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Backbone tosses around the perception of what strength is and its limits

Dec 24, 2018

‘Circus, as you’ve never seen it before, pushed to its conceptual and cerebral limits… so intensely beautiful it makes you proud to be human.’ 

Backbone performed by Gravity & Other Myths, Adelaide Festival 2017. Credit: Hamish McCormick, Carnival Cinema.

One in five Australians attends multi-art form festivals such as the major state and territory festivals that commission works of scale through the Major Festivals Initiative. These festivals are headed by some of our most experienced creative leaders, presenting the most exciting contemporary arts from around the world. Festivals provide exposure for artists and opportunities for Australians to experience a wider variety of arts than they ordinarily might, and bring people and communities together in immersive arts experiences.

Through the Major Festivals Initiative, Backbone by Gravity & Other Myths was co-commissioned by the Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne Festivals. Created in 2017, Backbone has already been nominated for multiple awards, received stellar reviews, and toured to festivals internationally. In a frenetic celebration of human connectedness, Backbone (literally) tosses around the perception of what strength is and its limits: physical, emotional, individual and collective.

Backbone continues the stellar trajectory of Adelaide’s no-frills acrobatic sensations who are taking the world by storm. Gravity & Other Myths’ previous award-winning work A Simple Space was a huge international success, performed more than 600 times across 26 countries – circus and physical theatre are key Australian arts exports. The Council has supported the company’s extensive touring through a number of project grants and strategic international market development initiatives. Backbone leverages this international success to build the company’s presence at home, taking the company to the next level through the platform of major Australian festivals and a second work concurrently on the touring circuit.

The Major Festivals Initiative enables artists to ‘think big’ and facilitates the production of theatrical works of scale, bringing to life creative visions that may only be possible in a festival context. It enables festivals to collaborate to co-commission and premiere epic new Australian work and showcase it on an international platform. It supports the presentation and exposure of ambitious new Australian productions, grows audiences for Australian arts and stories, and strengthens Australia’s reputation as a sophisticated and artistic nation with a confident sector.

Annual Report 2017-18, Australia Council for the Arts

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