Circus on Screen: Short Films

14, 15 & 19–21 January

Riverside Theatres
Rafferty’s Theatre
Corner Church and Market Streets
Parramatta 2150


Varied, see below


A collection of short films that showcase the diversity of international circus. This series includes material from Circus Post produced by Crying Out Loud in the UK, the acclaimed short film The Butterfly Circus and a selection of films showcasing traditional circus in Australia.

For a copy of the Circus City program, click here

A series of short films made by Crying Out Loud and filmmaker Deborah May contextualising the development of contemporary circus over the past 40 years.


What is Circus?
On the border between theatre,dance, tradition and invention lies contemporary circus – a borderless, hybrid artform.

Circus in the Medina
Everyone in the Medina knows the Hammich family. A family of famous acrobats trained from an early age in skills that have been preserved through seven generations.

Piccadilly Circus Circus
Appearing unannounced in the centre of London on 2 September 2012, Piccadilly Circus Circus was a one-day event that saw more than 200 circus artists perform among the pendant flags and grand, stone buildings of Piccadilly.

A stark and simple production drawing on memories of the Khmer Rouge regime, Rouge is the creation of Phare Ponleu Selpak, an art school operating in Battambang but originally formed on the Thai border in 1986 as a refugee camp.

14 January at 4pm
15 January at 1.15pm
21 January at 4pm

Duration: 40 mins


Petit Mal
Combining the skills of a breakdancer, a cage fighter, and an ex-gymnast (and chef), Race Horse Company approach circus with a sullen punk-rock attitude.

Their show Petit Mal, set amid the wreckage of a tire-yard/junk-pile/ended world, showcases their all-in physical style with a surreal edge.

Photographer Bertil Nilsson talks about his book Undisclosed, a collection of black and white stills of circus artists pictured naked as they work on their skills. Nilsson spent five years travelling Europe and North America to photograph his subjects in their natural element, capturing them at work in training spaces and studios.

Signature Prop
In the Ockham’s Razor trilogy Arc, Memento Mori and Every Action each episode builds an aerial choreography, and a narrative, around a different piece of custom equipment.

Here the company talk about their approach in making the trilogy, about the sweat and the work of circus and about the stories they find in exploring newly created pieces of aerial equipment.

Manifestly Phia
Transgender artist and juggler Phia Ménard talks about the meaning of transformation and erosion in her work. She discusses piecing together the puzzle of each performance, putting herself in danger, and about the power of a circus artist to bring their audience in to a closer relationship with death.

14 January at 5.45pm
15 January at 2.45pm
21 January at 5pm

Duration: 40 mins

Directed by Joshua Weigel
Written by Joshua Weigel & Rebekah Weigel

At the height of the Great Depression, the showman of a renowned circus discovers a man without limbs being exploited at a carnival sideshow. After an intriguing encounter with the showman he becomes driven to hope against everything he has ever believed.

19 January at 5pm

Duration: 20 mins


20 January at 5pm
Duration: 90 minutes
A series of short films exploring Australian circus history.

Mark St Leon archival footage

Circus historian, Mark St Leon introduces and presents a series of archival clips featuring the Wirth, Ashton and Honey circus families, and a focus on Con Colleano – the Australian tightwire artist who became the star attraction in America.


Directed by Ivan Gaal

In 1975 the Swiss circus, Circus Royal, arrived in Australia and joined Australia’s Ashton Circus to perform around the country. This observational documentary is about their performance in Melbourne that year. 


Directed by Mandy Smith 

The elemental physicality and raw beauty of circus captures heart and imagination. Much lies behind the thrill of the performance. New Circus was a backyard experiment that drew people in. This short film by Mandy Smith captures a slice of time featuring performers who in 1978 became founding members of Circus Oz (when New Circus joined with Soapbox Circus). Amongst other circus highlights, the film sees Tim Coldwell, who continues as a Senior Circus Artist with Circus Oz, performing on the highwire.

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(To download all performances, just click the "Download to Calendar" button without selecting anything)

  • January 14, 04:00 PM - 04:40 PM
    January 15, 01:15 PM - 01:55 PM
    January 21, 04:00 PM - 04:40 PM
    January 14, 05:45 PM - 06:25 PM
    January 15, 02:45 PM - 03:25 PM
    January 21, 05:00 PM - 05:40 PM
    January 19, 05:00 PM - 05:20 PM
    January 20, 05:00 PM - 06:30 PM
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