Additional Victorian Government Funding for New Circus Oz Home
Circus Oz, Victoria’s internationally acclaimed larrikin circus company, is somersaulting with joy at the announcement today (October 7, 2010) by the Victorian Government that an additional $10 million has been allocated towards Stage Two of the development of its new home in Collingwood. The Circus Oz dream to establish the most creative and exciting circus arts centre in the Southern Hemisphere can now be realised.
In May 2010 the Victorian Government announced $3 million towards Stage One of the development, which includes an engineering study and architectural plans and designs for the site on the former TAFE complex in Johnston Street, Collingwood. Circus Oz envisages that Stage One and Stage Two the actual build and refurbishment of the site will take in the vicinity of 2 years.
With a goal to complete the works and open its doors by 2012, the new facility will not only allow Circus Oz to spread its wings in the pursuit of international and national excellence but also facilitate creativity and innovation in both the development of the organisation and the company’s interaction with the community.
The company will run secret circus laboratories to invent new acts, rehearse large-scale shows under performance conditions, hold public classes for adults and children, work with children and teenagers who need a leg up, deliver innovative leadership and corporate team-building programs and create an outdoor space for community events and celebrations.
“We can’t wait to engage with the local community. One of the most exciting things about moving to Johnston Street is the abundance of artistic and creative organisations located in the area and the way that Collingwood embraces this vibrant culture. Being next door neighbours with the Tote is an added bonus,” says Mike Finch, Circus Oz’s Artistic Director.
The new space will be a vibrant circus hub with many social and cultural benefits. It will also allow Circus Oz to increase their support to other smaller circus and physical theatre companies for rehearsals and performance development.
Many members of the circus and physical theatre community have expressed excitement about this project.
“Circus Oz has been my home away from home for the last 13 years, they have given me support for training, for rehearsal, for show development and so much more in experience and advice. The plans for the new space in Collingwood are exciting and power the dream for so many independent artists like myself to continue to be able to nip in under the umbrella for that much needed support. I certainly will miss the nostalgia of the old building, but possibly not swinging a hairs breathe away from the wall, the floor, and the other artists all trying to squish in....” Felicia O'Brien, Acrobat/Aerialist Birdcage Creations" Circus Oz is not only a great performing ensemble and the grand daddy of the Australian circus and physical theatre industry, but a great supporter of smaller companies. Without the resources Circus Oz share many companies such as Dislocate would have disappeared long ago." Kate Fryer and Geoffrey Dunstan, Co-Artistic Directors Dislocate
Circus Oz has worked closely with the Victorian Government to achieve a long-term home for the company. The new digs will remain a State Government owned facility. Wendy McCarthy, Chair of Circus Oz says “The Victorian Government's generous $10 million contribution towards Stage Two - the development of the Circus Oz precinct in Collingwood - demonstrates strong support for the company and the whole Victorian circus and physical theatre community. The future and long-term sustainability of Circus Oz is now secured and we will be able to maintain our position as an international leader in contemporary circus."
It will be the responsibility of Circus Oz to equip the new home with the apparatus required to make the facility a world-class circus arts centre. To achieve this Circus Oz will be mounting a fundraising campaign to rally community support to help realise the dream. The call will soon go out for individuals, foundations and corporate organisations to help Circus Oz fund the final step to make this exciting circus hub a reality for Victoria.