Arts and Entertainment

Australia’s Circus Oz celebrates diversity and equality

Circus Oz performer Matt Wilson described the troupe's style of comedy as “pretty self-deprecating, in a way. We like to show the sides of ourselves that fail. That's always funny.” Credit: © 2016 Robert BlackburnAll Rights Reserved.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — For more than 30 years, Circus Oz of Melbourne, Australia, has balanced cheeky humor with live rock-and-roll for an unforgettable experience. But behind the scenes, the circus is dedicated to diversity, equality, teamwork and humanitarianism.

Longtime Circus Oz performer and musician Matt Wilson — also known as “Crashmatt” thanks to his acrobatic skills, human cannonball tricks and tendency for slapstick comedy — got serious when asked about the troupe’s philosophy.

“We like diversity, and we think it should be embraced,” he said. “It’s a great thing, and it should be part of our culture, not only in Australia, but all over the world. The world’s a diverse place, and we’ve got to celebrate that.”

For more than 30 years, Melbourne, Australia’s Circus Oz has balanced cheeky humor, live rock and roll, and dedication to humanitarian causes in its unforgettable productions. The troupe makes its Penn State debut showcasing the members’ theatrical, musical and tumbling talents in “Straight Up” at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 7 in Penn State’s Eisenhower Auditorium. Heather Longley speaks with longtime troupe member Matt Wilson about accepting fear, quintessential Australian-style comedy, and the company’s commitment to diversity. Music and video copyright Circus Oz. Credit: Center for the Peforming Arts at Penn State

In addition to sporting a racially, ethnically and gender-diverse cast and crew, Circus Oz devotes its time, talents and resources to making everyone feel welcome. Members of the company lead circus workshops in remote and indigenous communities and for those with disabilities; and they hold fundraisers for the Melbourne-based Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.

“We like to embrace all kinds of people and have a strong ethos that circus is for everybody, and there’s a place in the circus for everybody,” he said. “It takes all kinds of people.”

The troupe will make its Penn State debut showcasing the members’ theatrical, musical and tumbling talents in “Straight Up” at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 7 in Penn State’s Eisenhower Auditorium.

Circus Oz performer Matt Wilson said the Australian company champions diversity through circus workshops and fundraisers for humanitarian causes. Credit: Photo providedAll Rights Reserved.

Last Updated February 01, 2017

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