There’s a lot more to touring a troupe of acrobats than knee injuries and late night snacks in foreign countries.
There’s also missed planes, snowstorms, countless airport security checks and a lot rescheduling. But on the plus side - what’s not to love about travelling the world and thrilling audiences with your physical feats?
We spoke to Stage and Screen client – and tour organiser extraordinaire – Danielle Kellie about touring with Brisbane based Circa Contemporary Circus. As a Senior Producer with Circa, Danielle is all too familiar with the challenges of touring up to three troupes for between eight and ten months each year. In fact of the top 28 Arts companies in Australia, Circa is proud to say that they travel the most.
The group of 20 acrobats is split into three troupes, which each tour within Australia and internationally on different productions. They currently have troupes in Berlin, Philadelphia and the Northern Territory. Circa regularly travel to 16 countries annually and this year they’re clocking up their 40th country – with a first-time visit to Slovenia.
Along the way they’ve had their fair share of misadventures! They now know that you can’t fly within 24 to 48 hours of having a cast put on a broken leg. A fact only learnt when an Italian airport refused to board an injured acrobat on a flight home. An emergency midnight call to Stage and Screen’s Rod Walker provided support, while the acrobat tried to remove his cast at the check-in counter with a knife! In this case the airline won the battle, due to the risk of the leg swelling and Rod found emergency overnight accommodation and had the performer booked on a flight home the next morning.
The troupe have also attracted the interest of US airline security, after finding that though gun cases are really useful for protecting and transporting their lighting desk gear – the authorities are going to question you about the ‘weapons’ you are carrying.
When the troupe travels they are a lean team with just the acrobats, one technical person and a tour director. Packing lean is a bit harder, as they travel with at least 16 production bags. With Stage and Screen consolidating most of Circa’s travel with Qantas, the travellers are now all Gold Frequent Flyer members who take advantage of status credits and bonus luggage allowances. For each tour they also have a competition to see who can pack the lightest, with the record going to an acrobat who had less than 12kgs for a 3 month tour!
Clients of Stage and Screen since 2011, Circa work closely with Rod Walker and Kristin Panchetti. Rod is Circa’s main contact and someone Danielle describes as unflappable. “Rod is amazing at managing our needs - from finding the cheapest European airport to fly home from at the end of the summer festival season, to making last minute bookings when we need to swap acrobats across troupes touring different countries when an unexpected injury occurs,” says Danielle. “And needless to say, the Stage and Screen after hours team know me very well too!”
To see when Circa are touring at a venue near you, go to https://circa.org.au
Circa were the recent winners of Stage and Screen’s Qantas Business Pack promotion, which saw them score $3,040 of bonuses - including Qantas Club Memberships, Valet Parking, a Travel Voucher, Meeting Room hire and Lounge Passes.