For the past 23 years, every December, I try to sum up the year that was.
Looking back at these, many of messages are roughly the same – the world is complex, the challenges are real and increasing, the team is amazing and performs at a herculean pitch daily, the work is authentic and vigorous and the future is uncertain but promises brightness. The messages are written in the key of gratitude; which is both true (I am) and appropriate (there are many who deserve this gratitude).
Nothing really has changed this year. We continued and resumed touring, we premiered two works of great power and originality, our team delivered astonishing results in chastened and sometimes downright inhospitable circumstances.
This gave me pause to ask “why has nothing changed?” Why after the profound disruptions of the past few years and the much greater ones our warming and intolerant planet pose for the future, are we still on the same course.
And there are three answers, all connected and all partial, works-in-progress.
First, many game-changing things are already underway: more sustainable, long-form touring with limited flights, long residencies and increased engagement, a First Nation-led permanent, professional ensemble in Regional Queensland, an extensive program for people who identify as having a disability, shows that are lighter, more energy-efficient and tour with a fraction of conventional touring companies are all current.
Second, we have much to do and many more changes to come. Over the next weeks, the Circa Academy will vigorously reenergise our engagement programs and connect them to our core artistic repertoire; new ensemble members, new executive staff, new productions and new programs will contribute to a more vibrant sector and world.
And finally we are, as a company, relentless in our pursuit of what is to come. We have plenty more work to do – on our art, our audiences, our engagement, sustainability, diversity and impact. Over the coming years we will continue to strive to redefine the limits of what is possible in circus.
In short, this year looks, in wide-shot, a bit like every other, because each and every Circa year is filled with a passionate belief that we can be better, ask harder questions, take things further (as well as higher, faster and more connected).
I thank the Board, Circa staff, funding agencies, supporters, presenters and stakeholders.
Together you have helped us create the same thing – an astonishing, shape-shifting, responsive and dynamic company well-positioned to help create the future.
Circa Artistic Director