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March 9, 2021

Interview: Peepo!

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CIRCA_Peepshow Photo: Pedro Greig

The internationally renowned Australian-based Circa Contemporary Circus known as ‘rockstars of the circus world’ premiere their latest creation Peepshow at NORPA in Lismore this week. Libby McDonnell, associate director for Circa chatted with The Echo.

What was the concept for Peepshow ?

Peepshow is about looking and being looked at. It’s playful, sexy and quirky performance viewed through the lens of circus. Peepshow is Circa’s newest post-cabaret production in two acts.

When I think of Peepshow I imagine a room with holes and men looking through it at a naked woman doing something provocative. The men of course are gratifying themselves. It’s a bit fetishistic and sad at the same time – sort of old-fashioned. Is there an element of repressed or overt sexuality through the show?

I’d like to think that Circa’s Peepshow offers a joyful and ebullient alternative to this perception.

How do you work a show up with CIRCA? What is your process?

Shows have their own unique processes. Ours start with questioning, dreaming, research and a measure of instinct.

What particular images or moving physical installations did you work hard to craft?

Every circus skill you’ll see in Circa’s Peepshow has taken many years of each artist’s lifetime to perfect.

How do you stay at the forefront of contemporary circus?

An insatiable curiosity and the courage to risk failure daily.

CIRCA has this feel of something out of Prague, not Brisbane. Is that a reflection of the changing artistic nature of Brisbane or is it more about CIRCA’s uniqueness?

When we are in Prague we feel very Australian! We’re very proud of our Brisbane home. It’s our base where we create work. I think the company is a reflection of a supportive local and international circus community and the connections and presence we have in both.

Is it easier to create something very individual when you aren’t being overshadowed by hundreds of unique performances that might make you second guess what you are doing?

A combination of focused creation time while remaining in contact with the world, people and ideas is a good balance.

Why are you premiering this new show in Lismore at NORPA?

Circa are grateful for their relationship with NORPA and have performed there three times before. There is wonderful connection between Circa, the northern rivers community and the circus community.

Tell me about the plans for Peepshow this year.

The world premiere is here in Lismore, then Peepshow will have seasons in Geelong and Darwin, before heading to Europe for a nine-month season in London and Berlin.

What should we expect for the world premiere at NORPA?

Come along and find out!

Peepshow by Circa | Thursday–Saturday 2 | 7.30pm | NORPA at Lismore City Hall | Tickets: $20–54 | www.norpa.org.au | 1300 066 772 | 18+

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