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Melbourne’s Women’s Circus Celebrates 25 Years In November

Women’s Circus herstory shown through photographic archives, stories and memorabilia.


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Melbourne’s iconic Women’s Circus will be celebrating their 25th Anniversary this November by presenting a powerful adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s, The Penelopiad, and Stories in Motion Exhibition.  Experience the herstory with a vibrant collection of photographic archives, oral and written stories, and memorabilia.

A vital arts organisation in the Melbourne landscape, Women’s Circus offers year round circus and performance training programs, producing socially engaged arts projects for women and their communities. Women’s Circus is a feminist organisation that is dedicated to the individual well-being of women.

The Penelopiad features an ensemble of 30 members of the Women’s Circus. It explores the silence of women’s stories and the prevalence of violence against women throughout our culture. Running from the 22nd to the 27th of November, this ancient story still speaks to us today; a story that gives them speak the voiceless within history and lets them speak, sing and dance.

The Stories In Motion exhibition will run concurrently from the 17th of November until the 10th of December. Returning to their original home at the Footscray Community Arts Centre, this exhibition showcases the Women’s Circus remarkable herstory with resources from over 30 original theatre-circus works. This exhibition is part interactive and looks to the organisation’s rich past and invites audiences to join in celebrating the exciting future ahead.

Women’s Circus was founded by Donna Jackson in 1991 to work with women who were the survivors of violence or abuse. It was originally a project of the Footscray Community Arts Centre. Twenty-five years later, the company is still proudly based in Melbourne’s vibrant West and now works with women of all ages, experience levels and cultural backgrounds as well as with local communities.

The organisation puts women’s stories and women centre stage and in full light. Executive Director Devon Taylor said, “We see the process of making art in a community setting as indelibly linked to the nature of our product, and we believe in the potential of all women to find their place, their joy, and their strength.”

Taylor also highlighted that the richness of the group stems from having such a diverse ensemble of women, ages ranging from 15 to late 60’s, coming from various backgrounds and life experiences.

Women’s Circus has received numerous prestigious awards throughout their 25 years and has toured internationally, acting as an integral part of multiple festivals and conferences. The organisation is even the focus of the 2002 documentary, Leaping off the Edge.

The Penelopiad:

When: 22 – 27 November, 2016

Tues – Thurs and Sat 8pm, Fri 6pm (Gala Performance), Sat and Sun 2pm

Where: Drill Hall - 395 Barkly Street, West Footscray

Tickets: $30 Full, $22 Concession, $24 WC Members

Bookings: 03 9687 3665 or online

* Auslan interpreted show - Thursday 24 November 8pm **Content Warning - Staged violence against women. Content may be distressing for some viewers. Recommended for ages 14+

Stories in Motion Exhibition Opening:

When: Thursday 17 November, 6pm – 8pm (All welcome!) Exhibition: Friday 18 November – Saturday 10 December

Where: Footscray Community Arts Centre Gabriel Gallery - 45 Moreland St, Footscray

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