Trying to pinpoint what sets Brisbane’s artistic and cultural sector apart from others throughout the world, Yaron Lifschitz recounts the musings of a visitor to the city.
“A Polish friend who came to visit me said ‘the sky is higher here’, there’s more space and more air where hopefully some fresher things can grow,” he said.
Trained in Sydney, Yaron moved to Brisbane in the late 1990s to become the inaugural artistic director of Rock n Roll Circus, the ensemble that would rebrand a few years later to Circa.
He attributes his adopted hometown’s youth, energy, distance and lifestyle with the way artists and audiences alike embraced and elevated circus as an artform.
“Brisbane is a great place to make work. It’s got a very fresh sensibility to it and you can get away with more than in places that have fixed roots,” he said.
“Circus is not a heritage artform, it’s constantly reinventing itself. It’s slightly counter-culture, slightly alternative and it helps that Brisbane is still considered, somewhat, to be off-the-beaten track.
“There’s a bit of hustle and frontier about Brisbane; we have less of the old fashioned so you’ve got to make it up, push the boundaries and hustle a little bit.”
Under Yaron’s artistic leadership, Circa employs dozens of full-time performers, creative and support staff, collaborates extensively, tours the world and assumes the mantle of proud artistic ambassador for Brisbane.
Yaron describes Brisbane Festival as a “cultural moment” that brings together a city through entertainment, debate, spectacle, innovation and creativity.
“Brisbane Festival is like a gap year for your soul that takes place for a couple of weeks in the middle of September.”