NORPA kicks off their new season at Lismore City Hall on Friday and Saturday with CIRCA’s new show Beyond, featuring two former Spaghetti Circus students – all grown up! Seven spoke with Billie Wilson-Coffey about what she’s been up to.
Hi, Billie – so fill us in: just what have you been up to since finishing HSC and leaving Mullumbimby?
After the HSC I moved to Melbourne to train at the National Institute of Circus Arts. After graduating I continued to perform around Australia before being drawn to the circus community in Brisbane. I began creating work with Circa in 2011 before becoming an ensemble member in 2013.
How did Spaghetti Circus ignite your passion for performance?
Spaghetti Circus was a huge part of my teenage years; it offered me an environment that was fun, creative and incredibly supportive. It ignited my passion for performance alongside exposing me to the circus industry, which fuelled my desire to pursue it as a career.
What are the skills that you have been developing since we last saw you hanging from the silks?
I do still spend a lot of my time hanging around in the air; however, working with this ensemble over the past two years has continually strengthened my acrobatic skills. Our repertoire as an ensemble is constantly developing and growing.
What have been the highlights of your circus career thus far?
In 2013 Beyond opened at the Chamäleon Theatre in Berlin. We performed 216 shows over eight months so it was hard work but very rewarding and an absolute highlight to live in Germany!
Tell me about working with Circa – what should we expect for this new show Beyond?
Beyond is a warm-hearted and surreal show that explores the line between human and animal. For me it is a discovery of my inner animal and finding the balance between humanity and the creature within. We, as performers, invite the audience into our strangely beautiful and kooky world.
How hard do you have to work to stay fit and performance ready?
The company is based in Brisbane so while we are Queensland we train 9–5 in the studio, but when we are on tour our training varies depending on the show schedule.
How long is a person’s career in the circus? What happens with a talented woman like you when she gets older? Do you have to learn trickier tricks?
If the day ever comes that I can no longer be on stage then there are a lot of other roles and opportunities to do with the production of performances that I would love to do.
How do you feel about returning to your stomping ground for a home show?
I am excited to be returning home and to share Beyond with you.
Friday 27 and Saturday 28 at Lismore City Hall, 7.30pm.
Tix at norpa.org.au or
1300 066 772.
The troupe will also be running advanced circus workshops at Spaghetti Circus in Mullum on Saturday. Enquiries to [email protected]