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Meet Bridie Hooper as she talks Beyond

Can you tell us a little about your background?

I’ve been doing circus since the age of 11, it began as a casual after school activity and then I became completely addicted. I loved the physical challenges, the creativity and the encouragement and love that everyone shared with one another.

Upon deciding that I wanted to pursue a career in circus, I moved to the Fruit Fly Circus, which is another youth circus in Australia and after two years of training there and finishing high school I applied for and was then accepted into L’École Nationale de Cirque de Montreal. So I moved to Montréal, it was my first international journey and I was petrified, but I had an incredible time training and performing at the school. I graduated in 2012 and worked in Quebec and then Europe before joining Circa.

Can you tell us a bit more about your experience since you’ve been working with Circa?

Circa has taught me so much more about circus and its complex, beautiful ability to transform actions, relations and intentions into work that really resonates in very individual ways with audiences. I’ve experienced what it is to work in a group and as an acrobat, and how it is to share not only the stage with your cast mates but also your life, we become family touring, travelling, performing together all the time. It’s pretty incredible.

How is it to work with Yaron Lifschitz? (Circa’s Artistic Director)

Terrifying in an exciting, thought provoking, fast paced way. He is full of knowledge about all sorts of subjects and I love hearing these snippets of substance and how they may or may not influence the work he makes. We have a lot of freedom to create and pursue acrobatic endeavours, which is always great.

What is Beyond about and what is your role in the show?

Beyond is a peculiar creature that captivates, entices, startles and humours. It ventures into the quantity of kookiness that we each possess and the friction that’s endured in revealing or retreating from that energy.

From an acrobatic standpoint I suppose my role is as an aerialist/contortionist. However I don’t think that roles really have a place in circus. We don’t follow theatre or ballet where there are main parts or lead roles. We’re an entity that work together to support one another. Though there are solo parts in the show, we’re never singular beings on stage.

Beyond has been described as an exploration of the relationship between our inner animals and our outer humans. What type of animal are you?

I can’t say that I have one particular animal that resides within me. For me, the inner animal is more a metaphor of the wild craziness that we each possess and either constrain or let loose. What I like to delve into on stage is the variety of kookiness that I can explore and its contrast to a more harnessed state of being. I certainly draw on birds for inspiration though, as it’s an animal that’s a little awkward on its feet but finds freedom in the air.

What’s the biggest challenge in this show?
Physically, I find it pretty challenging going crazy and running around and being vocal, for some reason the combination always leaves me puffed.

What would be your Montreal hotspots?
Well it’s been a few years since I’ve enjoyed Montréal’s hot spots but I always did love riding my bike everywhere. I like stopping in at Jean Talon Markets, getting great coffee at Picolo on Avenue Parc, or stopping for some food at the funky graffiti cafe Chez Jose on Duluth. I really love wandering down the alleys of all the streets between St Denis and St Laurent and catching glimpses of people enjoying BBQs and being outside in the summer!