How has Circa Contemporary Circus managed to have a busy year of touring despite COVID-19? The Australian circus company performed in Queensland and Western Australia before hitting the road and heading to Canberra.
"We are enterprising and cunning," Circa's artistic director Yaron Lifschitz says mysteriously.
He won't be drawn further on that subject, but is happy to talk about the shows Circa will be performing at the Canberra Theatre Centre - one for more mature audiences, Circa's Peepshow, and the other for families, Mozart's Magical Musical Circus. The theatre will operate at 50 per cent capacity with social distancing and other precautions in place.
Canberra Theatre Centre director Alex Budd says, "We are very excited to bring these two Circa productions to Canberra. We know that Canberrans are more eager than ever to engage with live performance and we're proud to be meeting that demand with such an innovative and exciting Australian circus company."
Lifschitz says of Circa's Peepshow, "The first half is playful and funny, the second half gets kinds of muscular and sweaty. It takes audiences on a really beautiful journey."
There will be seven acrobats who do handstands, assemble towers of balanced bodies, perform with hoops, engage in extreme bending and fly high in aerial acts with silks.
The theme of Circa's Peepshow, Lifschitz says, is "seeing the world in a different way" - changing perceptions and perspectives, looking in mirrors.
Since its world premiere in 2018, Circa's Peepshow has been performed more than 250 times, including a sell-out six-month season at Berlin's Chamaeleon Theatre, and been seen by 47,000 people.
Lifschitz says Wolfgang's Magical Musical Circus is "a wonderful, funny journey that's been incredibly successful".
He says, "I wanted to take Mozart's music out of the boring concert hall and make it fun, playful and charming."
The composer had a sense of fun - he loved "farts and darts" - and Lifschitz says Wolfgang's Magical Musical Circus is intended to capture some of this.
The show has two acrobats and a live accordionist as well as a soundtrack of Mozart's music.
"Composer Quincy Grant arranged 360 pieces of Mozart's music and we had it recorded so it could be accompanied by a live accordion."
It's all by Mozart - including Eine kleine Nachtmusik, Rondo alla Turca and the Clarinet Concerto - but, Lifschitz says "Some of it sounds quite different."
In addition to the acrobatics and fun, he says, the show has a covert educational purpose, introducing children to classical music they probably haven't experienced in an enjoyable way.
"lt's like chocolate-covered brussels spouts - kids are swallowing music but they don't know they're doing it."
A great thing, he says, is that after a performance, "Children will be humming Eine kleine Nachtmusik and be waiting to hear it on the radio."
Circa have performed in more than 40 countries to more than a million people at leading festivals and have built up a sizeable repertoire of shows including En Masse, Humans and Opus. The Queensland-based company began as Rock n Roll Circus in 1987. Lifschitz joined it in 1999 as artistic director and changed the name to Circa in 2004.
"It just felt like it was time," he says.
"It needed a refresh."
Also included in Circa's Canberra season is Danger Club, a circus workshop for teens run by Circa's acrobats at Belco Arts from October 31 to November 7. See: belcoarts.com.au.
Circa's Peepshow. Circa Contemporary Circus. Canberra Theatre, November 4 to 6, various times. Mozart's Magical Musical Circus, The Playhouse, Canberra Theatre Centre, November 6 to 7, various times. canberratheatrecentre.com.au.