The Sideshow Project in the next chapter in the development of the Balranald Circus; a rural youth circus which began as an OTYP project but is evolving into an autonomous youth movement with the potential to become an independent organisation. The Sideshow Project has three elements. The first is to develop circus, play-building and performance skills with the young people of Balranald; the second is to create an original performance work in the tradition of the local agricultural show, drawing on classic sideshow themes and characters; the third is professional development and leadership workshops with older young people and adults who will become ongoing trainers and supervisors in the Balranald Circus.

Stage One of the Sideshow Project, in November/December 2013, will begin a process of skills development with young people and future trainers and an exploration of the Sideshow themes. This work will build a foundation for the more intensive creative work of Stage Two.

In 2014 the skills development element will have an in-school program – with workshops delivered to all students from K-12 at Balranald Central School (BCS) – and an ensemble program, with after school and school holiday workshops, specifically focussing on training young people to be part of the performance ensemble. Workshops will include beginner, intermediate and advanced circus skills including juggling, human pyramids, tumbling, mini-tramp, unicycling and trapeze and will also incorporate group work; encouraging young people to form close working relationships with a fellow partner, each helping the other to reach their highest potential.

Young people will work with Artistic Director, Bec Cooen and circus trainer Scott McBurnie, to build a performance work with an overarching narrative structure drawing on the traditions on the characters, traditions and spirit of the agricultural show.

An exciting element to this project is that future Balranald Circus trainers and supervisors will take part in professional development workshops, training this group in teaching base-level circus skills and facilitating future workshops. The Sideshow Project Stage Two will give momentum to the youth circus movement in Balranald, build the capacity of individuals and the community to own and develop their own arts movement and create a performance piece which have a life long after this 2014 residency.

For more information or to get involved please email Creative Producer Claire Harris at or call 03 5881 6260

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