NICA | Born in Sawdust

Ensemble performance by NICA’s 2015 graduating artists

Win Tickets!

The National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA) talented graduating artists of 2015 will be stepping back through the history of circus in the new production, Born in Sawdust, which will play for a limited season at the state-of-the-art National Circus Centre in Prahran from 18 to 28 November 2015.
Born in Sawdust is a Russian phrase to describe someone born into the circus. Directed by internationally acclaimed director Gavin Robins, this new production will celebrate the rich histories of both circus performers and their trainers, which have been shaped by the spirits living in the sawdust floor beneath them.
While creating the concept for the show Gavin Robins drew inspiration from a very local source. Robins explains, “Stories from the traditional circus worlds of the NICA trainers have been our muse for this work. NICA trainer Kostya Ibraguimov, who sadly passed away last year, provided inspiration for this performance’s thematic material. The lineage of our trainers and mentors is what makes the shadows of our past materialise into the here and now.”
Arturo Gomez is one of the NICA trainers whose stories were used as the starting point for this new production. Gomez says, “Circus is my life. The kingpole is my father, the circus tent covers me like my mother, the circus wires are my veins, the circus lights are my eyes, the applause is my best food and the sawdust is my finest perfume.”
Born in Sawdust incorporates digital technology to explore the interplay of projected silhouettes and live circus performance. The performance acrobatically intercuts between the shadows of the past and the performers of the present only to discover how connected these two worlds are. Audiences can expect to be amazed by daring circus skills as well as enchanted by the real life circus narratives woven into this work.
The striking digital projections have been developed by students from Swinburne University of Technology’s Advanced Diploma of Screen and Media (Film + TV) under the guidance of Program Coordinator Lisa Robins.
This production has also seen collaborations between NICA and Melbourne Polytechnic’s Diploma of Costume for Performance and Diploma of Live Production and Technical Services students.
Born in Sawdust is a rare opportunity to see Australia’s emerging circus stars perform a range of old and modern skills including; Aerial Hoop, Handstands, Highwire, Clowning and Object Manipulation, Aerial Straps, Dance Trapeze, Tumbling, Hula Hoops, Multicord, and Slings.
Tickets are on sale now at

Venue:     NICA National Circus Centre, 39 – 59 Green Street, Prahran
Dates:      18 – 28 November 2015
Times:     Wed – Fri 7.30pm, Sat 1.30pm and 7.30pm   (70 min. No interval)
Adult – $36.00  / Concession – $29.00  / Child U16 – $24.00
Family (2 adults, 2 children) – $96.00  /  Family (2 adults, 3 children) – $115.00
Groups (min. 10 people) – $27 per person
Preview (17 Nov) – $15
(PG) Parental Guidance recommended


We have 2x double passes to giveaway to Born in Sawdust on Thursday 19th November at 7.30pm.
To win, simply ‘like‘ this article by clicking the Facebook button above and sharing to your friends by adding a comment. Email your name and contact number to with the subject line of ‘Sawdust Tickets’. Entries close 16th November.
Two winners will be chosen at random.
Good luck!