By Elizabeth Foster
The timeless art of circus is proudly on show at the Woodford Folk Festival, with new creations reinventing the age-old craft.
The Displaced is a show created by Time and Space circus group, which formed earlier this year.
It’s their first show since coming back to Australia after performing in Europe earlier in the year, and they created it with only seven weeks of preparation.
The performance begins slowly, without any announcement you are suddenly drawn into a world of wonder, watching the impossible done seamlessly. You can’t help but hold your breath, as you watch a man support his whole body with one hand in the air (did i mention that one hand was on the head of someone playing the keyboard?).
Dylan Phillips has been involved in circus since he was a child, travelling around the world, but said Australia will always be one of his favourite places to preform.
“We’re very privileged we get to perform all over the world which is amazing,” Dylan said.
“Australian crowds are pretty fun. Woodford is such an amazing crowd; these guys are lovely super supportive.”
Despite what many may think, circus is far from a dying art form, evolving with the times to create a more contemporary act.
“Circus is definitely a booming industry. Australia is pumping out some of the best circus around the world. I think there has definitely been a switch, people still think of it as traditional circus with your clowns and your animals and people in fancy costumes doing tricks; but circus is much like theatre and dance, as a platform to tell stories, to express ourselves and to provide thought within its audience.”, said Dylan.
In fact, you definitely get a feel that there is more than what meets the eye with this performance, as you can’t escape the feeling that each routine has its own unique message, coming together as one act.
“We’re not necessarily pushing a certain agenda or trying to make everyone come away with the exact same opinion, but rather using images to provoke thought within the audiences mind, whether that’s to do with gender, or whether it’s to do with connection or cultural conditioning.
“There’s a lot of different scenes in there which are not exactly telling you what to think but rather there to make you feel something”.
Chayne Hultgren, more commonly known by his stage name Space Cowboy, holds 54 world records (the top world record holder in Australia), most famously swallowing 24 swords.
But for Chayne, the titles come second to his sense of satisfaction.
“The main reason I do it is for personal achievement and personal gain. Yeah I just love pushing myself and seeing how far I can go,” Chayne said.
Chayne has performed for the festival for many years, this year however is his first time trying out his new show ‘Deja Voodoo’. The show is science based, and is something Chayne has been eager to do for years.
“Any artist has to keep evolving what they do otherwise it becomes stale,” he said.
” I’ve always got a new show. Usually it’s kind of like a kind of freak show themed or mentalism themed. And this year it’s science.”
Chayne like, Dylan believes the art of circus can mean a lot of different things, and says it is certainly not going away anytime soon.
“Well to me circus has never really been just like clowns and jugglers, circus has always been just any sort of bizarre performance for me it’s never been restricted to a circus tent or anything like that either,” he said.
“There’s a like a whole trend of new circuits. ”
“I’d like to thank Woodford for bringing us here and the audience has been great and yet we’re having so much fun.”