Circus Oz takes centre stage in China

13 September 2017

Circus Oz presented a unique slice of Australian culture and circus performance to Chinese audiences in 2017.

In August 2017 Circus Oz took its uniquely Australian form of contemporary circus to the Xuzhou Olympic Sports Stadium, taking the first step in establishing a sustainable international touring circuit in China.

After nine performances in under two weeks, the performers and production team returned from the company’s first Chinese tour drained, after the complexity of producing a show for a very different culture, but also - according to Artistic Director, Rob Tannion — wholly enriched by the experience.

Circus Oz embarked on their first ever tour of China in August 2017, performing nine shows in under two weeks at China Shanghai International Arts Festival, and introducing audiences to their unique brand of Australian circus. Credit: Circus Oz.
Circus Oz embarked on their first ever tour of China in August 2017, performing nine shows in under two weeks at Xuzhou Olympic Sports Stadium, and introducing audiences to their unique brand of Australian circus. Credit: Circus Oz.

‘I’m really glad we got there, it was a great milestone for us as a company to take our brand of Australian circus to China which is renowned for being the birthplace of high class acrobatics. Coming in with a very different style was slightly frightening but wonderful,’ says Tannion.

A national finalist in the 2013 Australian Export Awards, Circus Oz has been at the forefront of international touring by Australian performing arts companies since its foundation in 1978. China has long been a coveted destination for the company due to its proximity, large market, and culture.

After 18 months of negotiations and discussions, with the support of the Australia-China Council (ACC), the realisation of the 2017 tour represented a symbolic closing of the circle for Circus Oz. In the 1980s, a group of Chinese acrobats were invited to Australia to exclusively train emerging circus artists, leaving behind an indelible influence on the nature of the Australian circus industry. 

‘Circus Oz and Australian circus were hugely influenced by Chinese circus and in particular the Nanjing Project which brought acrobats over from the Nanjing Acrobatic Troupe, some of whom stayed in Australia, so there are a lot of close ties to China at the roots of our acrobatic training in Australia,’ explains Tannion.


Last Updated: 13 September 2017