From sheds and shipping containers at Northshore Brisbane to tiny halls in remote communities, Flipside Circus has Queensland covered.

The state’s largest youth arts company spends about half a year on the road, touring productions, hosting circus skills workshops and building community connections that lead to surprising outcomes.

The latest is The Cubby, a brand-new performance that hit the road in April 2024 – but not before first making its world premiere at Hamilton State School.

Flipside Circus CEO and Artistic Director Robert Kronk said The Cubby was a special work because it was created by and for children from regional Queensland communities.

“This show was developed in tiny communities over several years,” he said.

“We started rehearsals at The Shed at Northshore Brisbane a couple of weeks before Easter and now we’re taking it back to these communities so that young people can hear their own voices and see their own stories on stage.

“Of course, we wanted to make sure the show was a hit so tested it with our neighbours at Hamilton State School, where we’ve run some workshops in the past.”

From 2025 onwards, Flipside will receive extra help to keep this – and other shows – on the road with Four Year Investment for Organisations (FYIO) funding from Creative Australia, the Australian Government’s principal arts investment and advisory body.

This investment recognises the valuable contribution Flipside Circus makes to the national arts sector and offers a financial guarantee over four years (2025 to 2028) to help the not-for-profit arts organisation with its long-term planning.

“Flipside Circus has always been a fantastic organisation doing amazing things for young artists and this support will allow us to continue doing more and on a national scale,” Mr Kronk said.

“It will help us become more strategic and hone what we do: our artistic missions, our touring program, our sector development and, of course, our relationship-building within communities.

“Our aim is to be a national leader in circus practice and youth arts practice and as we head towards Brisbane 2032, this is a really great place for us to be in playing that nationally significant role.”

In addition to bolstering its regional touring program – which began as a five-week residency in western Queensland and evolved to a 26-week schedule covering dozens of stops – Flipside Circus will use its FYIO funding to progress other programs and initiatives.

One of these is Waterways, a First Nations-led circus project designed to bring together an ensemble of young First Nations artists to train and develop circus skills.

Created in partnership with Flipside Circus trainer and Indigenous arts leader Lara Croydon in 2022, Waterways is centred around the importance of water to First Nations people.

Young Indigenous artists will hone their circus skills through the lens of water as a life force and how a network of fresh and saltwater tributaries connects Australian communities.

Waterways is really symbolic because of where we are on the Brisbane River and its history as a meeting place and a place of ceremony for Traditional Owners,” Mr Kronk said.

“Lara is from North Queensland and she spoke to local Elders and Indigenous community members when developing this program to honour this connection to water.”

In its first year, Waterways engaged 143 participants, hosted seven open workshops and held a further 13 workshops in partnership with community organisations Sisters Inside and Inala Wangarra.

“Flipside Circus has done a lot of work in First Nations communities and alongside First Nations artists but we’ve never done a project in partnership with First Nations artists like this and we are committed to the long-term creative development of Waterways.

“The project started with the support of the Australian Government’s RISE Fund and now, with our FIYO funding, we can back it for at least another four years.”

Flipside Circus was founded in 1994 and since then, has trained more than one million participants, reached audiences of more than 1.5 million people and been integral to the development of Queensland’s circus sector.

It relocated to Northshore Brisbane in 2020, teaching and training at a pop-up circus space, before moving into its custom-designed Brisbane Circus Centre in 2022.

When fire damaged the Brisbane Circus Centre in January 2024, neighbours and community members rallied to support the organisation.

After a short period at Brisbane Powerhouse, Flipside Circus has temporarily moved its classes and rehearsals to Superordinary and The Shed while its home is repaired.

“The team at EDQ has been fantastic; two days after the fire they helped us get our classes back up and running in The Shed,” Mr Kronk said.

“Being part of a community at Northshore Brisbane has made a huge difference and we do feel like we have friends around us which is why we’re so keen to get back into our home.

“In the meantime, all our gear and equipment is being safely stored in containers nearby and the Grolife Property Services team has been mowing our lawn and keeping an eye on the place while we were away!

“It’s great to be back in the precinct, close to home, and seeing the repair works coming along.”

To support Flipside Circus’s fire appeal with a tax-deductible donation, visit flipsidecircus.org.au

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