Prague – 14.2.2021 2AM (CET), Queensland Australia 14.2.2021 11AM (AEST), New Zeland 14.2.2021 1PM (NZST)

New York 13.2.2021 8PM (EST)      

Australian circus: New pespectives on Australian circus

The third in Circus and its Others’ digital panel series focuses on Australian circus. In this event, moderated by Karen Fricker (Brock University), three Australia-based circus experts will offer 15-minute presentations on their work followed by discussion and Q&A with the audience. Kristy Seymour (Griffith University) will share her practical and theoretical work about how circus training can enhance the well-being of children diagnosed on the autism spectrum and their families. Gillian Arrighi (University of Newcastle)’s presentation offers a new perspective on circus during the Age of Empire by focusing not on tours of European circuses to South and South-East Asia, but rather on the movement of circuses between colonized territories in the region. The final presenter, Brisbane-based circus artist Celia White will discuss the work of GUSH, a culturally and generationally diverse ensemble who use circus to explore how the performing feminine body is read and misread.

Karen Fricker


Karen Fricker is Associate Professor of Dramatic Arts at Brock University, Ontario, Canada; and a theatre critic at the Toronto Star. Her monograph The Original Stage Productions of Robert Lepage: Making Theatre Global was published in 2020 by Manchester University Press. With Charles R. Batson she is co-founder of the Circus and its Others research project. A dedicated double issue of the peer-reviewed journal Performance Matters (4.1-2) on Circus and its Others, which Karen co-edited with Hayley Malouin, appeared in 2018. She is involved in a number of research projects about the futures of theatre criticism in the digital age.

Kristy Seymour


Dr Kristy Seymour is a circus artist and academic researcher with over 20 years’ experience in the Australian circus sector as a performer, trainer, artistic director and administrator. She has worked extensively in the youth circus sector leading a team of inspiring artists as the Head Trainer and Artistic Director of Flipside Circus in Brisbane 2004-2010. Working as a creative producer and choreographer, she has collaborated with leading arts organisations, venues and festivals such as with Strut n Fret Production House, Brisbane Powerhouse, Creative Generations, Woodford Folk Festival, Brisbane Festival and Adelaide Fringe Festival and Festival 2018. In 2012 Kristy moved into academia and has since completed her Masters with Honours on circus and autism (2012) and more recently her doctoral thesis (2018) focusing on Australian Contemporary Circus as a major artform. ). Her research has been published in New Theatre Quarterly and Performance Matters. Connecting her work to the international sector, in 2015 she undertook a residency as researcher in residence at Ecole Nationale De Cirque and Cirque du Soleil Headquarter. Kristy has her own circus school, Circus Stars, solely dedicated to children with autism, which was the topic of her recent TEDx talk (June 2017).

Gillian Arrighi


100-word bio: Gillian Arrighi has published numerous articles and chapters on the circus, popular entertainments, child actors, and acting theory. She is a founding editor of Popular Entertainment Studies; co-editor of The Cambridge Companion to the Circus (CUP, 2021); Entertaining Children: The Participation of Youth in the Entertainment Industry (Palgrave, 2014); A World of Popular Entertainments (Cambridge Scholars, 2012); editor of a focus issue on circus for Early Popular Visual Culture (2017); and author of the monograph The FitzGerald Brothers’ Circus: spectacle, identity and nationhood at the Australian circus (Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2015). Her current book project concerns child actors on trans-national popular stages, 1879-1910.

Celia White

Celia White is a devisor and director of contemporary circus. She is Artistic Director of Vulcana Circus representing women, trans and non-binary gendered people to create new circus work with emerging, professional and new performers, and working in partnership with community groups and organisations. Most recently she created Rear Vision, a drive-in circus performance reflecting on this interesting nd challenging year. As a co-founder of GUSH, she co-created Monsteria, presented at Wonderland Festival and Adelaide Fringe Festival and winner of Best Circus and Physical Theatre weekly award in 2018, Mutating Roots with Mayu Muto, and Under My Eye with Bianca Mackail.