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Ingress – a one-woman circus show

Bridie Hooper’s drive as an artist to enhance her practice and instil a longevity to her work was the motivating force behind her first solo production. 



In early 2021, long-time Circa performer Bridie Hooper began her endeavour as an independent artist and created her first solo work, Ingress, a one woman show combining circus and fashion design. 

Bridie has been making and performing circus for over 15 years. Upon completing her studies at L’École Nationale de Cirque de Montreal in 2012 she joined the Circa ensemble and was integral in the creation of 9 début works; performing in 28 countries to over 450,000 people.

Ingress was born from Bridie’s desire to create a compelling and provocative, interdisciplinary work; ambitiously testing the limits of her physical and creative abilities, to learn and experience through collaboration and autonomy.  Integrating circus, dance, physical theatre and fashion design with traditional and non-traditional circus apparatus- Ingress set out to transform the experience of contemporary circus.

Uniting with Brisbane-based fashion designer Gail Sorronda, costumes were designed as choreographic tools to highlight movement, persona and drama whilst introducing theatrical tension with physical elements.  Bridie also collaborated with theatre dramaturg Heather Fairbairn and lighting designer Jason Glenwright, to further develop the piece. 

The performance was created over a six-week period, which included a Covid lockdown interrupting rehearsals, and was presented over two nights in April 2021 at the Judith Wright Arts Centre (JWAC).

The performance exceeded predicted audience numbers by 100, and attracted visitors from Queensland as well as New South Wales, with all audience members providing positive feedback.  


When and where

  • Development: January to April 2021 
  • Performances: 16 and 17 April 2021 at the Judith Wright Arts Centre in Fortitude Valley, Queensland. 



Key stats

  • 253 audience members over 2 nights 
  • 15 artists/arts workers employed 
  • 6 activities that took place 
  • 2 shows 
  • 98% attendees who rated the performance good or excellent


Arts Queensland investment 

$19,037 through the First Night Showcase Judith Wright Arts Centre funding program. 

The First Night Showcase Program – Judith Wright Arts Centre aims to support independent artists and organisations to develop and present new visual and performing works at the Judith Wright Arts Centre (JWAC).  



  • Career development: Bridie took a year off from her full-time job to focus on her creative practice in the circus industry, working hard and undertaking steep learning curves along the way. The production helped her to develop her independent practice and introduced her to new audiences who indicated they would be interested in seeing her again in future.
  • Local collaboration: Bridie created an original show as an emerging independent artist working with local creatives. The cross genre nature of the piece cultivated audiences from both the fashion and circus industries and established working relationships for future collaborations. 
  • Presented circus performing in a new light: Ingress presented an innovative way in which circus can be presetned as a collaborative solo work. 
  • Brought visitors from interstate to enjoy a Queensland arts experience: Ingress exceeded predicted audience number and attracted people from locations like Northern NSW, The Gold Coast and Newcastle, with positive feedback. 



Learnings and reflections

Comment from Bridie: 

I wanted to create a compelling work that is daring in concept and form that initiates my creative path as an independent artist.

The grant gave me the support that allowed me to take my first step as an independent creator. It facilitated my first autonomous work, giving me the essential experience and exposure needed as I initiate my career as an independent artist. It allowed me the opportunity to create future opportunities to continue expanding my practice. 

This support enabled me to employ collaborators, technicians, photographers. Engaging artists and technicians in a time when most work has been disrupted, or disappeared, was a hugely positive impact of the funding. 

The in-kind venue support at JWAC within the funding was monumental in allowing me the time and space to create and rehearse Ingress. The height requirements of space for an acrobat/aerialist makes finding and affording studios very difficult, so having such generous access to the theatre and technician support was incredibly significant for the fruition of Ingress.


Tips for others

  • When self producing and directing/creating/performing, it can be tricky to delineate between roles.  Having a strict plan as to when to fulfil what role can really help with focus and progress.  
  • The wonderful chaos and challenges of creative developments can sometimes be overwhelming, writing down the first desires and dreams of the project and returning to those when things get wild can really help the project forge forward and stay connected to its first intention.  
  • If you’re a first timer at self producing like I was, don’t be afraid to ask questions from anyone and everyone; people are often so happy to share what they know. 


What next?

After a successful premiere performances, Bridie Hooper is considering options to further develop the work for future presentations, whilst continuing her pursuit to grow her practice through new collaborations and opportunities.

In March 2022, Bridie Hooper won Best Circus or Physical Theatre Work at the 2022 Matilda Awards for Ingress.



Find out more

Bridie Hooper Instagram 

Bridie Hooper Facebook 

Bridie Hooper website 

Circa Profile for Bridie Hooper 

Ingress | Bridie Hooper 2021 from Bridie Hooper on Vimeo.