How should we be able to tell them apart? Well, you’ll have to look very closely, but don’t be fooled. These people are at the top of their game and are being brought together by the Mullum Circus Festival, kicking off with a training program and National Youth Circus Symposium followed by a three-day public showcase that is not to be missed. The Echo spoke with the festival director, the hard-working and tireless Shien Chee, who has been pulling the whole thing together.
How has it been organising the Circus Festival this time?
Right now we are just about to begin our sold-out Training Program before ramping up to the weekend Festival (Friday–Saturday). With our circus crew gathering onsite it’s like a family reunion. A big carny love-in! The tents are up, bunting blowing in the wind; we have mud on our boots, smiles on our faces.
The team is back together and we’ve all hit the ground running. We know what needs to be done this time and I’m so proud and impressed by the calm and humour of our hard-working circus crew. It’s a lot of work and we are all crazy but loving it! There’s a lot of laughing and hugging and bad jokes.
How is it that a kooky little town like Mullum is hosting an event like this?
It’s our home for starters. Home of Spaghetti Circus, who are behind this whole shebang. You mention Mullum as a kooky little town, but for our visitors it’s a paradise where differences are celebrated. Circus has always been about the edges so maybe circus and Mullum go together like oohs and ahhs! Mullum also has the best audiences in the land.
What are the shows you are most excited about?
Gravity and Other Myths! Die Roten Punkte! Spaghetti Circus’s Borogroves show! The balloon-twisting workshop, Mullum Music Fest acts at the bar, random moments of circus awesome… Everything! This is a very hard question. How long have we got?
Are there workshops?
Yes. Fly Factory flying trapeze workshops can be booked in advance on their website and they’ll also be doing $10 swings. There is juggling with Melbourne-based JuggleLab, hula-hooping, acro-balance and kids’ circus playspace. There will also be circus life-drawing sessions on Saturday and Sunday and a Social Circus presentation by Clowns without Borders and more.
What about stuff for the kids?
Apart from the 18+ Blue Show cabaret on Saturday night, the entire festival is for kids of all ages.
Last time it was hard to get into the shows I wanted to see. What should I do to make sure I don’t miss out this time?
We’ve learnt a lot since the last festival and the site plan, venues and programming have all been reworked to address capacities. But the best thing to do is pre-purchase your tickets online, get onsite early and check the program times. Be prepared for popular shows by getting to venues early.
What is the setup going to look like?
Come on down and see! It’s a festival of circus at the foot of Mt Chincogan, by the Brunswick River, surrounded by lush fig trees and topped with stunning skies – it’s going to look spectacular!
So who is coming to town?
Some of the hottest circus performers in the country and possibly the world. A few hundred of Australia’s wider circus community – aspiring artists, circus elders, youth circus companies, touring performers hot from shows in Edinburgh, Canada, the States and the big arts festivals, circus fans and families wanting a fabulous experience.
In three words, Mullum Circus Festival is going to be…
Your Happy Place.
Mullum Circus Festival 2015. This Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Mullumbimby Showground. Tickets and information available from mullumcircusfest.com.