​Indigenous circus acts collaboration a first for Australia

​Indigenous circus acts collaboration a first for Australia

An intercultural dialogue and Indigenous focus between BLAKflip and the Inuit community in Canada represents a first for Australia in terms of a major Indigenous circus arts collaboration, and one that will be developed further.

The ultimate intention of the collaborators — Rob Tannion, Circus Oz Artistic Director, Samuel Tétreault, Les 7 Doigts Artistic Director, and Emma Serjeant, ESP Creative Director — is to create a truly meaningful, multidisciplinary collaboration of Indigenous stories on a national and international scale.

The collaboration involves development of a large-scale festival work that will bring Australian and Canadian First Nations artists together to encounter a range of art forms — circus, theatre, dance, music, video and visual art. Audiences will be invited to engage with the artists’ personal stories and to question our individual and collective journeys.

This is Circus Oz’s first international collaboration with Canada’s Les Sept Doigts and Emma Serjeant Performance, and is the premiere of the internationalFibonacci Project — inspired by the mathematical concept of the Fibonacci sequence — in Australia.

The Fibonacci Project is driven by the belief that through artistic expression we can build bridges between cultures and promote a greater sense of solidarity. The objective of the project is the creation of a multidisciplinary show based on collaborations between artists from different cultures. This is a natural fit with BLAKflip’s strategy of building stronger connections, influence and collaboration with the First Peoples of Australia.

The collaboration has grown out of multiple conversations over the years between Circus Oz and Fibonacci in 2014/15, and also between Rob Tannion and Samuel Tétreault while Rob was directing other shows overseas in 2009. Rob’s appointment as Circus Oz artistic director sparked a new conversation of what could be possible with funding interest from Major Festival Initiative (MFI), and in 2017, a seeding grant enabled Circus Oz to bring Tétreault and Serjeant to Australia for a workshop.

A really exciting aspect of the project is that it is a NEW show — one that is not bound to the pre-existing concept ofFibonacci Project, which has performed in eight other countries in multiple languages and cultures. These earlier Fibonacci creations were performed in the same place, while the intention of the Circus Oz/Fibonacci collaboration is to potentially tour the festival circuit and/or the National Arts circuit, and then ultimately to tour Canada.

The next step in the process is to win a larger MFI grant to cover one or two weeks of creative development with Australian and Canadian artists in October 2018, followed by a rehearsal and culminating in the premiere in October 2019.

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