Laura Bonner talks touring children’s circus

Laura Bonner

Flipside Circus and arTour are collaborating on one of the first large-scale tours since the COVID crisis hit Australia – and it’s all for the kids!

The all-abilities workshops for kids aged 2 to 18 will involve a 2-day training residency, culminating in a performance. Participants will learn a series of new skills including juggling, acro-balance, trapeze, and hula-hooping, as well as improving overall confidence and fitness levels.

arTour, Queensland’s leading contemporary touring company, are moving the workshops through Western Queensland from now until November 16. Laura Bonner is the tour’s Producer, and we had a chat about how arTour are working with Flipside to bring circus to kids all over Queensland during these crazy times.

Why is it important to tour both metropolitan and regional areas?

It is important that everyone has access to quality arts experiences.  For communities, the practice of supporting local artists and helping them mentor the next generation within their regions, and the access to a variety of touring products that provide different opportunities and widen audiences’ experiences, is tremendously valuable.  For artists, touring to both metropolitan and regional areas is beneficial for their own growth and professional development as performing artists. We are often told by artists who return from tour of regional locations, just how enriching and rewarding they found the experience to be and how much they learnt from the  community participants. Likewise, feedback from regional audiences reveals a higher level of appreciation and gratitude.  While touring regionally can sometimes pose more challenges that touring to metropolitan areas, the positive impacts to  artist and community are invaluable.

What has been the hardest part of dealing with the impacts of COVID as a company?

The arts industry is a close, supportive community. arTour works with a variety of independent artists and companies.  Seeing seasons cancelled, venues shut down and  being unable to predict the future of the arts industry in Queensland and throughout Australia was  extremely taxing. The cancellation of tours, performances, workshops, festivals and theatre seasons has had a massive economic, social and emotional impact on our community.

And how are arTour working to return post-pandemic?

arTour are working quickly to respond to the ever-changing nature of 2020. The State Government’s Art and Cultural Recovery Package included funding support to get tours back on the road and artists working on either  delivering projects or  creative developments or both.  It is important that we find creative new solutions to touring to ensure we are adhering to COVID-19 safe practices now and to create sustainable performing arts touring solutions for the future.

How is this collaboration with Flipside different to past tours?

Due to the uncertainty this year brought, we have had to work with Flipside Circus and our regional presenters in a condensed time frame. In a matter of weeks, we have had to arrange a project that would normally take nine to 12 months to coordinate. As well as the obvious creation and implementation of COVID-19 safe plans, policies and procedures, we have had to work together to create alternative engagement opportunities that we can implement quickly in the event of an outbreak or further restrictions.

Why should kids get involved with the Flipside tour?

Flipside Circus provide a safe environment for kids to take risks, explore creativity, learn new skills and be celebrated for who they are as individuals.  Learning from home and COVID-19 restrictions have  led to children and  young people feeling isolated  from their peers  – this is  a fantastic way to reconnect, meet new people, learn to work with others and come together as a community.


For more information and tour dates, please visit www.artour.com.au

Gabi Bergman

Gabi Bergman is a Melbourne-based performer. She holds a Double Arts degree in Theatre Studies and Film/Screen Studies and a Master of Teaching (Secondary Education). Gabi has always been an avid lover of theatre, specifically musicals, and spends way too much money than she’d like to admit on tickets. Her most prized possession is her crate of theatre programs.

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