In 1996 Debby founded the Westside Circus – Melbourne’s leading social enterprise for young people participating in circus arts. Westside Circus works with young people to build a world of creativity and imagination where physical and emotional wellbeing are universal and difference is celebrated. 

Spilt Milk 2007-2009

Spilt Milk 2007-2009

In early 2007 Westside began a professional performance troupe made up of a quorum of long-term training members, led by Artistic Director Debby Maziarz. This new development provided another professional development pathway for young people to become paid performers and devisers of professional works. Arts Victoria funding and further philanthropic support facilitated the professional creation of a new work Spilt Milk. Even before it was made, Spilt Milk was selected by Regional Arts Victoria for a six week tour in 2008. Spilk Milk and an accompanying workshop package, Milk It which was developed in partnership with BeyondBlue, toured to 33 primary and secondary schools across Victoria with Regional Arts Victoria’s Arts2Go program.
Spilt Milk is a playful work using circus, gestural performance, mask with rich visual imagery to explore the power of collective story making and myth in shaping our behaviour and attitudes towards others. The work was developed around the theme of every person’s right to acceptance, specifically for a young audience.
Credits:
Artistic Director
Debby Maziarz
Composer
Ania Reynolds
Circus Trainer / Director
Andrea Ousley
Costume & Props
Amanda Fairbanks
Assistant Director
Ailsa Wild
Dramaturges
Robin Laurie
John Romeril
Performers
Gen Elmes
Sacha Fawkes
Luke O’Connor
Christy Flaws
Cleo Cutcher

A Thousand Steps 2006

A Thousand Steps 2006

Using circus, performance and multimedia, the Westside Circus ensemble of 16 performers and 4 band members explore A SINGLE DAY. The highs and lows, the domestic and the extraordinary experiences that can shape our next day and the next day and the day after that… This performance was a beautiful and simple composition of thoughts and feelings that make up a day.
Credits:
Artistic Director
Debby Maziarz
Costume Coordinator
Phoenix Bade
Circus Trainer / Director
Andrea Ousley
Lighting Designer / Operator
Gina Gascoigne
Musical Director
Paula Dowse. Ania Reynolds
Sound Design / Engineer
Pete Camilleri
Dramaturgal Support
Marcia Ferguson
Rigger
Franca Stadler
Media Artist
Genevieve Elmes
AV Technician
Ben Morris
Westside Circus Band
Bryn Cullen
Phillipo Palermo
Calum Lyndsey – Field
Richard Earl

Stellar 2004

Stellar 2004

A Westside Circus Production in partnership with the Migrant Resource Centre North West, Federation Square presented as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival. Inspired by the performance site – BMW Edge in Federation Square, the artistic process began with three words: mirrors, bells and the river. The team then researched stories and imagery that generated a notion of duplicates: the reflection of the Milky Way in the River and two star crossed lovers. During an intensive creative development, the band and performers began exploring the potential of unorthodox circus gear, gypsy music and the sounds of 100 Federation Bells. Stellar, which enjoyed a three week season at the BMW Edge at Federation Square, was a beautifully transient and stylistic story that surfed between narrative or impression, story or fragment, character or body.
Credits:
Artistic Director
Debby Maziarz
Costume Designer
Annette Soumilas
Circus Trainer / Director
Andrea Ousley
Costume Maker
Rose Chong
Musical Director
Paula Dowse
Make up Design
Leanne & Nickie Hanley
Dramaturg
Marcia Ferguson
Production Manager
Mikkel Mynster
Set Designer
Mark Wager
Lighting Designer / Operator
Gina Gascoigne
Rigger
Franca Stadler
Sound Design / Engineer
Pete Camilleri
Choreography & Movement
Jodie Farrugia

Our Backyard 2004

Our Backyard 2004

Our Backyard Circus Project was delivered as part of an arts residency through Arts Victoria’s Community Partnerships Program. Artist Debby Maziarz was hosted by Parks Victoria’s Coolart Wetlands and Homestead and worked in partnership with Balnarring Primary School, Somers School Camp and the Western Port Yacht Club to deliver a community arts project. The main aim of the project was to implement arts-based workshops and performance opportunities with the ‘backyard community’ in lead up to the inaugural Western Port Bay Awareness Week in December 2004. Western Port Bay Awareness Week, an initiative conceived by Coolart Wetlands and Homestead, aims to raise community awareness regarding conservation issues and bring the local community together to celebrate the surrounding environment and heritage. The project activities involved a circus, music, flag making and inflatable sculpture workshop program in lead up to a spectacular outdoor roving performance. The workshop program explored the theme of migration, focusing on both historic and contemporary stories of the local area. The performance itself was performed in and amongst the natural surrounds, which make up the ‘backyard community’. The project involved students and teachers from Balnarring Primary School, staff from Somers School Camp (a former migrant camp) and sailing members of the Western Port Yacht Club.
Credits:
Artistic Director
Debby Maziarz
Dramaturg
Elena Vereker
Circus Trainer / Director
Jodie Farrugia
Visual Artist
Mark Cuthbertson
Musician / Composer
Richard Cook
Costume Designer / Prop Maker
Franca Stadler

Albatross 2003

Albatross 2003

A Westside Circus Production presented as part of the Fringe Festival.

Two sisters are plunged into chaos following their parents’ reasoned and mutual separation. The Albatross explored the reverberations and consequences of separation in figurative and imaginative realms. Following a mythical journey of self exploration, the sisters wander a heartless driven trail encountering tests, obstacles and surreal creatures while searching for their lost albatross and for their perfect world that once was. Accompanied by the multi-talented and exuberant Westside Circus Band, The Albatross combined physical theatre and stunning original music to explore the notion of freedom as a parting of ways.

Albatross won a Fringe Festival best performance award and a rave review from Helen Thompson from The Age: "The albatross is one of the most beautifully composed and performed circus shows I have ever seen."
Credits:
Artistic Director
Debby Maziarz
Costume Designer
Emily Kane
Circus Trainer / Director
Andrea Ousley
Lighting Designer / Operator
Jake Argy
Musical Director
Paula Dowse
Rigger
Franca Stadler
Dramaturg
Marcia Ferguson
Sound Design / Engineer
Pete Camilleri
Production Manager
Gina Gascoigne

Westside Circus Band
Justin Marshall
Ben Mastwyk
Carrie Webster
Sophie Dunn
Anita Quayle
Alisa Wild
Elsa Southern

Poppies 2002

Poppies 2002

A Westside Circus Production presented as part of the Nextwave Festival.
Poppies was an intimate performance about a girl, a quest, and a desire to realise a good idea. The show incorporated ensemble physical theatre work, aerials and original music. Long term participants of the Westside Circus mentored new performers from the Debney Park Secondary College and created the costumes, musical score and set. The final performance was presented in the pit at the Footscray Community Arts Centre as part of the Next Wave Festival.
Credits:
Artistic Director
Debby Maziarz
Lighting Designer
Jen Hector
Circus Trainer / Director
Andrea Ousley
Audio
Pete Camilleri
Musical Director
Paula Dowse
Rigging
Franca Stadler

Don't Forget Your Overcoat 2001

Don't Forget Your Overcoat 2001

A Westside Circus Touring Performance which was commissioned by the Victorian Aids Council.
Using circus, performance and percussion, 8 young people tell the quirky story of a girl who went out in a storm without her overcoat. A show about risk taking and sexuality, this work toured to 14 secondary schools in the Western suburbs of Melbourne.
Credits:
Artistic Director
Debby Maziarz
Circus Trainer / Director
Andrea Ousley
Musical Director / Composer
Paula Dowse

Urban Heroes 2000

Urban Heroes 2000

A Westside Circus Production in partnership with Melton shire council presented as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival.
Urban Heroes combined young people from Melton, Flemington and Kensington and explored heroes and heroic expectations. Young people wrote the script, composed an original musical score, designed and made their own hero costume and performed a sell out season at the North Melbourne Town Hall Arts House.
Credits:
Artistic Director
Debby Maziarz
Lighting Designer
Jen Hector
Circus Trainer / Director
Andrea Ousley
Sound Design / Engineer
Cameron Reynolds
Musical Director / Composer
Kim Baston
Dramaturg
Vanessa Pigrum
Choreographic Support
Kate Armstrong
Set Design
Mark Mc Intyre
Production / Stage Manager
Jason Bovaird

Taboo 1998

Taboo 1998

A Westside Circus Youth Multi Media Theatre Production presented in partnership with VicHealth, the Flemington Community Centre and the Nextwave Festival.
The show explored traditional and contemporary taboos and included workshops in circus, music, video projection and writing. Young people worked with artists to develop an original musical score, physical theatre performances and video footage. The final performance was presented in the sheep sheds at the Melbourne Showgrounds.
Credits:
Artistic Director
Debby Maziarz
Sound Designer / Operator
Johnboy Davidson
Circus Trainer / Director
Andrea Ousley
Stage Manager
Susan Reid
Musical Director / Composer
Marianne Permezel
Production Manager / Publicist
Marco Baggio
Video Director
Tony Le Nguyen
Fire Technician
Annie Faysdaughter
Production Designer
Adrienne Chisolm
Rigger
Franca Stadler
Lighting Designer / Operator
Niklas Pijanti

Fazed Out 1997

Fazed Out 1997

A Westside Circus Production in partnership with Moonee Valley City Council.
A youth theatre project that involved young women in the juvenile justice system in skills development workshops and a final production at the Flemington Community Centre. The show was about risk taking, rituals and journeys and incorporated music, puppetry, fire, dance and storytelling.
Credits:
Artistic Director:
Debby Maziarz
Video Producer:
Annie Faysdaughter
Circus Trainer / Director:
Andrea Ousley
Choreography:
Kate Armstrong, Anne O’Keeffe
Musical Director:
Vanessa Chapple
Lantern Design:
Swee Lim
Lighting Design:
Danielle Sheehan
Cello:
Dawn Bamforth
Stage Manager / Set Design:
Louise Simpson
Costume Design:
Mara Murphy, Nadia Hamid
Rigging:
Franca Stadler
Fire Technician:
Chrys Gardner

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