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Featured Circus Creators: Team Members

Featured Creators


Photo: Sergio Veranes

Samuel Tétreault

Co-Artistic Director & Performer – The 7 Fingers

“Samuel Tetreault's artistic direction is magnificent! Exquisite artists combine to perfection a sensible and intimate universe with the highest and most refined physical skills.” - La Naçion, Buenos Aires


“Fibonacci is Fabulous and Fascinating! Everything, the lighting, the music, the theme and the artists blend into a harmonic whole and as an audience you are left speechless and moved." - Kulturnaut, Copenhagen


Samuel is known for his versatile creativity. His interest for interdisciplinary creation and artistic collaboration has brought him to direct a wide range of authentic work mixing the circus arts with dance, theater, visual arts, video projections, historical research, live music, etc.


Born in Montreal (QC) Canada, Samuel studied seven years at the National Circus School of Montreal. He began his professional career in 1996 as a hand-balancer performing his solo act with Alegria (Cirque du Soleil), Cirque Orchestra (Cirque Éloize), and within prestigious German cabarets. His performances garnered several awards including a silver medal at the Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain in Paris and a Bronze Lion at Wuquio Acrobatic Festival in China. In 2002, Samuel became one of the co-founders of The 7 Fingers and has been featured as a performer in their productions of Fibonacci Project, Triptyque, Le Murmure du Coquelicot, La Vie, and Loft. 

Directing Credits:

Fibonacci Project (The 7 Fingers, 2020 – 2007)

Rengeteg – Looking Out (BIAK Budapest, 2018)

Vice & Vertu (The 7 Fingers, 2017)

Bosch Dreams (The 7 Fingers, 2016)

Triptyque (The 7 Fingers, 2015)

Intersection (The 7 Fingers, 2014)

Luces Fugaces (The 7 Fingers, 2014)

Qualia (The 7 Fingers, 2012)

La Vie (The 7 Fingers, 2007)

Loft (The 7 Fingers, 2002)

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The Seven Fingers:


Samuel’s Artistic Direction Showreel:


A selection of Samuel’s Handbalancing and Dance performance:

Lisa Fa'alafi 

Director of Hot Brown Honey

Hot Brown Honey is more than a show, it’s a movement...The future of feminism is Hot Brown Honey and it is delicious - Vancouver Presents

Lisa Fa’alafi is the director of Hot Brown Honey Hot Brown Honey, an extraordinary production that spins tradition on its head, going above and beyond to challenge boundaries & embrace resilience. Equal parts theatrical masterpiece & social activism, with a pinch of circus, a stellar posse of phenomenal women smash stereotypes in an unapologetic celebration of our similarities & differences. Hot Brown Honey have lit centrestage at the most prestigious venues & festivals across the globe, making noise with their fierceness & shattering preconceptions in an inspiring explosion of Colour, Culture & Controversy. Fighting The Power Never Tasted So Sweet!

To movers and shakers, game changers and mischief makers!!

If you’re interested in - Cross cultural / interdisciplinary work :: Making work that inspires social change :: Exploring identity through a decolonising lens :: Creating Safe space for cross cultural collaboration... then we might be perfect for each other! Lets work together to shift the paradigm one stage at a time!  Radical Fierce Love - Lisa Fa’alafi

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Angela de Castro

Why Not Institute 

Despite a long and honourable tradition of clowning, it is still a misunderstood and undervalued art from. The art of clowning is one of the greatest and most difficult of them all. It is about communicating the truth in its purest and rawest form. - Angela De Castro, The Why Not Institute

I remember seeing [the] amazing Angela de Castro [at] the Old Vic in the 1990s and being swept away. - British Theatre Guide


Angela de Castro has been performing since she was 17 years old, beginning in her native Brazil where she was a well-known actor in theatre, film and television, and director of her own theatre company. She was a member of the original cast of the ground-breaking show ‘Macunaima’ (1977-1980), which changed the face of Brazilian theatre and played to an audience of over ½ million people in Brazil alone, as well as touring internationally for over two years.


In 1986 de Castro has toured internationally with the major contemporary theatre and circus companies , and ‘Slava’s Snow Show’, and is now well known as a teacher of her master class ‘How To Be A Stupid’ or ‘The Art of Creative Intelligence’.  de Castro’s creative practice, developed over 40 years, is based on what de Castro calls ‘the state of clowning’, a process through which participants find truthfulness and depth, a transformatory journey of discovery requiring courage and discipline.


In 1999, de Castro founded The Why Not Institute in London, a UK’s only space totally dedicated to performance, teaching, professional development, resources and events connected to contemporary clowning, especially that within theatre traditions. The Institute runs workshops, develops performances and builds support networks for clowns. The Institute creates a space for people to try out clowning and for clowns to be recognised and validated. It is the home of de Castro’s unique space, 'The Land of the Why Not', a 'clown's playground', a space for artists to experiment or simply exist with their clown personas outside of rehearsal or performance


Angela de Castro has dedicated her life to theatre and the incredible art form of clowning. She says “I believe in the vital role of clowns as truth tellers, entertainers, subversives and communicators in the arts, in society and across the world.”

De Castro's clown:

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Yaron Lifschitz

CIRCA Artistic Director and CEO

"The mighty Circa" - The Guardian, 2016

"Stripping the Big Top to the sublime"  - New York Times


Yaron Lifschitz is a graduate of the University of New South Wales, University of Queensland, and National Institute of Dramatic Arts (NIDA), where he was the youngest director ever accepted into its prestigious graduate director’s course. Since graduating, Yaron has directed over 60 productions including large-scale events, opera, theatre, physical theatre, and circus.

His work has been seen in 40 countries and across six continents by over one million people and has won numerous awards including six Helpmann awards and the Australia Council Theatre Award.  His productions have been presented at major festivals and venues around the world including Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Barbican, Les Nuits de Fourvière, Chamaleon and all the major Australian festivals. His film work was selected for the Berlin and Melbourne Film Festivals. He was founding Artistic Director of the Australian Museum’s Theatre Unit, Head Tutor in Directing at Australian Theatre for Young People and has been a regular guest tutor in directing at NIDA.

He is currently Artistic Director and CEO of Circa, and was Creative Director of Festival 2018: the arts and cultural program of the 21st Commonwealth Games. In 2020 Yaron will have directed the world’s first acrobatic staging of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, and circus creations in collaboration with the Queensland Opera, Brandenburg Orchestra and Melbourne Symphonic Orchestra.

Circa website:

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Vicki Amedume

Artistic Director - Upswing

Understated contemporary circus with real emotional weight … Magic. ★★★★  - The Stage

Vicki is the Artistic Director and founder of Upswing, an award winning company at the forefront of contemporary circus with diverse artists at the helm. Recognised as the storytelling circus company, Upswing productions tell new stories in extraordinary ways, blending aerial, theatre, dance, text and multimedia to create fresh experiences with narrative punch – bringing new artists and experiences to the stage that reflect a dynamic, modern world. 

Since 1997, Vicki has performed and created aerial and circus based work that has been performed in the UK and worldwide. She has worked across all spheres of circus from traditional touring tented circuses to large-scale outdoor spaces and intimate touring indoor theatre. 

Always looking for innovative ways to stretch the art form, Vicki is a dedicated leader in the sector working widely to develop new and emerging artists with guest lecturing at  Kings College London, Central School of Speech and Drama, DOCH School of Circus and Dance of Stockholm University, The National Centre for Circus Arts and Circomedia, Bristol alongside Upswing’s own innovative Artist Development Programmes including Circus Circus Circus and Circus 50:50 (a collaboration with the New Vic).  

For Upswing Vicki has created: Catch Me (UK touring); Bedtime Stories (UK, Brazil, Hong Kong); The Ramshackle House; Red Shoes; Once Upon a Pillowfight.

Further directing, consultancy and collaborations credits include: The Worst Witch (Royal and Derngate Theatre/West End);  Orlando (Royal Exchange); Barnum (Circus Consultant, Chichester Festival Theatre and Cameron Mackintosh); The Light Princess (aerial consultancy and training, National Theatre); Astley’s Astounding Adventures, Dracula, Peter Pan In Scarlet, Peter Pan, Wicked Lady (The New Vic), The Moment When (2012 Cultural Olympiad in Chester); Little Eagles (RSC); Peter Pan (National Theatre of Scotland). She trained at Circus Sarasota (USA) and Centre National des Arts du Cirque (CNAC, France).

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Anchor 2

Firenza Guidi


Gifts of unexpected beauty and ‘organised anarchy’ - This is Cabaret

 Life is affirmed, and we should grab what it offers while we can - The Circus Diaries

Milan-born Firenza Guidi is an independent theatre/circus creator and director, writer and film maker, actress and visual artist who has helped place NoFit State Circus on the international map. Firenza has developed the company's style of performance through all incarnations of Immortal, Tabú, Bianco and more recently, Lexicon.


Her work and interview feature in the recent book by Jon Burtt, Katie Lavers and Patrick Leroux "Contemporary Circus" (Routledge, 2019). Firenza trained as a performer with international masters such as Ludwik Flaszen, Dario Fo, Philippe Gaulier, Enrique Pardo and Ida Kelarova; and as an actress/singer at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Cardiff (UK).

In 1989 she founded Elan (European Live Arts Network) and since 2004, she’s been running her Creative Centre housed in an old olive press in Tuscany, Italy where she's been writing, directing, designing countless events, performances, plays. She has a PhD in Renaissance Tragedy and an MA in Film. For the last 30 years she's been developing her unique style of training and performance creating scores of small and large scale performances throughout Europe and beyond. Firenza’s concept of “theatre without a stage” is an all-encompassing methodological approach and ongoing research based on two fundamental beliefs. Firstly, that the performer is an all-round, time-based persona with body and voice, memory and desire, vulnerability and strength, self-irony and sense of humour. Secondly, that the space and the spectator are co-players in the artistic process: her shows are worlds which the spectators enter and not simply watch from afar.

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Mike Finch


"Oz is something almost completely different-a bit punk, undeniably in your face, refreshingly progressive ... exhilarating". - SFGate,SanFrancisco.


As Artistic Director of Australia’s internationally renowned Circus Oz, Mike Finch took the company to new heights. He created 17 celebrated works for the company, all of which encapsulated, and often completely reinvented, the Circus Oz spirit. He was renowned for his collaborative approach, and his work was particularly noted for its effortless weaving together of anarchy, poetry, hilarity, diversity and eccentricity, live music and stunningly creative rigging concepts, leading to resounding finales and standing ovations. His shows toured annually throughout the world, from Arnhem Land to Broadway, London to Broome, from tiny local village halls to the world’s largest circus stadiums. Mike was a central figure in the design and creation of the newCircus Oz home base in Collingwood, Melbourne, arguably one of the most exciting permanent circus hubs in the southern hemisphere.


Mike is in demand as a creative consultant, freelance live performance creator, and festival director. His current work crosses genres and mediums. The work he has recently co-created has been seen everywhere from the Sydney Opera House and Brunswick Picture House to Spiegeltents in all corners of the globe.

An example of Mike’s work-Circus Oz From The Ground Up

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Tilde Björfors

Artistic Director


. . .an art form wide as the sky, where activism becomes painfully beautiful but also symbolizes the balance between life and death with which it struggles. -  Västerås Newspaper


... allows the body and senses to open our intellect. Cirkus Cirkör transforms the bars that keep people apart into bridges that unite us. - Gothenburg Post


Tilde Björfors is the founder and Artistic Director of the Swedish company Cirkus Cirkör. Tilde  has  over  25  years  of  experience  directing  cross  border  stage  performances  in  opera,  theatre,  circus,  movies  and  exhibitions.  Tilde  has  directed  a  majority  of  Circus  Cirkör’s  large  scale  productions,  including  Epifónima, Satyagraha,Limits, Borders, Knitting Peace, Wear It Like a Crown and Inside Out. Her work has been presented on stages and theatres all over the world and she has been awarded with a numerus of prestigious awards for her artistic achievements among othersthe The Swedish H.M. The King ́s Medal of the 8th dimension with blue ribbon and most recently the Premio Europa per il Teatro Prize New Theatrical Realities. Her trademark is to always involve circus art in her work, and she has been pioneer and a driving force in establishing contemporary circus as an art form in Northern Europe.

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Anna Vigeland

Circus Choreographer and Creative Consultant

Intersections, collisions of lives, an unusual scenario. [...] The performers, under the guidance of Anna Vigeland and Serena Gatti, dance in a seamless flow - Giada D’Addazio, AtelierFestival


Anna Vigeland…wildly soars - Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun Times


Anna has developed and co-developed performance projects ranging from a cloudswing and music duo in a stairwell (Festival Alta Stagione, Naples), to a site-specific trio in the Norwegian Arctic Circle (Arctic Cultural Centre, Hammerfest), to a trapeze installation (Chicago Contemporary Circus Festival), to a promenade performance series with circus and other artists from across Bulgaria (Bulgarian tour), to a collaboration with Athens-based artists drawing off one of their poems (Kinitiras Studio), to a current oral history and performance project re-presenting other artists’ memories of shows. She spent three seasons as circus choreographer with sailing political theatre Caravan Stage, collaborated on a performance on a barge on the Elbe river (ITI Germany /Theater der Welt Festival), and continues to support others' projects as a choreographer, researcher, and outside eye. Anna began her career as a circus performer (7 Fingers, Lookingglass Theater, Cavalia, Universal Studios Japan, Franco Dragone Productions/RTP TV2, Cirque du Soleil events, and others). She’s a graduate of the National Circus School of Montreal and the University of Massachusetts and is currently pursuing an MA at Concordia in Montreal. When brought on as a choreographic or creative consultant, Anna works to uncover, support, and amplify her collaborators’ interests and choices.

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Deb Pope


First there was De La Guarda, then the Dome Spectacular, and now, “Deadly”! – The Guardian.


Deb Pope has worked with Britain’s premier visual, circus, opera and theatre companies and her solo work includes The Royal Opera,
and Ra Ra Zoo. 
Her own company No Ordinary Angels’ international work includes Circus OZ, Munich, Melbourne, Cadiz, Edinburgh and New Zealand International Arts Festivals.

Deborah has choreographed for film, television, opera and theatre, including Faust for the RSC and directed large scale events for The Docklands International Festival, The Guildhall, The Circus Space, Cambridge Corn Exchange and Covent Garden.

She produced and directed New Zealand’s first New Circus, was Head Coach at the Millenium Dome and has created installations for The Tramway, Glasgow and Three Mill Island Deborah has taught at all levels, both technically and creatively, Australia’s The Flying Fruit Fly Circus, Brazil’s Escolina de Circo, and UK’s Circomedia, and Circus Space.

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Leah Shelton

Performer, Creator, Director

... an all-guns blazing, brute force demolition of sexual politics - Gutter Culture

... doesn’t waste a single moment - a transfixing combination of fierce intellect, intense presence and bold physical comedy - The Age


Psycho-siren Leah Shelton creates stylized, guttural, renegade feminist work soaked in cult references and dark humour. Her work has taken her from the glamour of Las Vegas to the back streets of Kings Cross, from rigorous training in Japan to live art festivals in New York.


As a solo artist, Leah has graced the cabaret stages of La Clique, Club Briefs, Little Death Club and Vegas Nocturne. Her first solo work, ‘Terror Australis’, received numerous awards and toured throughout Australia and France.


Leah’s second solo work, ‘Bitch On Heat’, directed by UK Performance Art luminary Ursula Martinez, has toured Australia and to Soho Theatre London to critical acclaim and standing ovations.


Leah is also Co-Director of artist collective Polytoxic, one of the most prominent contemporary Pacific theatre companies in Australia. With Polytoxic, Leah has presented work at PS122’s COIL Festival NYC, Harbourfront Centre Canada, WanSmolbag Vanuatu, Sydney Opera House, Darwin Festival, Brisbane Festival, APAM, Bleach*, Enlighten, ArtsHouse Melbourne, Ten Days on the Island, Brisbane Powerhouse and QPAC.


Originally dance-trained, Leah has a diverse performance background including over ten years training in the Suzuki Actor Training Method with Frank Theatre (Brisbane, AU), Suzuki Company of Toga (Toga / Shizuoka, Japan) and SITI Company (New York, USA).

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Anchor 3

Jasmine Straga

JS Creations

Jasmine Straga creates acts for the international circus circuit. She is on the Board of Directors for the Federation Mondiale du Cirque, and a jury member on many other international competitions. Her clients work for companies throughout the world including Cirque DuSoleil, Roncalli, Circus Krone, Moulin Rouge and many more.


Awards for acts created in collaboration with Jasmine include: China Acrobatics Association Special Prize, National Sports of Monaco Special Prize, Grande Prix Award and Most Creative Award, The International Junior Masters OK competition, SOCI (Russia); Elefante D’or Prize (Spain),Bronze Prize Wugiao International Circus Festival (China), 5 awards at Princess Stephanie ofMonte Carlo’s Festival International Du Cirque (Monaco), Silver Prize, Cirque du Massy (France).


Dancer trained, Jasmine toured the world as a contortionist, aerialist and dancerwith both classical and contemporary circuses. As well as specialty acts, Jasmine creates shows and events for a host of organisations including City of Dreams Casino, Dragone, Costa Criuses, Cubic Night Club Macauand Gala Entertainment Management (San Diego).


JS Creations Video and website:

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Clarke McFarlane
(Mario Queen of the Circus)

Performer, Creator, Showman

Eccentric sense of humour and a playful bawdiness -The New York Times

Clarke McFarlane has featured in the Olivier award winning shows La Clique and La Soiree and in Opium at the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. He performs his full length shows at International Comedy, Rock, Street arts, Fringe and Busking festivals around the world.  His laboratory, however, has always been the street, designing shows that can engage a diverse cross section of people passing by at any given time and whipping them into a united frenzy.

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Robbie Curtis

Independent Artist, Dancer, Acrobat

"Robbie Curtis not only moves like Nijinsky while juggling seven balls, but also supports the whole ensemble by literally lifting them off the floor – all at once." -  Arts Review


Robbie is a leading Australian dancer and acrobat. His fluid and innovative weaving together of juggling, movement and acrobatics has been seen contemporary circus and dance shows throughout the world, including Cirque Du Soleil, Circa, Circus Oz, The Australian Ballet and Shaun Parker. His skills include ball juggling, hoop diving, tumbling, adagio, and group acro. He also has extensive experience with harness work, including high wire walking and wall running. Robbie has a rich understanding of interdisciplinary physicality. He loves creative physical exploration, and discovering new ways of moving.


A little snippet of Robbie’s acro with Circa and the Brandenburg Orchestra

Robbie’s online juggling, dance, handstand and fitness classes on youtube.

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Anna Yen

Director, Writer

"[GUSH’s Monsteria is]...brimming with wonder…imbued with meaning, heart and precision in every moment". - Merlynn Tong, Playwright/Actor

"[Monsteria] is filled with moments of extreme beauty and clarity." - Broadway Baby


Anna Yen is a performer, theatre-maker, and physical theatre teacher. Anna’s one woman show, “Chinese Takeaway”, a ground-breaking exploration of Chinese migration to the west, was adapted into a film for SBS by Looking Glass Pictures. The film was presented at Festivals in Asia, Europe and USA. She is also currently a member of award-winning, feminist, circus ensemble, GUSH Circus. Anna’s unique depth of knowledge in circus as physical theatre developed to new levels when she participated in renowned theatre teacher, Monika Pagneux’s invitation-only annual masterclasses for 7 years. She was present at Pagneux’s final masterclass in Barcelona as an assistant teacher. Anna has also studied with the Nanjing Acrobatic Troupe, Shanghai Circus School, Philippe Gaulier,, Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre and Ira Seidenstein. Through her company, PlayMoves, Anna teaches Movement Workshops for Performance integrating  playfulness, complicity with other performers, stage-craft, ensemble games, and Awareness Through Movement and creativity.  


Anna Yen features in this video about the Circus Oz Strong Women Program:

Anna online teaching options:

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Sean Gandini


t looks, and is, exquisitely beautiful  - The Herald

A Show that is quietly mesmerising  - The List
Astonishing skills in a clever and engrossing piece -  The Stage

Sean Gandini is one of the pioneers of contemporary juggling. Working as a performer, choreographer and director he has, for over 25 years, pushed the boundaries of juggling as a discipline and as an art form.

Growing-up in Havana, Cuba, Sean was fascinated by Magic and Mathematics, but shortly after he began juggling, prompting a life-long fascination with all aspects of the art form. Sean’s professional career began in the 1980s, regularly performing in London’s famous Covent Garden and touring with various theatre companies – including the pioneering Ra-Ra Zoo. In 1991, with Kati Ylä-Hokkala, he co- founded Gandini Juggling and together they have been at the forefront of experiments into what juggling is and what juggling can be.

Sean is a prolific creator. Whether working with the technicality of ‘pure’ juggling, crafting spectacular street art shows, or exploring the ways juggling might blend with other art forms, Sean is guided by a natural curiosity and delight in the myriad possibilities of throwing objects into the air.

This has led to the creation to a diverse array of shows, including the playful Sweet Life; the fiendishly complex celebration of the London Olympics Twenty/Twenty; choreographing Philip Glass opera Akhnaten and the company smash hit, the darkly humorous and theatrical homage to Pina Bausch Smashed.


Gandini Juggling Excerpts:


Gandini Juggling:

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Deb Batton

Director, Performer

"What amazed me most was the sophistication, nuance, humour, energy and command Debra brought to the cast. It was a masterclass in how to act in a physical theatre/circus work. The world needs to see more of her in shows that are courageous [and] original."
Yaron Lifschitz Artistic Director and CEO CIRCA


"Casting Off … is laugh-out-loud funny. It is motivational. It is intelligent. And, with mind-blowing trapeze stunts, it is testament to what the human body can do." - Edinburgh Festivals Magazine


Debra is currently a featured performer/co-creator in the innovative, feminist, highly physical circus Ensemble “A Good Catch”. She is also a director, performer, choreographer, teacher, mentor and consultant in circus, physical theatre, performance, theatre and film.  As Artistic Director of Legs on the Wall, Deb created award winning, site specific, physical theatre which toured globally. She was celebrated for her collaborative, devised process. She worked with a dedicated and skilled ensemble to make many multi-disciplinary shows. Her final show for Legs on the Wall, “On the Case” won two Helpmann Awards and opened the Dublin International Arts Festival.


During her fifth decade Debra, returned to the stage and began the reinvention of her independent artistic practice. She Initially began making solo work but her long love of co-creation could not be resisted and she now makes and performs collaborative work with A Good Catch ,Such n Such (Improvised Performance) and Batton & Broadway clown and variety. ‘Casting Off’ by A Good Catch won the Total Theatre and Jacksons Lane Award for circus at Edinburgh Fringe 2018, and Best Circus at both Melbourne Fringe and Adelaide Fringe (2018 and 2019, respectively). Debra continues to work with a wide range of companies including Axis Theatre, Canada; Kneehigh Theatre, UK; and Tumble Circus, Ireland.


Debra’s Current Collaborative Work:

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Scott Maidment

Creative Producer

"LIMBO UNHINGED is an awe-inspiring evening of circus, music, mystery and comedy" -. Broadway World


"The Garden brings together a large cross-section of the world’s best and most exciting contemporary physical performers, creating a melting pot for the quirky and the eccentric in a major industry gathering." -  Kristy  Seymour, Bodies, Temporality and Spatiality in Australian Contemporary Circus, Griffith University, 2018

The Founding Director of Strut & Fret Production House, Scott's work combines unconventional entertainment, high-flying spectacle, nu-circus, extreme theatre, and dynamic music experiences. 


Strut & Fret has recently presented exclusive seasons at The Sahara Las Vegas, The Hippodrome Casino (London) and Paradise Island Resort (the Bahamas).  The sequel season to BLANC de BLANC, BLANC de BLANC Encore has recently completed sold out seasons at Adelaide Fringe and the Sydney Opera House, and cabaret sensation LIMBO has this year celebrated its 800th performance in Amsterdam. He is also Director of the New Zealand Bread and Circus Festival. Scott has produced major events and precincts for Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Sydney, Melbourne, Darwin and Brisbane Festivals, Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Kermezzo(o) Brussels, and Adelaide Festival Fringe.

He was part of the creative team for Madonna's 2015 Rebel Heart World Tour and has since been invited to curate and direct entertainment for Madonna’s birthday parties in the Hamptons and Morocco.

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Jess Love

Independent Artist

"Jess Love balances her unique acrobatic style with story and uses ropes and trapeze to provide metaphor and meaning to her complex love life. Love is energetic and resilient, utilizing her circus talents and skills to create riveting self-reflective tales." -  Stage Whispers

For the past 17 years Jess has been touring the world with, among others,  La Clique, Circa, La Soiree, Dislocate Physical Theatre, Duckie, Candy Butchers, and The Burlesque Hour. Her first solo theatre show ‘And The Little One said…’ premiered in 2009, winning the Melbourne Fringe Circus Oz Award for Best Original Circus Work. In 2014 Jess won a London Cabaret award for “Best Circus Act” for her solo hula act in La Soiree. Her second solo work, Notorious Strumpet & Dangerous Girl, premiered at The Melbourne Fringe festival, where it won "Melbourne Fringe Circus Oz Award for Best Original Circus Work", and went on to win “Best Circus & Physical Theatre” in the Adelaide Fringe Festival in 2017.


Her latest solo piece Hell is Other People was commissioned as a part of the Sidesault-at-the-Melba Festival of Experimental Circus and premiered in Melbourne late 2018. It went on to be awarded a Green Room award for Best Circus Production. As well as a show creator, Jess is a hula artist, aerialist, acrobat, comedian, and burlesque performer. She has combined quick change magic with hula, turned bottle walking into an expose of alcoholism in artists, and proven that skipping is a crucial, but not always beautiful, life lesson. 


Some snippets of Jess’s work with other companies:


An interview with Jess on Australia’s amazing circus site. Carnival Cinema:

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Harley Mann

Director, Artist, Company Founder

"Chasing Smoke is more than a circus act, it is revelatory theatre." - Scenestr


Harley Mann, a Waka Waka man from Queensland, grew up in Sydney NSW on Gadigal country. As a performer he specialises in Aerial Rope and Diabolo, performing both as a part of Casus’ award winning show Chasing Smoke (originally created as part of the Circus Oz BLAKflip program). 


Recent awards and appointments include:

2018 Melbourne Fringe Award for Best Emerging Circus Artist.

2018 Youth Representative Sydney Festival Circus Talk Series

Current member of the Circus and Physical Theatre Advisory Group for Theatre Network Australia


Harley has been working and training as a member of the circus industry since 2003. He has been honing his skills as an artist from the teachings of elders of the community with hope to pass this knowledge onto the next generation. After attending the 2013 Catapult Circus Festival, Harley found his passion for circus and since then has been chasing his dream to build a circus company that inspires young artists.


Drawing on his own Aboriginal heritage as inspiration Harley founded Na Djinang Circus in 2017 and since then has been working with a number of creatives and artists to present their premiere piece Social Staples and their most recent work Common Dissonance at festivals around Australia.


Furthering his training by completing the Bachelor of Circus Arts at Melbourne’s National Institute of Circus Arts, Harley is ensuring that he upskills while he tours, creates, and develops what he hopes is a significant contribution to Australia’s contemporary circus industry.


Na Djinang Circus:

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Mayu Muto

Performer, Creator


“...brimming with wonder…imbued with meaning, heart and precision in every moment.” Merlynn Tong, Playwright/Actor “...moments of extreme beauty and clarity…” - Broadway Baby


Mayu Muto is a Brisbane (QLD) based circus artist who actively creates work that investigates perceptions of cultural identity, gender and sexuality, particularly of Asian Australian women. Mayu’s works combine skills from dance, circus and movement, using aerial apparatuses to express images and concepts. Mayu has extensive training in Ballet and Contemporary dance. Her training institutions include Royal Antwerp Dance School in Belgium, Frankfurt University (Dance faculty) in Germany and Suzuki Classic Ballet Academy in Japan.  Mayu has been working professionally as a circus artist since 2014 specialising in aerial (Rope, Tissu and doubles) and dance/physical theatre, and she works for companies such as GUSH, Aerialicious Entertainment and Wilde Applause Creative Productions, and she has been a cast member of Casus Circus since 2018.

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Zebastian Hunter

Director, Artist, Company Founder

"…blew me away [with] scenes suffused by the theatricality, expressiveness and feeling of elite dance theatre… ensemble acrobatics is blended with dizzying aerial display and other feats of dexterity – diablo, juggling, Russian bar and roue Cyr, among others – that often swing, pendulum-like, between synchronicity and chaos, tribalism and individuality, collaboration and competitiveness." - Sydney Morning Herald


Circus director Zebastian Hunter began his career as an elite circus artist appearing in performances all over the world in circus companies, festivals, cabarets, TV, Gala events, the 2000 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony and from 2009-2015 he performed as a featured soloist in Cirque Du Soleil's Alegria and Quidam.


Committed to study Zebastian has trained at the Fruit Fly Circus, the National Circus School of Montreal, at UNISA (Master of Arts and Cultural Management), and NIDA (Master of Fine Arts-Directing).


In 2016 he joined NICA as the Head of Performance Studies. Here he directed The Odyssey, Fresh Recruits, Precipice, Dispersion, Slumber Party, Eurydike & Orpheus (NICA/NIDA) and Le Sacré (NICA/Australian Ballet School).  Independent directing credits include Hawker’s Brewery Circus, the Chadstone Centre Christmas Show, Empty Bodies (Provocaré) and Perpetual Frustration Machine.  He has attended conferences in Montreal, Kiev and Shanghai, created with the Beijing International Arts School and collaborates annually for Arts8.


Zebastian assumes many other roles within the arts including: circus director (Barnum musical), dramaturg (One Fell Swoop and Dontbedown Productions), movement director (Still Point Turning), assistant circus director for the Ambani Wedding (Anystage Productions) and casting consultant (Cirque Du Soleil). 


Excerpts from one of Zeb’s works:

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Sosina Wogaheyu


"The stunning Sosina Wogayehu" - New York Theatre


Sosina grew up in Addis Ababa as a child performer with Circus Ethiopia She has toured globally with many major companies. She is graduate of graduate of the National Institute of Circus Arts, and has links with Cirque Du Soleil in Canada and the network of performers, directors, teachers and agents around the world. Sosina is passionate not only about circus and live performance but also about helping to make a concrete difference in Ethiopian lives through developing cultural and career opportunities. The Gamo circus school exists to realize this vision.


“My dream is to provide an opportunity for all the young Ethiopian and African artists to bring their artistic talents to our world. To give them a chance to express their emotions, their wealth and their worlds through the contemporary arts of dance, circus and theater. I have the conviction that with my history, my experience and my networks throughout the world, I can contribute this dimension of ethio-african contemporary arts and create a leading organization in Ethiopia.”



2016 – International Philanthropy Award
2011 –  Nominee for Help man Award For the performance of Carnival of Mistress
2003 – Circus Princess People’s Choice Award (Stockholm)


Sosina’s story is beautifully told in this Memoir written with David Carlin

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