Guest Post Angus Foley (11): Australian Circus Needs a Wookie

Along with being an superstar circus artist, Angus Foley (11)  is passionate about social circus, and the joy and achievement it can bring to kids. He works as a peer to peer circus facilitator for students with disabilities, and has run successful fundraisers to support refugee circus projects. On his tenth birthday he even asked his guests to give social circus contributions instead of presents!

Angus took time out from training to write and present the following speech as Keynote Speaker at the 2017 Circus Symposium in Sydney, addressing the topic:

What would you like the Australian Circus Industry to look like in the future?

angus-and-noah
Angus & Noah: the future of Australian Circus is in good hands

Hi, my name is Angus, I’m 11 years old and I am proudly here today to talk to you about what I would like the Australian Circus Industry to look like in the future.

After watching my brother participate in circus classes for over a year, I decided to try circus too! It looked like heaps of fun!

Before my first class, I was nervous. Some kids made things look easy, but they were actually really hard. The trainers were very supportive and helped me find my place in circus.

I stood tall and proud performing the haka as an audition piece in front of my peers, I flew through my fear of heights with the flying trapeze, I achieved a double bench stack on the rolla bolla and I have worked with and met amazing young, emerging and professional artists.

Through circus I gained confidence and the courage to do things I never thought possible, I learnt to take risks, made many new friends and I have had heaps of fun along the way.

That’s my story of how and why I fell in love with circus.

I try to see as many circus shows as possible, some of my favourites are Company 2, Casus, Acrobat, Briefs – for kids, Trash Test Dummies, Strong, and Children are Stinky. I love the all the different Australian circus shows I have seen as they inspire me in their own unique ways.

So what would I like the Australian Circus Industry to look like in the future?
I would like circus classes and circus values to be accessible to all people. I have been privileged to be involved with training young people with disabilities in circus. In these classes I saw the participants become more creative, more confident, have fun and be more open to trying new things.

I love that circus can be for anybody, whatever their age, whatever body shape, whatever race, whether they have a disability or not – it doesn’t matter in the circus. Everybody has a place.

I think what needs to happen in the future is more circuses doing social circus, more research going into why and how circus can changes lives, and circus should be in the school curriculum.

There needs to be progress made on the Australian audience understanding what circus is. Most people I speak to think circus is elephants and lions, gymnastics or Cirque du Soleil. There is no in between in their minds.

From what I see Australian circus artists are doing a great job of creating, developing, making individual and unique shows and putting them out in the community. As an audience we do get the privilege of seeing Australian circus shows at Festivals across Australia. Australian Circus companies, please keep doing this because the more people see your shows, the more people start to see what circus actually is and will want to see more of it in other venues.

For young and emerging artists, being at an event where there are upcoming and established circus companies or individuals performing and running workshops is inspiring. As a participant at these events I get to meet, talk with, learn from industry professionals and see the possibilities for circus is endless. It is important that community circus events continue in the future.

In the future I would like the Australian Circus industry to look like the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars.

The Millennium Falcon is big and it gets noticed. People in the millennium falcon recognise their history, work together, share their resources and knowledge, take risks, make things happen, help each other out of tough situations and yes, just like the Millennium Falcon, I think the Australian circus industry needs a Wookie.

Thank you for listening to me speak today and enjoy the rest of the festival.

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