Friday June 23, 2017

NICA presents ‘Born in Sawdust’ – An ensemble performance by NICA’s 2015 graduating artists directed by Gavin Robins

NICA’s talented graduating artists of 2015 will be stepping back through the history of circus in the new production, Born in Sawdust, which will play for a limited season at the state-of-the-art National Circus Centre in Prahran from 18 to 28 November 2015.

Born in Sawdust is a Russian phrase to describe someone born into the circus. Directed by internationally acclaimed director Gavin Robins, this new production will celebrate the rich histories of both circus performers and their trainers, which have been shaped by the spirits living in the sawdust floor beneath them.

While creating the concept for the show Gavin Robins drew inspiration from a very local source. Robins explains, “Stories from the traditional circus worlds of the NICA trainers have been our muse for this work. NICA trainer Kostya Ibraguimov, who sadly passed away last year, provided inspiration for this performance’s thematic material. The lineage of our trainers and mentors is what makes the shadows of our past materialise into the here and now.”

Arturo Gomez is one of the NICA trainers whose stories were used as the starting point for this new production. Gomez says, “Circus is my life. The kingpole is my father, the circus tent covers me like my mother, the circus wires are my veins, the circus lights are my eyes, the applause is my best food and the sawdust is my finest perfume.”

Born in Sawdust incorporates digital technology to explore the interplay of projected silhouettes and live circus performance. The performance acrobatically intercuts between the shadows of the past and the performers of the present only to discover how connected these two worlds are. Audiences can expect to be amazed by daring circus skills as well as enchanted by the real life circus narratives woven into this work.

The striking digital projections have been developed by students from Swinburne University of Technology’s Advanced Diploma of Screen and Media (Film + TV) under the guidance of Program Coordinator Lisa Robins.

This production has also seen collaborations between NICA and Melbourne Polytechnic’s Diploma of Costume for Performance and Diploma of Live Production and Technical Services students.

Born in Sawdust is a rare opportunity to see Australia’s emerging circus stars perform a range of old and modern skills including; Aerial Hoop, Handstands, Highwire, Clowning and Object Manipulation, Aerial Straps, Dance Trapeze, Tumbling, Hula Hoops, Multicord, and Slings.

Tickets are on sale now at

About Gavin Robins

In 2009 Gavin Robins directed NICA’s third year ensemble, At First Sight. NICA is excited to welcome back this highly celebrated director of physical theatre, circus and aerial performance in 2015. Gavin has created and performed acrobatic and aerial works in Australia and around the world, including the Sydney Olympic Games Opening Ceremony, the opening of the 2012 Eurovision Song contest, DreamWorks Arena Spectacular How to Train Your Dragon and King Kong the musical, for which he won a Helpmann Award for Outstanding Theatrical Achievement for movement direction. Gavin is currently the Head of Movement at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA)

About NICA

NICA is Australia’s Centre of Excellence for training in contemporary circus arts. It is one of eight national arts training institutes and offers Australia’s only Bachelor of Circus Arts. Graduates of NICA have gone on to pursue exciting careers both locally and internationally and have contributed to the development of Australia’s vibrant circus arts industry. The Bachelor of Circus Arts course is accredited by Swinburne University of Technology and attracts applicants from around the world.

Event Details

The National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA) presents:

Born in Sawdust

Directed by Gavin Robins

NICA National Circus Centre,
39 – 59 Green Street, Prahran
Session dates and times:
Dates: 18 – 28 November 2015
Times: Wed – Fri 7.30pm, Sat 1.30pm and 7.30pm (70 min. No interval)
Tickets: General Admission
Adult – $36.00
Concession – $29.00
Child U16 – $24.00
Family (2 adults, 2 children) – $96.00
Family (2 adults, 3 children) – $115.00
Groups (min. 10 people) – $27 per person
Preview (17 Nov) – $15
Parental Guidance recommended (PG)


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