For the past 18 months, disabled artists from Sunshine Troupe Inc and young emerging performers from Sylph Circus have been collaborating on a unique physical theatre and circus performance, Beyond

This collaborative project has been co-devised with all performers working closely with Creative Directors, Florence Teillet and Cindy Darabi, celebrating inclusion and diversity.

Sunshine Troupe director, Florence Teillet says, “I think for me the highlight of this project is the unique and innovative nature of this collaboration. More awareness from all involved will grow from it.” 

The performance begins with a question, posed by disabled artist Payge Hollis; ‘If I could go beyond my fears, I would…’    

As a young woman with cerebral palsy, Payge’s dream, ‘to go on a holiday independently,’ is a goal she dreams of. She brings her dream to life on stage, working with the aerial ring in defiance of all others’ expectations of what she can and cannot do.

Payge has been so inspired by the freedom of expression that developing her skills has brought, that she now travels each week to Sylph in Maleny to attend classes to further develop her skills and straddles performance opportunities with both groups.

Payge says, “Don’t let your limitations define you. If you have a dream, go for it, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If you do that it will put you down, like you have a fear. It’s exhilarating to go for it and you feel a breath of fresh air like you’re a new person.”

For the teenage aerial artists from Sylph Circus, life poses a different set of challenges and dreams, ‘to be more self confident’ or ‘be a more expressive performer.’ While the Sylph girls have modelled circus skills to the Sunshine Troupe, they have been modelled confidence and freedom of expression in return.  

Sylph Circus silks aerialist Amelie Mullins talks about the project, “It’s a fantastic opportunity to integrate ideas and mix with the Sunshine Troupe.  Our performance aspirations are similar and we’ve bought it all together to create this one idea.”

Sylph Circus director, Cindy Darabi, tells more, “I was surprised by the performers’ unique sense of self-expression and that became the premise for Beyond. Each performer has contributed something of themselves to the show, making it varied and rich, moving and humorous.”

Sunshine Troupe Producer, Veronica Wain, sees the collaboration as another step towards building greater understanding within our communities and the chance for real, working relationships that establish respect and connection.  

Beyond sees the long-term goals of the Troupe being realised where our members are collaborating with young, mainstream artists and creating meaningful work and connections.”

Catch Beyond on Friday January 14 at 1pm and 6pm at the Lind Lane Theatre in Nambour or on Saturday January 15 at 2pm and 6pm at Maleny Indoor Activity Centre (Maleny High School).  For tickets go to: sunshinetroupe.org.au/show-item/beyond where you can also find webisodes about the Beyond project on the same page.

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