Montreal’s FAQ Circus Collective is Coming to Germantown and Now You Know
The circus arts are alive and well and Frequently Asked Questions Circus, an American contemporary circus collective based in Montreal, is transporting their exhilarating blend of modern and traditional techniques to Philadelphia this weekend to make sure you’re in the know. A consortium of friends, classmates, and co-workers, each member uplifts their extraordinarily unique physical abilities–acrobatics, aerials, juggling, clowning–as a medium for deeply personal storytelling. Aiming to stretch, bend, and break the conventions of what goes on under the big top, FAQ Circus delves into every avenue of performative spectacle from contortionist tricks to trapeze work to Chinese hoops to dabbling with cucumbers. Presented by the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts (5900A Greene Street), the company enlightens Philadelphia audiences to the exciting, transformative nature of circus with their debut production, Now You Know, showing this Friday at 7:30pm and Saturday 2:30pm and 7:30pm. FringeArts had a chat with co-creator/manager Lindsay Culbert-Olds to get her perspective on circus arts, the mission of FAQ Circus, and what’s in store for the show.
FringeArts: How did this all get started?
Lindsay Culbert-Olds: FAQ started as a group of all American circus performers who were raised in American youth circus programs and ended up moving to Montreal for a higher level of circus arts that was there that we hadn’t found in the US. We all had a dream of performing in the US, but because of the lack of circus culture we all ended up in Montreal. As FAQ, we want to come back to help a larger circus culture grow in the US.
FringeArts: Why call yourselves Frequently Asked Questions Circus?
Lindsay Culbert-Olds: We thought for a long time about what to call ourselves, and then we all settled on Frequently Asked Questions because when people find out we do circus, there are always these frequently asked questions . . . “Oh, you’re in the circus, what is that like? Are there lions? Is there a tightrope?” Frequently Asked Questions reflects the goals of the company. We want to answers those questions, and we answer them by the way perform.
FringeArts: What was the creation process like, reconciling with traditional and contemporary modes? What can we expect the result to be at the show?
Lindsay Culbert-Olds: We all grew up in the traditional circus style and want to stay faithful to those things we love–there is trapeze, tightwire aerials, acrobatics, and there are clowns. What we found in Montreal was all types of dance-based circus, theater-based circus. We want to do something that’s not just for tricks, but still have that joyful entertainment value. We worked together all year experimenting. In the show, individual members will each have a number. What we want to do is portray ourselves and our stories with circus arts. Although we don’t have a director, we are a group of people working together, and we want people to see cohesiveness, how much we love circus, and just how proud we are of what we do.
Thanks Lindsay, excited for the show!
Philadelphia School of Circus Arts
5900A Greene Street