A long time WOW Woman Helen Richards, tells us her personal circus story…

My story with Circus WOW – Helen Richards

When I left Sydney in 2003 I had joked several times that I was running away to join the circus. Fast forward to 2005 and I had joined Circus WOW. There were many things that attracted me to WOW – It was a women’s circus, it was a community circus and it was a really interesting way to make friends in a town that was still new to me.

I tried my hand at everything I could manage and particularly loved the general skills classes that were held every Sunday morning with most members of WOW attending each week.  WOW was my sanity saver while at uni, it was my antidote to the stresses that accompanied full time study.

WOW has taught me a great deal about the power of community based organisations and the benefits they bring to all of us. WOW has helped me to feel embedded within the community of Wollongong and has deeply enriched my life.  WOW has given me many opportunities to express my ideas through movement and music.

Over the years some persistent health issues have greatly curbed my involvement, every time I tried to get back into the rhythm of classes it proved too much for me physically. It was difficult to accept that my Circus WOW days might be over. In January 2018 the Acquired Taste Chior was formed as a new project for WOW.  I leapt at the chance to be involved with Circus WOW once more, in a way that I had not imagined happening. Now I play guitar for the choir each week as we develop our own unique style and sing up a storm each week.

PlayMoves | Movement Workshop for Performance

This workshop is for Circus WOW participants, performers, clowns, musicians, moving human beings, and creatives of all levels of experience. 

PlayMoves is facilitated by circus / physical theatre performer, director,  theatre maker and Feldenkrais Method practitioner Anna Yen.  Our quest is to awaken the performer, inviting the attentive and joyful performing physical presence that marries risk with vulnerability and self-confidence with authenticity.

The program includes:

  • Games to invite our playfulness and the pleasure to be on stage
  • Performance exercises to explore what it means “to be present” and in “complicity” with other performers
  • Movement sequences from the Feldenkrais Method designed to heighten the perception of one’s self-use, rediscover an organic sense of movement with more ease and less tension, and discover options
  • Rhythm as a foundation for creative play
  • A beautiful writing exercise that begins from the physical

Dates:  Saturday and Sunday,  29-30 September 2018
Time:  10.30am – 4.30pm both days
Venue:  Switchfit Gym, Montague Street, Fairy Meadow
Cost: $70.00 for current Circus WOW members or $80.00 for workshop and membership
Booking: Numbers are limited. Participants need to attend both days. Pre-booking & payment are required for through Trybooking at https://www.trybooking.com/XMLD
PLEASE NOTE: : All new members are required to complete the WOW Adult pre-exercise form here.


Anna Yen is a performer, theatre maker, clown, writer and Feldenkrais Method ® practitioner. Her work spans contemporary circus, physical theatre, street theatre, and film. Anna is the recipient of a Churchill Fellowship, a Matilda Award Commendation for “Chinese Take Away”, a Best Costume Design Matilda Award 2017 and Bank SA Best Circus Physical Theatre Weekly Award 2018 collaboratively with GUSH for “Monsteria”, and a Churchill Fellowship. She teaches Awareness Through Movement at the Qld Conservatorium of Music, is a trainer at Vulcana and was a guest artist for YConnect 2017. Anna performed in “The Serpent’s Table” Sydney Festival, ‘It All Begins With Love”, and “Monsteria” 2017 & 2018. She is a Finalist in the 2018 Qld Premier’s Drama Award with her multidisciplinary play ‘Slow Boat’. Anna has taught PlayMoves in Perth, Townsville, Cairns, Melbourne, Wollongong, Maleny Magnetic Island, Bellbrae and Brisbane.www.playmoves.

Event Details & Promo Poster

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Sun 29 July | Robbie Curtis Warm Skin

Circus WOW family member Robbie Curtis is bringing his latest show, Warm Skin to Wollongong for one night only. Join us for what is set to be a spectacular event!

Date: Sunday 29 July 2018 at 5:00pm

Location: Circus Monoxide, 3/3 Princes Hwy, Fairy Meadow, NSW 2519
Tickets: Tickets $30 adult / $22 conc. / $15 children and young people
Trybooking adds a 0.30c booking fee per ticket

To book: https://www.trybooking.com/book/event?eid=394624 

Robbie Curtis | Warm Skin
Robbie Curtis | Warm Skin

Fusing dance and circus, Warm Skin creates a deeply intimate world of physicality.

From award-winning circus artists Robbie Curtis (Cirque Du Soleil, Circa, Circus Oz) and Amanda Lee (Time in Space) comes a new contemporary circus piece tangling together our deepest desires and greatest fears.

Warm Skin twists, tumbles and flies its way through our all-consuming desires. Featuring live music from Melbourne band Yonderkid, melt into this luscious display of body mastery and breathtaking fluidity.

Director: Robbie Curtis
Performers: Robbie Curtis, Amanda Lee
Text: Joe Brown
Music: Yonderkid
Supported by Circus Oz Sidesault Program

Sat 14 July | The Most Wuthering Heights Day Ever!

Hello Kate’s and Cathy’s!

Looking for some seriously silly fun on your Saturday morning? Circus WOW is hosting The Most Wuthering Heights Day Ever! Be part of this public happening, a fun global event in Wollongong Mall where we dance on mass to re-enact Kate Bush’s famous iconic hit song, Wuthering Heights. Just by being there in red, ready to dance the moves and add a gold coin donations to support SAHSSI and our community.

Get ready to frock up and dance and take Wuthering to new heights on Sat 14 July 11am in the Wollongong Mall. Bring a smile, a friend and wear red.

If you’d like to get a head start ere’s an excellent clip to help learn the dance https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IziOMwBu7ws

And don’t forget the original https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fk-4lXLM34g

Watch your reaction change from “that’s ridiculous” to “I’m doing it” because, like Everest, it’s there.

Dress in red. Optional to dress like Kate with the billowy bishop sleeves and pixie hemline, a waist scarf, red tights and a red flower in your hair.


Ladies in Red
The Most Wuthering Heights Day Ever 2018

Ellen Curtis: My WOW Story

I had my first taster of Circus WOW in 2009 when I went to a Heidi Hillier Hoops class. It didn’t take long for me to be swept up in the physical and fun challenges of aerials and hoops, and it was especially awesome to have some new friends! Not long after, I joined the committee and have been on the committee ever since, with a few years as Chair. I was thrilled, because after finishing uni and starting work, it wasn’t long before my long life of commuting, work, and gym stretched ahead of me and I was thinking “Is this all there is?”.

When I found WOW, it was exciting for me to find a way to be involved in my local community. I also loved WOW as a creative outlet, the awesome trainers, and opportunities to perform with my Mum, and now with my daughter.

I remember being really chuffed when Kate Clarkson first suggested the chair position to me. What a confidence booster! And to have the nomination supported by other Women was uplifting. I no doubt made mistakes while chair, but the committee is nurturing, forgiving, encouraging, and a space that fosters personal growth. There can be times of stress. But we (mostly) navigate these stresses carefully and compassionately.

Joining the WOW committee, and being chair, has also led to professional growth and promotion in my other non-wow job as a social worker. I refer to skills learned in WOW in job applications, a wide range of skills like writing minutes and grants, chairing meetings, networking, diplomacy, MYOB, project management, policy and procedure development, managing a Facebook page and strategic problem solving. WOW features on my CV.

Being on the WOW Management Committee has given me space to develop, practice, trial, learn, reflect, and apply. I’m now a boss person (acting), and can thank WOW for helping me build my confidence and skills for use at work.

My favourite thing about being on the committee is the cool awesome funny women I get to hang out with each month. It can be a serious business managing a circus, making sure the money’s coming in and people are paid, checking in that we’re staying true to our values, getting performances happening, working on new ideas, making sure insurance is covered… and it’s made great by the other women there.

Ellen Curtis

The Most Wuthering Heights Day Ever hosted by WOW in Wollongong 15 June 2017

In Circus WOW, all you need is a sense of play and adventure. So, to connect with our community and have a bit of fun, Circus WOW hosted this event. A great time was had by all! More than 50 women, men and children attended. Some joined in, others didn’t, some knew a bit of the choreography, others didn’t.  Gabrielle Quigley and Ellen Curtis learned the moves and led the dance, with some dancers and singers in the group doing a great job helping the rest of us wuther a little better… Wollongong, can we do bigger and better in 2018?

These photos by Andrew Conacher with more by Georgia Matts in this Illawarra Mercury article.

One Really Big Circus Show

Circus WOW’s big performance event in 2016 was ‘One Really Big Circus Show’. Held in October at Circus Monoxide, this show was the brainchild of WOW trainer and member Jane Davis, working in collaboration with Neisha Murphy and Charlie Truscott. The show brought together a number of different circus groups and performers in the Illawarra – Circus Monoxide, Circus WOW, the Burgh Circus, Wollemi (the Autism Support Unit at Dapto High School) as well as professional performers including Tamara Campbell, Neisha Murphy, Louise Clark and Corie Hurry.


A triple sell-out success, each show began with roving characters from WOW who greeted and entertained the crowd.  Then came a Curtain Raiser performed  by a community group, Wollemi, Burgh Circus or a group hot off the press from a Circus Monoxide holiday program.

Circus WOW provided much variety and colour in the show with performers in a range of acts:

  • clowning
  • adagio (acro balance)
  • aerials
  • hoop juggling

It was a first for WOW working together with such a range of groups for a show, but greatly appreciated the opportunity and everything which Jane, Neisha and Charlie put into making the show happen, and the in kind support of Circus Monoxide. As the photos show, all the women had so much fun!

A show such as this pushes everyone in so many ways – the inspiration and creation of acts and costumes, commitment of time and energy to practice, rehearse and perform and time and muscles to help ‘bump in’ (get the space ready for the performance) and ‘bump out’. A true test of circus community spirit and connection with one another. This is what makes circus great!