Fish Creek Carnival is led by a group of accomplished and ambitious women who came together to respond to the needs of their community during the COVID19 pandemic and reimagine how to present work in an unstable arts ecology, locally, inclusively and sustainably with a focus on circus, physical theatre and cabaret. We combine a broad range of skills from across the arts industry, both domestically and internationally.
Beginning in late January 2021, we staged a cabaret in the only venue in town available, The Fish Creek Hotel. Breaking the pandemic drought, our performers brought new and exciting entertainment to the region of South Gippsland, which is not home to any performing arts centres or circus schools. Prior to the performance we held a series of circus workshops for children and adults, including a session specifically for people with a disability. We offered these workshops for free and were oversold, receiving amazing feedback.
In mid 2021, with the community demanding more, we returned to perform two cabarets in the hotel, again transforming it into a performance venue, with both shows selling out. Across the weekend we also performed two children's cabarets in the nearby Meeniyan Town Hall, which also sold out. In advance of these shows we held a circus workshop in Foster Secondary School and an accessible workshop in collaboration with Leongatha physical theatre company, (it’s no) drama.
At the end of 2021 we held our inaugural New Year's Carnival in the week between Christmas and New Years. We began in November with an incursion into the Fish Creek Primary, employing local choreographers to work with the children to devise a performance for our Fish Parade. We also engaged local artists to run crafting workshops in the local pub weekly throughout November and December, in the workshops locals were able to create puppets, hats or learn songs written for the parade.
During the week we offered workshops for children before and after four performances of Bubblegum and Stickytape, a newly devised family circus show we created with our resident circus artists. We performed in the park and brought the joy of the circus to the whole town. On New Years Eve we hosted the Fish Parade, a community parade full of local content and groups, led by our circus artists. (it’s no) drama also took part, having engaged a circus trainer they had met in our previous activities, to work with them one a week over 8 weeks in the lead up. In the evening we staged a cabaret takeover of the pub. We erected an aerial rig in the beer garden and turned the front bar into a small stage, as well as adding a main stage to the bistro. 7 circus performers entertained and amazed throughout the night.
In 2022 we were approached by the Tea Cosy Festival to stage a Tea Cosy Cabaret as part of their program. We put together a new show and performed it to two sell out audiences.