1. When did you discover that you wanted to pursue a career in circus?
LISA: I was first introduced to circus at the age of 6 when my family went on a vacation to Las Vegas, where I saw my first circus show Mystère by Cirque du Soleil. Since then, I have always had a interest in circus but made the decision to go for it when, during a gymnastics training session, an ex-gymnast came in to visit my coach at the time. She had been attending The National Circus School of Montreal at the time, and all she did was hold the most perfect handstand I had ever seen and the rest is history.
CONOR: I first realised that I wanted to pursue a career in circus when I was 18. I was coming up to the end of my A levels and was looking at what to do next. I spent all my free time juggling, doing diabolo and acrobatics so I looked into the possibility of a degree in circus. I found one in London, UK, at the Circus Space (now the National Centre for Circus Arts). I auditioned and got in to their three-year degree programme and the rest was history.
2. Can you tell us a little about your performance background? What is your circus specialty?
LISA: In 2010 I finished a 3-year circus degree program from The National Circus School of Montreal, where I studied Duo Trampoline as my specialty (flyer) as well as Banquine, Hand to hand, Handstands, Chinese pole, and an array of acting, music, and dance techniques etc. Since then I have worked with companies such as Cirque Eloize and Les 7 Doigts de la main. Now I have gone on to specialize in Cyr wheel and continue to fly.
CONOR: My specialty is Chinese pole. I also do diabolo, floor acrobatics and trampoline/tramp wall. I first started performing professionally in my second year at the Circus Space in 2010, performing with a company called Square Peg as part of the UK CircusFest. I’ve performed quite consistently since then working in opera, physical theatre and dance as well as circus. Highlights of my performance career include working on the 2012 Olympic Torch Relay, a collaboration with Nike and United Visual Artists and working with Cirque Éloize.
3. How have you been enjoying Brisbane so far?
LISA: Brisbane is amazing! I love going to the outdoor markets on Saturdays and I’m a close walk to South Bank where I can enjoy strolling alongside the river and eat some good food. The people are friendly and inviting and there is always something to do or see.
CONOR: I love Brisbane. It’s a really fun city. I’ve been really enjoying exploring, checking out the markets over the weekend, finding good places to eat and great coffee. The weather is pretty great too, compared to an English winter this is amazing.
4. What attracted you to want to work for Circa?
LISA: Circa has been a company that has always been very curious to me, I like how evoking their shows are and yet so different from what I have seen. I like how they don’t tell an audience how to feel but invite and encourage them to have their own experience. I never left a show thinking I didn’t “get it,” just… simply moved.
CONOR: I first saw a Circa show quite early on in my circus career and they’ve always been a big inspiration for me as a company. I remember watching ‘CIRCA in my first year at Circus Space and coming out of the show like, “I want to do that!” It’s really a dream to be here working with them.
5. What can you tell us about the cabinet of curiosities that is Wunderkammer? Have you seen it performed before?
LISA: I have seen Wunderkammer before in Montreal, and again it commanded my attention. It is authoritative with out being imposing, delicate without being weak, I think that is the thing that makes the show. It’s a constant mish mash of opposing forces and ideas, a collection of oddities that all have their place.
CONOR: Yes, about four years ago in London. Wunderkammer is a very sexy, edgy show that keeps the audience on their toes. It’s not a circus show, or burlesque or variety show. It’s all of them, and none of them, all at the same time. It really plays with your expectations for each genre, there’s lots of wow and a little bit of discomfort.
6. Have you been to Berlin before? What are you most looking forward to about living there for so long?
LISA: Berlin is buzzing city, I have only been once for a week but there was a show every night, everyone was always up for doing something. It is very much the city that never sleeps. I hope to improve on my German and for the first time be in one place for more than a few weeks at a time. I’m excited to have my morning coffee rituals and my late night libations.
CONOR: No, I’ve never been to Berlin before. However, I have heard nothing but good things so I’m very excited to go and explore for myself. I’ve been on tour a lot over the last few years so this is actually the longest I’ll have been in one place for about three years. I’m quite excited. It will be nice to get a chance to settle for a while.
7.Have you had to learn any new skills for Wunderkammer?
LISA: Oh yes! Everyday so far I have learned something new. I am new to “toss” and that is super fun but always a new skill to learn in that area. Also I haven’t touched much Chinese Pole in about 5-6 years and now I am doing a duet. But THE thing that has got me is learning to stick a balloon up my nose and out my mouth. I will never forget that one, and still can’t get over the fact I’m paid to do this.
CONOR: Yes, I’m learning lots of new skills at the moment. I’m learning lots of toss technique, which I love. As well as leveling-up my acrobatic basing. I’m also working with a new Chinese pole partner, so we’re busy creating new tricks and making material together, which is very exciting. There’s also the balloon up the nose thing…
Wunderkammer will be performed at the Chamaeleon Theatre in Berlin from August 2015 until early 2016.
Show and ticketing information: https://chamaeleonberlin.com/en/programm/wunderkammer2015/show/38
Watch the trailer: https://vimeo.com/125783350