Show reflects life in post-quake city

MARC GREENHILL
Last updated 05:00 20/11/2012
Daniel Tobin

Marc Greenhill visits The Christchurch Circus Trust who are holding a dress rehearsal for their upcoming show Ascend.

Acrobat Shelly Dingwall performs as Madam Gigi in the Christchurch Circus Trust show Ascend
KIRK HARGREAVES/Fairfax NZ
IN SUSPENSE: Acrobat Shelly Dingwall performs as Madam Gigi in the Christchurch Circus Trust show Ascend, which begins a four-day run on Wednesday.

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Art will imitate life when a Christchurch circus theatre troupe's show about a post-disaster power struggle hits the stage.

Ascend will be the Christchurch Circus Trust's first major production since its group of professional trapeze artists, jugglers, acrobats and contortionists moved to new premises in Opawa in March.

The performers were left homeless when the CircoArts school in Moorhouse Ave closed after the February 2011 earthquake.

Writer/director Danny Lee said Ascend was based on a small community living within a compound thrown into disarray after a major disaster, and the struggle for power and control after an imposed military take over.

"The show is base on a post-disaster, so it does reflect the situation here in Christchurch. Not only for us as performers, but everyone," he said. "That's loosely what it's based on, along with social aspects that come along with that - power, conflict, relationship problems and just dealing with disaster."

Acting, physical theatre and comedy complemented the circus skills on show, Lee said.

Venues to host such a show had been be limited since the quake because of the need for a high ceiling.

The trust hoped to secure the A-framed Wilsons Rd venue, owned by the Opawa Baptist Church, on a two-year lease.

It has doubled as a space for professional training and community classes.

Lee said the city had retained a "hardcore" group of up to eight performers despite the CircoArts course closure. "A lot have gone to Australia or Europe to make a living, which is fair, but they always come back. If this [venue] wasn't here, there'd probably be no reason to come back," he said.

Ascend runs November 21-25, 8pm, at 278 Wilsons Rd. Email circustrust@gmail.com or phone 027 436 5384 to book.

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- The Press

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