, let’s just gloss over the Flowers in the Attic-ness, they will tell a sad tale of loss (bus or lion) then success as a punk band.  Kick ass drums and squealing guitar!  And stowaways to Australia in a Circus Oz trunk. Continue reading ROCK BANG – THUMPIN’ GOOD ROCK CIRCUS


The Daredevil

This year, THE ILLUSIONISTS: DIRECT FROM BROADWAY will continue to redefine magic and challenge audience expectations with large-scale stunts, levitation, mindreading, disappearance and daredevilry. This non-stop show is thrilling and sophisticated magic at its best, led by eight of the world’s most talented magicians and artists:                                                Continue reading THE ILLUSIONISTS: DIRECT FROM BROADWAY TO THE OPERA HOUSE


The National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA), is undertaking a nationwide audition roadshow in search of Australia’s future circus stars. Head of Circus Studies, James Brown with Vocational Education Coordinator Tegan Carmichael leads the audition search and we had the chance to talk to James before he set off on the national search for the next generation of circus artists.

SAG:  Where are you headed with this roadshow?

JAMES:  Most major cities, we like to hunt out the best talent that we can train with. So Sydney Adelaide, Perth and here in Melbourne where we had a pre-audition workshop. We held that last month and it’s a great opportunity to people who were not that familiar with the audition process.  We took them through what to expect on the day and an insight into what they need to prepare for, both physically and artistically. Continue reading AN INTERVIEW WITH HEAD OF CIRCUS STUDIES AT NICA


Australia’s premier circus arts organisation, the National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA), is undertaking a nationwide audition roadshow in search of Australia’s future circus stars. 

As the only national arts training institute to offer a Bachelor of Circus Arts, positions at NICA are highly sought after and attract Australia’s most talented, physically gifted and creative young performers.  NICA graduates have joined nationally and internationally acclaimed companies including Cirque du Soleil, Dragone (China), Cavalia (Canada), NoFit State Circus (United Kingdom) alongside Australia’s Circa, Circus Oz and Carnival Australia.

“Naturally we are seeking emerging circus artists but our hunt is quite broad, extending to dancers, gymnasts, martial artists, theatre students, trickers, parkour enthusiasts, BMX riders and more.  If you are highly focused and wish to make a career out of your skills, we invite you to obtain a degree in elite, contemporary circus arts training,” said NICA’s Head of Circus Studies, James Brown who leads the audition search. Continue reading NICA LOOKING FOR OUR FUTURE CIRCUS STARS


Adelaide-based Gravity & Other Myths is directed by Darcy Grant and stuns in their new show BACKBONE at Riverside Theatres Parramatta, a mesmerizing blend of physical theatre/circus /acrobatics . It is a virtuoso performance of rigorous discipline , super-elite physical acrobatics . The company has been previously nominated for Helpmann awards. Continue reading BACKBONE: RIVERSIDE THEATRES PARRAMATTA


Production photos by Prudence Upton.

It’s not for everyone, but maybe it should be. This chow is a symphony of sophisticated naivety, slapstick with a bitch slap, a carnival of two, the accomplished performance artists, Jo-Ann Lancaster and Simon Yates.

These two are the founders of Acrobat, pioneers of circus performance for the past score years and more, and IT’S NOT FOR EVERYONE is their latest offering for everyone, even though it’s not for them. Continue reading IT’S NOT FOR EVERYONE @ CARRIAGEWORKS


MODEL CITIZENS: The latest wonderful production from Circus Oz, the first production for the company by new artistic director Rob Tannion and celebrating 40 marvellous years, started the 2018 Sydney Festival with a bang. Continue reading MODEL CITIZENS: CIRCUS OZ UNDER THE BIG TOP PARRAMATTA


The Carnival of Lost Souls

Dare to enter the dark and magical world of a 19th century circus as THE CARNIVAL OF LOST SOULS arrives in Sydney after leaving a dizzying path of mystery and mayhem for audiences along the way.

 Nestled somewhere between the madness of a Tim Burton psychosis and the darkness of a David Lynch nightmare, THE CARNIVAL OF LOST SOULS tells the tragic tale of unrequited love & loss set amongst the splendour of a Victorian-era circus.

Featuring some of Australia’s best physical entertainers, musicians & singers, this uniquely original “circus noir” spectacle delivers a twisted bent on the familiar Circus, Musical Theatre and Cabaret stage genres.  Backed by a highly emotive and original live music score by Platonic, audiences are taken on a brooding and mystical journey into the dark heart of a vintage circus fraternity where nothing is as it seems.

Written and produced by Graham Coupland, founder of Australia’s popular GANGSTER’S BALL,THE CARNIVAL OF LOST SOULS is a lavish production that showcases a breathtaking mix of performances from world‐class acrobats, aerial artists, illusionists and carnival characters, all whilst telling a tale of desire and betrayal under the classic Big Top.

Combined with Victorian Gothic and Steampunk-inspired costuming and stage design, a magical world comes alive where the line between life and death, real and unreal, is truly blurred.

THE CARNIVAL OF LOST SOULS will play at the Seymour Centre 16-18 November.  To be in the running to win one of 2 free double passes email your details to using LOST SOULS COMP as the subject by 6pm Thursday November 2nd.  Only winners will be notified.

For details about THE CARNIVAL OF LOST SOULS :




The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and Circa have reunited for a glorious blend of Baroque music and circus at the City Recital Hall.

The performance was inspired by the Brandenburg’s ARIA Award-winning CD Tapas, which includes plenty of percussion, guitar and theorbo, and lashings of violin bravado, with music by Albéniz, Merula, Murcia, Martinez and more.

The two special guests were Baroque guitarist Stefano Maiorana from Rome and soprano Natasha Wilson from New Zealand making her Australian debut.

Circa’s artistic director Yaron Lifschitz’s choreography astutely blended sensational dazzling solos and breathtaking ensemble routines while always harmonising with the spirit of the music. It was a fluid combination of tumbling, gymnastics, balancing and aerial numbers , in various jaw-dropping sections making you blink and go “ I see it but I don’t believe it“. Dangerous dives, throws and catches were included as well as feats of strength and daring as well as sometimes triple-level human pyramids. Continue reading SPANISH BAROQUE : THE AUSTRALIAN BRANDENBURG ORCHESTRA AND CIRCA @ CITY RECITAL HALL


Ockham’s Razor is a London based performance company who are back for the Sydney Festival. Patrons who saw them in 2014 will have some idea what to expect, though this is a very different show. The philosophical concept Ockham’s Razor is often minimalised to … the simplest answer is probably true. But more interestingly it originally translated as something like … to solve a problem don’t allow too many options. This influential and internationally recognised company have most certainly taken that advice to heart. Continue reading TIPPING POINT @ THE SPAGHETTI CIRCUS BIG TOP PARRAMATTA



The young, fit, highly trained human body is capable of astonishing things.

Circa is a very exciting Brisbane based company.  HUMANS asks what it means to be human. How much weight do we carry? Who can we trust to support our load? It leads us to reflect on our lives, our loved ones, the burdens we carry and the physical and emotional strength it takes to overcome them.

Directed and created by Yaron Lifschitz, HUMANS, performed in the round at the Spaghetti Circus Big Top is a breathtaking combination of acrobatics, contortionism , tumbling, balancing, aerial trapeze, handstands and back flips.

Contact improvistaion, pyramid building, banquine and risley, and hand-to -hand partnering are also featured and strikingly blended with elements of contemporary dance.

At times the audience audibly gasps. There is no real narrative, rather a fluid sequence of various dazzling and surprising interactions combining various finely honed circus skills.

There is much use of haze and the lighting is delicately, warmly vibrant and atmospheric.

The scintillating cast of ten wear a uniform of autumn/russet coloured shorts/leotards and a semi -transparent black top. They wear ankle and/or wrist supports .Some have tattoos,

At the beginning the cast wear casual street clothes and have fun rolling acrobatically twisting in and out of them.

There is a fiercely tender and intimate sense of trust between the cast – some of the lifts, drops, throws ,twists and catches,  let alone the pyramid balancing, are extraordinary.

HUMANS is full of hot and sweaty bodies in explosive, movement , leaping, twisting ,twirling jumping, somersaulting ,precariously balancing , intimately entwined , swooping and swinging from a trapeze , dragged by the hair, sliding across the stage and  forming sculptural poses,

One hilarious sequence that had the audience in rapture was where the cast twisted and bent in almost impossible shapes attempting to lick their elbow. Floating balancing lifts in other sections are contrasted with this A breath, a clap, a bend of the knee,  a beautifully flexed and pointed foot or extended arm are all important .

With astonishing strength, grace, agility and integrity, each moment is seamlessly connected.

The relentless, pulsating soundscape varied from an assortment of popular songs to music theatre standards to techno thump to the sound of a single clap..

The almost hysterical standing ovation at the end was richly deserved.

Running time – 80 minutes without interval.

HUMANS, presented  by Circa, is playing atat the Spaghetti Circus Big Top,  Prince Alfred Square Parramatta up until 19th January.



KALEIDOSCOPE is fast paced,  high-energy exuberant school holiday entertainment, a multi-faceted circus experience, just perfect for a pre-teen audience.

With her young son Ethan Inspiring the creation of this work on stage, Ethan’s mother wrote a book that described stepping into her son’s  world as like, “the joy of walking through shafts of colour and light; like seeing through a dazzling kaleidoscope”.

When four years of age, Ethan Hugh was diagnosed with “Asperger Syndrome”. He is now twelve years old, and he has learned to understand the incredible beauty of his world discovered through touch. With this show you too can view how to enjoy living life through young Ethan’s eyes.

The show features five speech-free silent circus performers on stage with Ethan, with pre-recorded musical accompaniment and with some voice-overs from Ethan.

The five circus performers and Ethan, are seen slowly awakening from sleep on a huge video wall, then they perform tumbling mimed slapstick acrobatics as they start their day and then go to perform somersaults, flips, back-flips, back-bends, bridges, kick-overs, handstands, front-handsprings, back-handsprings, side aerial cartwheels, turning-cartwheels, in short all manner of acrobatics as they each change out of their pajamas and into their street wear.

Two pole-dancing risk-taking gymnasts, climbed the pole all the way to the ceiling, and then spun and dropped down at high speed.

Attached to the rigging, suspended from the ceiling, was a single tab aerial hoop-ring without a hand-loop. The hoop-ring aerialist was lifted by her troupe up to the hoop-ring, and then she delivered an awe-inspiring performance, with elegance strength and power, as she looped climbed spun, creating a clever aerial dance movement experience that regularly gained oohs and aahs from the audience.

A surprising pillow fight, lead to thousands of feathers flying everywhere which was delightfully followed by loud screaming from the boisterous young audience.

Whilst the silk aerialist is seated and playing music on a toy piano, Ethan decides to paint her feet red, and her arms yellow and orange. She then climbs the two white silks to perform aerial acrobatics, and while hanging from the fabric, wraps, drops, rolls, spins, climbs, all of which turned the white silks into a fantasy matrix of superb dazzling colours that was yet another great audience pleaser.

The shown ran for 50 minutes without interval.

Highly recommended, KALEIDOSCOPE plays the Lennox Theatre at Parramatta Riverside Theatres until the 18th January 2017.   The theatre is located on the corner of Church and Market Streets, Parramatta, NSW.

Remaining performances :-

Tuesday 17 January at 3.30pm
Wednesday 18 January at 6.15pm



The old timers, especially flyers, often talk about it. So do the trap catchers, slack and tight walkers even modern aerialists on silks and rings and Chinese poles. They will tell you about the people with terminal illnesses who seek them out after a show. Who thank them for confronting the unknown beyond, for staring mortality down. iD, from Canada’s Cirque Éloize as part of the Sydney Festival, is vibrant and exciting, thrilling and skilful. It’s fantastically entertaining fun but the finale is that rare moment when the physical gives way to the spiritual. When human beings are suspended for just that second of time between corporeal and divine. Continue reading CANADA’S CIRQUE ELOIZE PRESENTS ‘iD’ @ RIVERSIDE THEATRES PARRAMATTA


Guide photographer Ben Apfelbaum went to the show’s recent Media Call at the Sydney Opera House where Sydney Opera House CEO Louise Herron addressed the gathering.

Photographers were then invited out to the forecourt to take a few pics of the cast in costume as well as one of the big drawcards, the show’s two elephants, Queenie and Karanga (Swahili for peanuts).

I went to see the show in performance and it was spectacular. Charming, charismatic ringmaster Willy Whipsnake (David Williamson) kept audiences thoroughly entertained in between the very diverse acts.

Thankfully, the show was not framed around a specific narrative structure, a strategy that often fails to inspire. The show’s focus was clear and precise, to give these wonderful circus artists the full opportunity to shine and showcase their talents.

In a circus of highlights my stand-out acts were the Cycling Cyclone (Florian Blummel), the Great Gaston Juggling Juggernaut (Francois Borie) and the High Wire Dance performed by Los Lopez.

Puppet Elephants Queenie and Karanga drew great reactions from the kids, as  did Willy Whipsnake when he invited a few lucky kids from  the audience to join him for a brief time on the stage.

Production values were excellent with Evan Jolly’s pulsating soundscape and Paul Smith’s outstanding lighting design being highlights.

The wrap. This was great family entertainment for the summer holiday season.

CIRCUS 1903 played the Concert Hall at the Sydney Opera House between the 18th and the 29th December, 2016.

Featured image- Sydney Opera House CEO Louise Herron. All images by Ben Apfelbaum (c).


There is a famous theatre review of a show called A Good Time on Broadway in the 1960s. The review simply reads “NO” in a blank column of newsprint.

When choosing a name for a show, a lesser company might avoid giving an easy tagline to a critic but that is not a worry if you are the universally loved, world renowned theatre practitioners of THE FLYING FRUIT FLY CIRCUS. This company of ‘ordinary kids doing extraordinary things’ has joined with elders in their community to create a show simply entitled JUNK. And I can defiantly say “it is not”.

JUNK is set in a 1940’s junkyard. Why a junkyard? The Flying Fruit Flies are based in Albury/Wodonga and since the company’s inception as a school holiday project for the Year of the Child in 1979 they have been a community based organization. The company is committed to creating new and original works and in the research which began this project 2 years ago, the Fruities they reached out to ask about what ‘playing’ meant in the memories of those who were young a very long time since. Continue reading FLYING FRUIT FLY CIRCUS CONTINUES TO INSPIRE AND ASPIRE TO GREAT HEIGHTS



I went to the circus last night, set up in the tiny space that is the  Reginald theatre at the Seymour Centre. This was by way of a show called ELIXIR put on by Head First Acrobats and presented as part of this years’ Sydney Fringe Festival program.

ELIXIR proved to be a bit of knockabout fun. Just a note to begin with. With its colourful blend of risque humour that runs through the show, ELIXIR does not come under the ambit of a family show, and is not suitable for young kids. Three very enthusiastic performers- Callan Harris, Thomas Gorham and Rowan Thomas– took over the small Reginald stage with their very impressive acrobatic skills, honed from years of training.



All photography by Ben Apfelbaum.

Cirque De Soleil are back in Sydney with  KOOZA, the troupe’s eighth Big Tour show to tour Australia and they are as amazing as ever.

The show springs  open like a huge, wondrous toy box to stir our imagination. The narrative sees  the main character, the personification of innocence, go on a  journey of self discovery as he encounters a kingdom of eccentric, characters and many  surprises. The show combines amazing dare-devil acrobatic/circus skills that take one’s breath away with plenty of clowning for all the young at heart. Through the performance a  wonderful live band pump out a  great soundtrack of jazz, funk and Bollywood music.

KOOZA features a cast of some 50 acrobats, musicians, singers and actors performing amazing feats.   Cirque Du Soleil pride themselves on  being inclusive and multi-cultural- the current cast and crew are made up of personnel from some 20 countries.

Highly recommended, KOOZA  is playing the Big Top at the Entertainment Quarter  Tuesdays to Fridays at 8 pm, Saturdays at 4.30 pm and 8 pm, and Sundays at various times. The season, as it stands at the moment, is set to run until November 6.