Big top for Freo

CIRCUS WA finally has a new home in Fremantle – at least for the meantime.

The school will operate from a big top tent in Princess May Park from May after securing a three-year lease with Fremantle council.

It’s been searching for a new home since 2011 when it got its marching orders from the Old Customs House on Philimore Street by current landlord Artsource, and projects manager Jo Smith says the search for a bricks and mortar base will continue.

Ms Smith says the lease will be reviewed yearly by the council.

The 11-metre high, double-poled tent will give the circus school two internal spaces and a 320sqm raised timber training floor for classes and workshops.

• “Bear in mind we’re the admin staff,” pleaded Circus WA admin staffers Jo Smith, Lee Burns and Letitia Brown before pulling out some impressive acrobatics with help from Fremantle Foundation operations manager cum juggler Hannah Fitch-Rabbitt and CEO and minibiker Dylan Smith. Photo by Steve Grant

The administration will share an office in the old FTI building with DADAA and the Fremantle Foundation, and Ms Smith says the plan is for the trio to build a creative hub that brings life to the park.

“The relationship with Fremantle Foundation and DADAA also helps expand how people see the circus,” she told the Herald.

“We will be helping to activate the spot, so we’ll be giving back to Fremantle and countering the perception some people have that we’re the circus and we’re always being given stuff to keep surviving.”

Fremantle Foundation CEO Dylan Smith, a former Dockers player, says the collaboration helps his organisation fulfil its aim of supporting a creative community by giving people the opportunity to express themselves through art or movement.

Ms Smith says they’ll also be putting a couple of sea containers on the site to store equipment, and have just scored enough donations on an internet crowd funding site to pay for the first.

The big top will be up and running for an open day on Sunday May 14.

by STEVE GRANT

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