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NICA presents Cirkus 2021: Plan 47(b)?

NICA is thrilled to present their first production since 2019!

Cirkus 2021: Plan 47(b)?
Third-year ensemble performance

Co-directed by Mike Finch and Stephen Burton

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How much do we plan? What if it doesn’t go to plan? 
Where do complicated messy humans fit in to a plan anyway?

We are all looking at a big plan through a narrow crack.
In a pitch-dark room there’s an elephant… or is there? The person holding the trunk insists it’s a giant snake, the one holding a leg thinks it’s like a tree-trunk, the one holding its tusk swears it must be a spear, the one holding its tail believes it’s a frayed rope, while the last one is sure it’s a wall.  An argument ensues… about the elephant in the room.

Inspired by the best-laid and ever-shifting plans of 2020, this funny and high-energy ensemble circus work features NICA’s 2020 2021 Bachelor of Circus Arts graduating class in their penultimate NICA performance, Cirkus 2021: Plan 47(b)?.
In 2020, the cast found themselves training in circus and starting work on this production from their bedrooms during lockdown. Plans had to change. By the time 2021 was underway, planned schedules had been endlessly re-written and re-written again, marinated in hand sanitiser, with COVID contingency plans and restriction fall-back plans, and all fed back through a Zoom pro-plan. Thus Plan 47(b)?
Devised by the students, co-directed by Mike Finch (Artistic Director, Circus Oz 1997-2015) and NICA’s in-house veteran circus director Stephen BurtonCirkus 2021: Plan 47(b)?, is a cross-faculty collaboration with Advanced Diploma, Screen and Media (Animation) students and staff at Swinburne University of Technology.
This inspiring and empowering collaboration brings together two art forms – NICA’s world-class circus skills – group acrobatics, adagio, aerial straps, Chinese pole, ball and club juggling, slackwire, tightwire and handstands – with large-scale short-form animation. 
The results are exciting and unexpected, with the animations created after set visits influencing the story told through performance. The production also features original sound design from NICA graduate Winter Chapman, a large-scale “unrolled plan” set design by Dann Barber and lighting design by Kris Chainey.
NICA is Australia’s Centre of Excellence for training in contemporary circus arts. It is one of eight national arts training institutes and offers Australia’s only Bachelor of Circus Arts. Graduates of NICA have gone on to pursue exciting careers both locally and internationally, as well as contributing to the development of Melbourne’s vibrant circus arts industry. The course is accredited by Swinburne University of Technology and attracts applicants from across Australia and around the world. 

Plan 47(b)? offers a rare opportunity to glimpse the future stars of circus before they step out onto the global stage.

Leo Pentland
Ezra Mishka
Emily Loe
Isabelle Champagne-Chittick
Antonia Sassine
Violetta Van Geyzel
Maxx Parsons

Co-Directors – Mike Finch and Stephen Burton 
Set and Costume Design – Dann Barber 
Rig Design – Wayne Appleton
LX Design – Kris Chainey 
Sound design – Winter Chapman (NICA graduate)
Animation – staff and students from the Advanced Diploma, Screen and Media (Animation) at Swinburne University of Technology

MIKE FINCH was Artistic Director and co-CEO of Circus Oz for over 17 years, responsible for creating or overseeing all of Circus Oz’s performance work, annually touring across Australia and the world, from Arnhem Land to 42nd Street New York, London to Broome, across Europe and quite a few places in between. He created the indigenous Blakflip program and was a central figure in the design and creation of the new Circus Oz home base in Collingwood, Melbourne - one of the most exciting permanent circus hubs in the southern hemisphere. In 2015 Mike stepped down from Circus Oz to pursue creative consulting work, freelance circus creation and festival direction including projects for White Night Melbourne, the Sydney Opera House, BIGhART, the Mullum Circus Festival, the National Institute of Circus Arts, Brunswick Picture House, and Carnival Cinema. 
Stephen Burton has worked in the entertainment industry for ‘30 something’ years and is affectionally known as NICA’s ‘Yoda’. Currently working with NICA as Performance Co-ordinator as well as dealing with all manner of matters OH&S, previously he has been Show Director, Circus Director (& safety officer), Industry Liaison Officer, circus trainer, Director and Executive Producer of the inaugural Melbourne Circus Festival, assistant stage manager – stage left. He has written and directed, designed and rigged, trained and taught for Circus Oz, Bizurcus, Dislocate, The Flying Fruit Fly Circus, Rock’n’Roll Circus, The Collapsible Man, Marg and the Beast, The Ukulele Ladies, Belfast Circus School, Kindred Circus, Laughing in the Square, The Great Gondos, Gadgets, Team Loko, Circus Catharsis, We 3 and Tassie Circus Festival, to name just a few. He has performed with/in Circus Oz, Dislocate, The Dekko Gekkos, The Essendon Policewomen’s Marching Band, The Flying Felafels, The Miserables, The Comedy Company, Fast Forward, Illustrious Energy, Round the Twist, Circus Explosion, Bananarama… all over Australia, all over the world. Stephen is also a qualified Feldenkrais practitioner. 

Season:                Tue 15 – Sun 19 June (Preview Sat 12 June) 
Time:                     7.30pm every night and 2pm matinee Saturday 19 June 
Venue:                  NICA National Circus Centre, 39-59 Green Street, Prahran
Duration:               70 minutes
Tickets:                 Adult: $35 Concession $28 Family of 4 $112, Group (6 or more) $28
                             Preview Adult $20 Concession $17 Group $17
Bookings:             Book online

Rated:                  PG (Further warnings TBA)



Prue Bassett – 0419 559 040 |

Media Release 28 May 2021

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