Now in its second year, ‘Under Construction’ is a new program developed by the Flying Fruit Fly Circus in 2020 with the aim to support emerging circus artists in regional NSW. The program resulted from the need to provide circus artists who have graduated from the Flying Fruit Fly Circus, other similar institutions, or who have grown their own independent practice, with an affordable and appropriate platform to create and perform new work.
With assistance from the Regional Arts Fund, ‘Under Construction’ became a reality, creating pathways for young artists as an essential innovation of the art form and giving emerging professionals the opportunity to enter the industry and make their mark. The program provides circus artists with access to the Flying Fruit Fly Circus facilities, advice and mentorship, free accommodation, and public presentation.
The importance of such assistance has never been more evident than during the Covid-19 pandemic. Flying Fruit Fly Circus CEO, Richard Hull, commented that “The dynamics of Covid-19 started to affect the help we could give to artists and groups, and that priority grew for us as we knew so many Fruit Flies and people in the industry, colleagues and friends that lost their work overnight. Many had a full calendar for the next two years and just saw that drop to zero.”
“We were very mindful of doing what we could to provide practical support, but also to provide some hope and positivity and keep artists making, creating and working.”
Richard believes the contribution from the Regional Arts Fund is what made this program possible. “The RAF Grant absolutely kicked it off. We had the idea for the project but needed the funding, which was totally instrumental in making it happen,” he said.
“We have a responsibility to the industry as the national youth circus and to support those artists as they continue their careers. ‘Under Construction’ has helped us refocus on those responsibilities that we have as a leadership organisation in Australia.”
Tahni Froudist, Executive Producer for the Flying Fruit Fly Circus, stated that she considered the best thing about ‘Under Construction’ was the diversity and number of artists they are able to support and work with. “It’s a real pleasure to have a positive project and story to share. To read people’s ideas and be able to provide some cash and in-kind support and have them in the building. But also, to see them engage with the team and our ensemble of young artists as well. It’s just wonderful to see that happening and happening in regional Australia.”
“We’re one of the very few companies that are regionally based. We make work regionally then take it out into the bigger world,” Tahni commented.
‘Under Construction’ has now expanded and grown into an annual program offered by the Flying Fruit Fly Circus due to its initial success with this year’s applications already underway and being considered for the next program round.