Circus WOW is a not for profit organisation governed by a voluntary committee of elected members. The members of the 2017 Circus WOW Management Committee are:
Fiona McKay – Chair
Fiona has been circus groupie for about 15 years, following Circus WOW from afar since its early years. When her daughter, Shona, started classes at Circus Monoxide in 2005, Fiona saw that the circus community has a place for everyone. A school teacher, this led to Fiona organising rewarding Circus for Sport workshops over eight years for students with autism. In 2014, after her daughter left home to join a touring circus, Fiona knew it was time to look after herself more, and joined Circus WOW to be part of the supportive, fun, creative community of women. Clowning is the circus skill that comes most naturally to her. In 2015 Fiona started to to help share the committee workload, which led to her becoming Chair in 2016.
Gabrielle Quigley – Vice Chair
Gabrielle is a local Visual Arts and History teacher. She has worked across government, private and ‘alternative’ schools as well as at UNSW and various museums and galleries. Gabrielle loves to combine her skills in artmaking with storytelling and has taken her storytelling to playgroups, pre-schools, the classroom – even as far as dinner parties. Gabrielle joined Circus WOW in 2017 after being lured in by Angela to be part of the Performance Club, just in time for an International Women’s Day gig in Wollongong. Since then, she has found stilts classes to be her new thrill. Thrown in at the deep end, Gabrielle’s enthusiasm and energy has been a mainstay of the Circus WOW Management Committee which she joined at her first AGM.
Ellen Curtis – Secretary
Since Ellen started at Heidi’s Hula Hoop class in 2009 she has been hooked! Being new in town, Ellen appreciated the Circus WOW community which provided a creative, exciting and dynamic group of new pals. Ellen enjoys the range of classes on offer and has tried a bit of everything. In particular, Ellen has loved performing. Highlights have been performing in the Petit Grande at Viva with the Clowning and Adagio groups in 2015, as an aerialist in Shakespeare Fantasia in 2013, as well as a variety of duo and group hoop acts over the years. Notably, in 2016 Ellen performed at 8.5 months pregnant in One Really Big Circus Show. Not even the excitement of that could induce labour on time! In the new phase of being mum to Josie, Ellen continues to enjoy performance opportunities, and Josie seems to like being part of the act too. Ellen has been on the Circus WOW Management Committee since 2010, and was President from 2012 – 2015. Ellen is committed to Circus WOW as a women’s organisation, as it enables women to explore their physicality, strengths, creativity, and vulnerabilities in a safe, encouraging environment.
Sharon Pusell – Treasurer
A trained screen printer and mosaic artist, Sharon has been a supporter of and contributor to the cultural development of Wollongong for many years. Most recently she helped to organise the Love, Art, Music, Politics festival at Mt. Keira in 2017. Sharon is also a seasoned social and political campaigner. She has been involved in many campaigns such as those to improve the rights of women, the unemployed and refugees. Her daughter’s interest in circus classes many years ago alerted Sharon to the presence of WOW. However, it wasn’t until 2015 that she joined a hoop class and became an active member. Sharon has since joined the performance group but hoops are still her first love. Sharon has been on the Circus WOW Management Committee since 2016.
Ella Whyman – Bookkeeper
Ella followed Circus WOW from afar for some time, receiving the newsletter and sometimes seeing WOW women in action at community events. When, in 2017, she offered to do the Circus WOW books, the Circus WOW Management Committee were thrilled! It took care of a major challenge as all knew the management of WOW finances were in professional hands. Ella has also been a real gem supporting WOW’s move to online payment for classes, and she can find information and reports in Trybooking that no one else can! Between work, her family and WOW’s bookkeeping, Ella has not yet had the time to participate in many WOW classes but has managed to get to a few hoop classes – and brought her Mum.
Libby Bloxham – Gigs Manager
It was the Stilt Mammas on the really tall stilts in a Viva parade that first made Libby go “WOW!” Then, at a performance at Viva, there was a sign-up sheet advertising introduction to circus classes for women over 45. Libby knew she wanted to be there. 2018 marks Libby’s10th year anniversary as a WOW member. Libby is well known in the local community for her creation and organisation of the Bubbles Ball which raised funds for breast cancer, and of ‘On the Shore’, an outdoor sculpture exhibition which was part of the Thirroul Festival for 10 years. Since 2012 Libby has been the key organiser of Circus WOW gigs and performances. A multi-award winning visual artist, her creativity can be seen in many details of costumes and gigs. Libby is one of the WOW stilt walkers frequently seen out and about. “What thrills me most is the combination of using my creativity and physical skills along with the friendships of working with other women to do amazing things.”
Kobie Clifton – Committee Member
Kobie found the WOW circus community helped her to settle in and find her feet in Wollongong when she arrived new to the area a few years ago. A talented aerialist, Kobie also does hoops, acrobalance and stilting. Kobie juggles family demands of two young sons and a hardworking husband with her uni and WOW commitments. On the Circus WOW Management Committee since 2016, Kobie is always open about her boundaries but makes time to put up her hand to participate in gigs or assist with different jobs that need to be done. That has meant wearing a baby son in a pouch while performing in a hoop act for an IWD event, bringing both boys to meetings, or taking a toddler for a walk in the pram to distribute WOW flyers. Contributions to the community for the good of all.
Chantel Rocks-Pickett – Committee Member
A WOW member for a number of years, Chantel has acquired many different circus skills although she looks forward to acrobalance as ‘her night’. At acrobalance, Chantel is challenged physically as a strong and trusty base. She finds that working with other women, experimenting with different balances and human pyramids is exhilarating and satisfying. Chantel has been involved in many WOW gigs and performances as performer or stage manager. Recently, Chantel began to develop her own performance repertoire with Jemadeekara Lewandowski-Porter. The pair appeared as The Educational Health Instruktionalists in September 2017’s Made From Scratch variety show. A youth development worker, Chantel has a busy life with a young family and uni work. Chantel has been on the Circus WOW Management Committee since 2016. She is passionate about facilitating Open Training as a valuable contribution to the development of community.
Angela James – Committee Member
Ange is a mulit-talented woman – beautiful seamstress, shoe maker, philanthropist, and psychologist who has been with WOW for many years. She enjoys costuming for Circus WOW, especially the clowning. She made the shoes and most of the clown costumes for One Really Big Circus Show in 2016. Ange has been making costumes for over 40 years, and shoe making for 10 years. She attends the Performance Club and clowning classes but took some time off in 2017 to enjoy the wonderful new status of being a grandmother. Ange has been on the committee for many years, usually taking care of matters pertaining to renting and organisation of spaces. It was through Ange we were lucky to come under the great umbrella of SwitchFit Gym and the generous Terri and Tom Bowen. “WOW is a great group for women”.