Running away to the circus: a pilot study for a national survey of Australian contemporary circus exploring the lived experience and motivations of practitioners
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 10:09 by Jesse Jensen-Kohl
This pilot study begins to explore the motivations of Australian Contemporary Circus practitioners to choose circus rather than other forms of artistic expression by interviewing two practitioners from the five decades of its development. The thesis records and examines their lived experience and takes an ‘insider’s’ approach, drawing on my own twenty-year professional experience in Contemporary Circus. Australia has played a major role in the international development of the form which has had considerable artistic and social impact. This thesis lays some groundwork, records Australian experience, presents original research and points to the need for further investigation. The participants interviewed have all have worked for Australia’s premier Contemporary Circus company, Circus Oz, and their lived experience reflects the wider Australian cultural environment in which the form developed. This thesis identifies ten Key Motivations for the practitioners’ adoption of circus professionally and shows that circus is a unique form of artistic expression for them. This thesis creates an emerging taxonomy that leads to a preliminary new framing for identifying circus as a unique performance medium, and it provides agency to the practitioners themselves, giving them a direct voice within the emerging field of circus studies.