Roll up, roll, Circus Oz to hit Geelong

HAVING A BALL: Olivia Porter with Dale Woodbridge-Brown in Circus Oz. Picture: Rob Blackburn

By Paul Millar

THE CIRCUS is coming to town but not as it’s traditionally known. Circus Oz, an alternative to big-top shows with caged animals as their main attraction, will bring its own brand of entertainment to Geelong next week.
The circus, which combines impersonators, comedy and sharp, topical wit with live music, acrobats and jugglers, will perform at Geelong Performing Arts Centre from 4 to 6 September.
Operating since 1978, the circus could argue it harks back to the early days of circuses when they performed without animals.
Olivia Porter, an out-of-the-ordinary juggler, rattled off the extraordinary feats of colleagues accompanying her on the circus’s But Wait…There’s More tour.
“We’re bringing a whole bunch of different events to Geelong,” Porter said between breaks in training.
She got the bug to join the travelling entertainers in Circus Oz as a schoolgirl working at a café when a woman came in with brochures promoting an upcoming show.
“I said, ‘I’d love to do that’, and the woman gave me some information and I was hooked.”
Now 27-years-old and with endless hours of practice under her belt, Porter said she had developed a unique style of juggling as entertainment.
She described it as movement-based, laced with comedy and storytelling.
Porter can hold a crowd as well as a skittle, performing in front of audiences across the world as a freelance artist. At Taiwan’s New Year Lantern Festival she helped put on a show in front of 10,000 locals.
Formerly of Brisbane, she has moved to Victoria to work with Circus Oz.
Porter said she loved to tour and was keen to help put on a show in Geelong.
“There’s a knockabout flying trapeze and the acrobatics on the unicycle by Kyle Rafferty and April Dawson are incredible – it takes a great deal of guts and strength,” she said.
Porter noted the close bond between the artists comes across in touring shows as they worked together, for each other and the audience.
“It’s a real family atmosphere,” she said.
“We work hard and enjoy each other’s company.”