After 10 years living in Ireland, in 2002 I returned back to Australia with my partner Nigel and daughter Stan. Back to Australia and back to the Gong. We settled in catching up with old friends and making new friends. One of those wonderful people was Heidi who suggested I join Circus WOW. She dropped off a flyer with info about a new upcoming class called New Tricks but unfortunately it was popped into the wrong mailbox. In 2003 I was waiting at a bus stop and noticed a Circus WOW poster with info about a new class starting… that same day!!
The New Tricks class was at the old Bellambi space… not knowing what I’d find, I knocked on the door and Wendy opened the door and welcomed me in, the class was just about to begin. How serendipitous!!! Old Dogs, Penny and Wendy were our mentors, I came home buzzing after learning new Adagio moves and meeting new friends.
This was the beginning of an amazing adventure in the world of Circus WOW. Not only for me but for Nigel and Stan. At the time, we were caring for my mum who had Alzheimers, so life was busy. Circus WOW gave me a space where I was just “me”. WOW was about empowering women as well as providing an inclusive community space for us all. That first year I learned how to stilt, “play” with fire, juggle, “try” aerial (I have a great affinity with the ground!), hoop and clown, clown, clown!!! I learned how to craft an act, how to work and crew a fire show, make hoops, help make costumes and what it took to get a show “on the road”. They asked me if I wanted to perform… did I what!!!
I got to take part in so many performances: Ignite, Beneath My Feet, Bathing Belles, Hoopalicious, Flame, Jen’s party and so many roving acts such as the Girl Guides, the High Kinks, Scrubbers, Out of Sync Funk, the Staggering Xenas, Foreplay at the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras and more. We performed at nearly every festival in the Gong: Viva la Gong, Diving for Girls: Pool Party, Thirroul Seaside Festival, Blackbutt Festival, the Circus Conference in Wollongong as well as heading up to Yeppoon for a 3 day festival. I never got to the Tassie Circus Festival but I loved hearing all the stories when the crew came back.
But it wasn’t just about performance, I got to take part in a number of outreach programmes with youth groups, schools and other women’s groups. I was also part of the mentor team for the Tina Turnovers. When Penny Lowther decided to step down as Circus WOW’s Director in 2005, Keyna Imray and myself were asked to step up as Co-Directors and another journey began! WOW, what a time that was, there was a lot of change happening but with the support of the Fidos (Management Committee) we managed to “juggle all the balls” and be part of the amazing community which is Circus WOW. Our time as Directors came to an end in 2007 when we were successfully able to fund and employ a new Director… enter Cheryle Moore.
Yep, that day back in 2003 was certainly serendipitous!!! I am so fortunate to have these wonderful women in my life.