Thursday 3 December 2015

The Classics preview

These days, circus is littered with young, up and coming performers in acts that push the boundaries of what circus and contemporary circus is. It has become a thriving art form. Batton & Broadway are one such circus troupe, with a catch; instead of young circus artists, The Classics is completely comprised of cinquegenarian (folks in their fifties) performers.

Circus veterans Deb Batton and Sue Broadway share decades of combined experience in the circus and met when they were teaching Directing Skills for Physical Theatre and Circus. "Through this we began to wonder what we might do as performers NOW and to explore what we are as artists and what we have learnt over the years. Mostly the purpose was to enjoy each other and our audiences and remind ourselves of how funny we can be," Broadway explains. "The Classics was in response to demand from both performers and the public. People wanted to see the legends that they had only heard about perform live, and older performers wanted a place to strut their stuff again."

Needless to say, the return of The Classics to The Melba Spiegeltent for a four night run has been highly anticipated. “People who came last year used the words “Joy” and “joyful” a lot. It is fun, engaging, playful and just a really great night out. It also challenges people’s ideas of what to expect from older artists. It’s a reminder of where we came from, but also of where we are going,” she says. “I love doing the hat juggling routine with Deb because we made it up together, so it has a real newness and contemporary feel to it. It is who we are now. I also enjoy doing the Titania Queen of Cups for the exact opposite reason - it has become a classic in its way.”

Joining the two on stage are acclaimed performers such as Anni Davey, Kathryn Niesche, Peter Gray, Christof!!, Teresa Blake, Eleanor Tan, Red Hot Flush Ensemble (Vivienne Halat, Catherine McMutrie, Carol Keating, Lynne Regan), Tim Coldwell and a number of other special guests throughout their season.

Circus has evolved much over the years in every way possible. "When I started out we were inventing the very idea of contemporary circus. The early days of Circus OZ introduced a new way of looking at the world of physical performance - political, feminist, no animals and tongue held firmly in cheek,” Broadway explains. “Since then, circus has built on those ideas and grown both in terms of the numbers of people interested and the diversity of options. From small venues to Spiegeltents to theatres - circus is everywhere!

So what happens once these cinquegenarians become sexagenarians? “I hope I will be performing till I die,” explains Broadway. “Particularly if there is sex involved, but don’t quote me on that!!" Oops, sorry Sue. 

Venue: The Melba Spiegeltent, 35 Johnston St, Collingwood
Season: 9 - 12 December| 8pm
Tickets: $25 Full | $20 Conc 

Bookings: Circus OZ

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