LUMINOUS: Unique Black Light Circus for Fringe

LUMINOUS: Unique Black Light Circus for Fringe

Black light, body art and circus collide spectacularly to create the unique Adelaide Fringe production, Luminous.

Luminous is Australia’s first black light circus show, performed entirely under UV light. Suitable for all ages, there's an element for every audience member - circus for children and adults, black light, together with engaging music and movement.

The show’s creator is 23 year-old champion body painter, Jessica Watson Miller, a young person with much experience behind her. Internationally recognised, Jessica is ranked highly in world body painting competition, teaches the art and has product launches, TV commercials and major events in her CV. Jessica started Art Kinetica, her body art and performance company, in 2010.

I askedJessica what makes Luminous so unique in the world.

‘Black-light theatre is a rare and specialised art form, normally confined largely to Prague in the Czech Republic,’ she said. ‘Not only are we bringing this niche theatrical style to an Australian audience, we are adding elements that are both spontaneous and visceral; circus introduces the idea of risk, and body paint the idea of impermanence. We hope our audience will find Luminous new and surprising, not least because of the collision of three disparate art forms.’

Jessica explained the show contains live body painting on stage and that this, as far as she is aware, is new. ‘While there are speed artists that work on canvas, and body painters that work with buckets of dripping paint,’ she said, ‘there is no one who creates works that are both incredibly fast and incredibly precise, which is, for us, the challenge. It is exhilarating to watch what can be created on a living, moving canvas in less than six minutes.’ 

Jessica’s inspiration for the multi-art-form show came from her initial foray into body art in the world of competitive body painting. ‘One thing you notice at these competitions is that the modelling is often kind of terrible,’ she said of the static poses used. ‘I knew performers that could breathe life into these works in a much more interesting way, so we began to experiment with it. I was fascinated by the potential of black light and soon my performers and I had come up with half a dozen concepts for a body paint show. The same naturally happened with the circus, as we came up with techniques that were both familiar and foreign and utilised the full potential of both the black light and the performers' particular skills. The result is, I think, an experimental art form that we've pushed to its limits.’ 

Jessica adds, ‘The work becomes a spectacle when, for example, the model can do a handstand and completely transform the piece, revealing elements previously unseen.’

A lot of pre-performance work goes into Luminous, too, with the speed of the show challenging Jessica Watson- Miller to experiment with her technique to come up with the ‘blank canvases’ on which to perform.

With up to two hours of pre-performance painting already undertaken, a performer is literally painted to life in front of the audience; a truly visual spectacular.

Lesley Reed




Dates: February 14-March 2, 2014.

Venue: La Petite Grande, Gluttony, Rymill Park, Adelaide.

Tickets: $25, $20 concessions.

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