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Canberra
Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Painting the town Rouge

Combining acrobatics, operatic cabaret and burlesque, Canberra arts legend Elena Kirschbaum created the highly acclaimed Rouge two years ago.

Kirschbaum describes it as “circus for grown-ups” that covers a wide array of skills and is playful at heart.

“There’s that sense that if you’re making something for adults it needs to be sophisticated, a bit dry … what’s different about our show is we don’t take ourselves too seriously.

“Audiences get a real sense that they get to know the performers on a real level, and that makes it quite an intimate and special experience,” she says.

As creative director, Kirschbaum says while she came up with the broad concept and vision for Rouge, from there she engaged in a creative process with the cast of six performing artists.

“When people came up with ideas we never shut them down, just gave them a go. We tried to keep the process really open so people could explore any ideas they had.

“What came out of it is a show that is more open-minded and explores more stories than you would usually see because it came from the creative vision of a number of people.”

A “circus show for grown-ups”, Kirschbaum says Rouge is vastly different from the two conventional circus shows, the traditional big top or the contemporary Cirque du Soleil style.

“We wanted to give this show a tagline to let people know it’s completely different, it’s not a family-friendly circus, and for adults this is a fun night out with a group of friends or on date night.

“This is a bit more of a twist than what you’d expect to see from a circus,” she says.

Kirschbaum credits Canberra for providing her with a fantastic environment to develop the performing skills she’s used throughout her career.

“It’s a small place, there’s a lot of opportunities and it’s a very vibrant and supportive arts community.

“Canberra has something that’s really special and unique and gave me a headstart I really couldn’t have gotten in a big city,” she says.

Rouge will be performed at the Canberra Theatre, 23-26 October; canberratheatrecentre.com.au

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