Arnhem Land 1988
Nanjing ProjectsJuggling the Data

Nanjing Projects

The two training programmes run in Albury-Wodonga with members of the Nanjing Acrobatic Troupe in the mid-1980s were signal events in the history of Australian circus. Their influence on Circus Oz was profound.

Through this cross-cultural exchange, the company gained a new level of technical proficiency and an expanded trick repertoire, as well as access to a new generation of highly skilled performers.

The unprecedented exchange can also be seen as part of a broader geopolitical trend, as China – recovering from the domestic turmoil of the 1960s and 1970s – ramped up its cultural engagement with the world.

Poster advertising the Nanjing Project. Theatre and Dance Platform.


Peking Opera tour

Playking, with the Elizabethan Theatre Trust and Playbox Theatre, presents a sell-out national tour of the Nanjing-based Jiangsu Peking Opera Theatre Company. The mixed program features many spectacular circus acts.

The Nanjing Acrobatic Troupe tours Australia

The Nanjing Acrobatic Troupe tours Australia for the first time. The tour is promoted and managed by Carrillo Gantner and Clifford Hocking’s Playking Productions. At the Palais Theatre in St Kilda, students from the FFFC meet with acrobats backstage.


Flying Fruit Fly Circus founded

The Flying Fruit Fly Circus (FFFC) is established in Albury Wodonga, on the border between New South Wales and Victoria. Beginning as a school holiday program, it develops into Australia’s only full-time circus school for children.


Circus oz founded

Circus Oz is founded with the merger of Soapbox Circus from Melbourne's storied Pram Factory Theatre and the New Circus Ensemble from Adelaide. They begin performing at the Last Laugh in Collingwood.


Chinese acrobats in Australia

Entertainers describing themselves as Chinese acrobats have been present in Australia since at least the mid-nineteenth century. Historian Rosemary Farrell has suggested that there may have been skill-sharing between Chinese and non-Chinese performers as early as the 1850s.