Flipside Circus gets ready to WOW audiences
Claire Boughey | On 17, Aug 2017
â€œA creative space to express yourselfâ€. â€œA safe place where difference is acceptedâ€. â€œIt isÂ good to come to when you need a breakâ€¦ a place to escape toâ€.
â€œWe can all run away to the circus!â€
Those are the words the performance troupe at Flipside Circus used to describe why they love coming to training every week. Flipside is a non-for-profit organisation based in Alderley that is dedicated to developing young artists, and providing opportunities for the community to experience the circus in a supportive environment.
In two weeks time the troupe will hit the stage in a cabaret show, which CEO Robert Kronk said is best described as a night of variety. Robert, along with Head Trainer Aliya Abisheva sat down with The Creative Issue and provided an insight into what it is like to train at Flipside Circus- a training centre built for the purpose of empowering young people.
The Creative Issue: Rob, you have been very involved in the arts community in Brisbane for many years now but made the move to Flipside a few years ago. Why did you decide to get on board with Flipside?
Rob: I love the energy and the dynamism of the company and I think that is what initially attracted me. I used to work in this building but I wasnâ€™t working with Flipside, I was working on other shows, but then an opportunity to fill in for a couple of months came up and I jumped at that and really enjoyed it. Iâ€™ve also always loved circus but hadnâ€™t actually done much work with a circus before so it was a real challenge and I got to discover the world of circus.
TCI: So as a non-for-profit organisation does Flipside receive funding from the government?
Rob: Yes, we are supported by Arts Queensland and we also go after different grants and projects as they come up, but primarily we fund ourselves. Thatâ€™s through the training centre, activities, corporate workshops, sub letting the space out and a whole range of different things.
TCI: It does seem like it is a very successful company that you have here, so why havenâ€™t you made the switch to a for-profit business?
Rob: It is very much a philosophical thing for Flipside. A big part of what we do is helping those people in the community that wouldnâ€™t otherwise have access to the circus. We run a lot of social circus programs and we are very much committed to working with the community so a for-profit business is not really the right fit for us. If we ever have excess money it means that we just put it back into the training centre and re-invest it that way.
TCI: Why do you think circus performing or circus training is a good thing for kids to get into?
Aliya: For me, we are not just looking at circus, we are looking at it like a part of art. So the kids that come to Flipside are getting a part of their physical education, they are learning how to perform, how to act and social skills. We are trying to prepare them for their adult life and they get self-confidence and creative vision. Circus is just one part of the arts industry, but the good thing about circus and the reason why the kids are enjoying it so much is it brings so many skills together, and they get to try so many different things. We are basically broadening their horizons and preparing them for the real world.
Rob: I think what I love about circus too is that all of our students get pushed by our trainers to go beyond what they think they can do. Because circus is non-competitive, everyone comes into the room thinking they can do these things, and then end up walking out and being able to say I can do theseÂ 10 extra things. Everyone can be pushed and I think thatâ€™s why kids feel so rewarded when they do circus because they learn that they can do these things.
TCI: Have you seen a lot of kids gain confidence and change in their personality outside of Flipside because of what they have learnt in training?
Aliya: Oh yes. A lot of children. Iâ€™ve seen a lot of the older kids go on to university and things like that and it is so much easier for them to do anything because they have this knowledge of self- confidence and self belief that they can do this.
TCI: What can audiences expect from this upcoming cabaret show?
Rob: They can expect anything and everything. It is a really nice collection of routines. We have asked our performers to really stretch themselves, and try new skills so we have a great combination of comic routines, acrobatics, aerials and everything in between. Its got people in slinkies, beautiful tissue routines, it really has a bit of everything. And we even have animals.
TCI: What are the ages of the kids that are performing?
Â Aliya: The youngest is 9 and the oldest just turned 16. It is a huge gap between the ages but because they are in the performance troupe they treat each other like family. We are a big team and we have to work together. The older ones will help the younger ones, and the younger ones are looking to the older ones and learning from them which is really lovely to see. We are constantly building that relationship within the team.
TCI: Do you find it nerve racking watching the children doing a big trick?
Aliya: Well when we are building up to a big trick, we take it step by step. When it does come to the point that they do have to perform the trick, it is my job to make sure that it has been practiced with wires, that they are ready for that and I spend a lot of time mentally preparing the kids for it as well. For me, I worry about how they are going to do the trick or if they are going to do it. I donâ€™t worry about if they are going to hurt themselves because I know they can do it, I am more worried about if they are going to do it and do it at 100%. There is a lot of practice though that goes into the shows. The kids in the troupe are here 3 or 4 times a week working on developing the show and the skills so I know they can do the tricks when it comes time for them to do it.
If you want to see what these talented young performers can do, then get along to the Flipside Circus Cabaret Show opening on Friday August 18.
What: The Flipside Circus Cabaret Show
When: August 18-26
Where: Flipside Training Centre
117 Mina Parade, Alderley
Tickets and more information:Â Visit the website