Proceed With Caution: Circus Oz Returns to Cal Performances, February 15-17

 Photo:  Rob Blackburn

SchoolTime: Special One-hour Performance for Students Friday, February 15 at 11:00 a.m.

“[Showcasing] some truly herculean feats of strength along with truckloads of humor and heart” (San Francisco Chronicle), Australia’s Circus Oz returns to Cal Performances’ Zellerbach Hall, Friday–Sunday, February 15–17, with its latest production, From the Ground Up. From the Ground Up is built upon a construction theme, drawing inspiration from Charles Ebbets’ 1930s photography of construction workers and Rosie the Riveter from the 1940s. Always unexpected, From the Ground Up is performed to original music from the company’s five piece band lead by Carl Polke who plays the guitar—both electric and air. The controlled chaos that is integral to every Circus Oz performance is headed up by artistic director Mike Finch and senior circus artist and founding member Tim Coldwell. The group combines a dozen longtime artists with cutting-edge new performers, allowing the troupe to reinvent itself year after year.  Last seen at Cal Performances on October 2010, the “delightful (and skillfully) in-your-face” Circus Oz was recently selected by the San Francisco Chronicle as a must see event in 2013.

Circus Oz will give a SchoolTime performance for Bay Area students Friday, February 15 at 11:00 a.m. in Zellerbach Hall.  Tickets available in advance only.

Circus Oz was formed in 1978 when two smaller independent circuses, Soapbox Circus and the New Circus, merged. Circus Oz debuted that same year at the Adelaide Festival.  By 1980, Circus Oz had begun to tour internationally. The first tour traveled to Papua New Guinea, Holland, Belgium, London, Norwich, Bath, and Chichester. During the mid-1980s, Circus Oz trained with China’s Nanjing Acrobatic Troupe, building their repertoire and adding acrobatic skills, such as pole-climbing and hoop-diving, to the circus. Circus Oz has performed across five continents and in more than 26 countries, including spots as diverse as New York City, a refugee camp on the West Bank, indigenous communities in the Australian desert, and a glass opera house in the Brazilian rainforest. Performances have been translated into dozens of languages.  Circus Oz has represented Australia at many international festivals and broke box office records at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

The troupe’s philosophy of gender equality, collaboration, social justice and a good time for all remains true.  The new recruits for their 2013 season include acrobats Dale Woodbridge and Shane Witt and hip-hop and contemporary dancer Ghenoa Gela.  Rounding off the casts are popular Circus Oz regulars including Hazel Bock, Luke Taylor, Jeremy Davies, Mason West, Flip Kammerer, Ruby Rowat, Chad Albinger, Stevee Mills, and musicians Carl Polke, Ania Reynolds and Bec Matthews.  “With an energy that never flags, the performers are some of the best around, they ensure that everyone shines and share their enthusiasm of having the best jobs in the world” (Aussietheater).

Tickets for Circus Oz on Friday, February 15 at 8:00 p.m.; Saturday, February 16 at 2:00 p.m.; and Sunday, February 17 at 3:00 p.m. in Zellerbach Hall are priced at $22.00–$76.00 and are subject to change. The Saturday, February 16 matinee performance is a Family Fare event; ages 16 and under save 50% on single-ticket prices. Tickets are available through the Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988; at; and at the door.  Half-price tickets are available for UC Berkeley students. UC faculty and staff, senior citizens, other students and UC Alumni Association members receive a $5.00 discount (Special Events excluded). For select performances, Cal Performances offers UCB student, faculty and staff, senior, and community rush tickets.  For more information about discounts, go to or call (510) 642-9988.

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