This episode: “Circus! Part Three”

Event Date: Wednesday, January 5 from 7 to 9 pm

Admission is free. Tell your friends.

This roundtable conversation series happens at Vermillion, an art gallery, bar, and neighborhood gathering place at 1508 11th Ave, Seattle ( For more information on the series, call John Boylan at 206-601-9848.

If you want to link to this announcement, you can do so at

The quick summary: We’re back with a third foray into the world of circus. It’s a world filled with larger-than-life people, people who defy gravity, people who deeply understand the absurdity of everyday life, people who do their work on an edge between sadness and laughter. But maybe more than that, it’s a way of living.

A scheduling note: these conversations usually fall on Tuesdays and happen in the middle of a month. Note that this time, we’re on a Wednesday in the first week of the month.

The Guests (see guest bios below)

Cathleen O’Malley, actor and clown

Elizabeth Rose, dancer and aerialist

Erin Brindley, director and producer

Terry Crane, circus artist

The Story

As longtime readers of these announcements know, we love circus, and we love its cousin, variety. We love it so much that we’re revisiting the topic a third time, and we’re guessing this won’t be the last. The first time, five years ago, featured members from four local companies, Circus Contraption, Cirque de Flambé, Umo Ensemble, and Teatro ZinZanni. (The first two are now gone.) The second was mostly a bunch of clowns sitting around talking, featuring some of the great physical comedians who are regulars at Seattle’s Moisture Festival.

This time we’ll be looking at new directions for circus. Circus has been seeing a resurgence in recent years in a variety of forms, with a proliferation of new circus groups around the world and new circus schools such as Seattle’s School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts. But what may be more interesting is a blending of the acrobatics, aerial performance, and physical comedy into the disciplines of theater, dance, and film. Such blending may not be new—actor Bill Irwin has been doing it for years—but there seems to be a lot of new energy involved, and that what I’m curious about.

Plug: That same night, Honey Castro is making their monthly appearance at Vito’s (9th and Madison). The act features the sweet voices of Sari Breznau, Sara Edwards, and Erin Jorgensen. Sari was a long-time member of Circus Contraption. They usually don’t get started until 9 or so, so you can think about going to both.

And a word about parking: if you do come to the conversation and you come by car, it’s usually easier to find parking the earlier you come. So come a little early, sit down for a drink and get something to eat at Vermillion before the conversation begins. You’ll be glad you did.

And Next Up: in February (2/15), we’ll be talking about style. We have Robin Held and Adria Xuala Garcia as guests. I’m rounding up a couple of others.

The Guests in Detail

Elizabeth Rose is the co-founder and co-artistic director of ticktock, the aerial dance company that has been making waves in the Seattle scene with their unique hybrid aerial/modern dance style. She has been a professional aerialist since 2002, a dancer since 1999, and has enjoyed studying aerial and working with Elie Venezky, Elise Smith and Serenity Smith-Forcion, Jukka Juntti, Eric Newton, Max Torandell, Jacques Heim, and others. She is currently based in Seattle where, in addition to ticktock, she performs with the Aerialistas, Seattle’s original aerial girl gang. Elizabeth is passionately committed to advancing the art of aerial movement beyond the realm of tricks and feats to a place that demands the most exquisite use and fullest awareness of the body in performance. See:,, and

Cathleen O’Malley is an actor, improviser, clown—and former resident of Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood—who recently relocated to the old steel town of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where she is an Artistic Associate and the Education Director of Touchstone Theatre. She trained in Lecoq-based physical theatre at the London International School of Performing Arts (LISPA) and holds an MFA from Naropa University.

Cathleen first encountered the work of Jacques Lecoq and other European physical theatre traditions as a student of Freehold Studio’s George Lewis, who later assisted in the creation of her solo clown performance, Loose Ends. In the eight years since, Cathleen has performed original solo and ensemble-created theatre at venues internationally, including London, Budapest, Silkeborg (Denmark), the Grotowski Workspace (Poland), Washington, DC, and at theaters, barns, fields, and fairs in and around Seattle. Cathleen is a co-founder of the grotesque comedy troupe, Relax Your Face (UK), and in 2010 joined Pittsburgh-based Zany Umbrella Circus on tour to Amman, Jordan, where she co-created the show CAKE and taught physical theatre/clown to 150 Jordanian youth.

Cathleen is visiting Seattle following her debut at Avner the Eccentric’s annual vaudeville festival, Phyzgig!, where she performed a two-person adaptation of CAKE. See:

After graduating from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Erin Brindley directed plays off and off-off Broadway in New York, and founded Ripple Productions, a non-profit theater company committed to integrating the performing and culinary arts. While producing and directing theater she was also cutting her teeth in non-profit management, eventually becoming Managing Director of Storahtelling, a Jewish ritual theater that toured nationally. After 11 years in New York, Erin decided to return to her native Seattle. In the interim, she happened to see Circus Contraption in New York, and was blown away by the artistry and ingenuity of the group. Almost immediately upon returning to Seattle she was hired as Circus Contraption’s Managing Director, and also directed their final show, “The SHOW to End All SHOWS” as well as the show they toured Portugal with. When Circus Contraption decided to shut their doors after eleven years, Erin and Terry Podgorski, the Production Manager for Circus Contraption, moved Ripple Productions to Seattle and founded Cafe Nordo, a theatrical dining experience. Their first show, The Modern American Chicken, won a Footlight Award, and they just finished a sold-out run of their third show, Sauced. Cafe Nordo is now looking for a permanent venue. See:

Terry Crane is a born circus artist, having climbed and performed from his earliest years. After completing a bachelor’s degree with a minor in contemporary dance, Terry was accepted at the selective National Circus School of Montreal. In the years since finishing NCS, Terry has wowed audiences, critics, and circus afficionados alike with his fearless, original aerial rope technique. He has performed in 10 countries on three continents, with multiple television appearances, and in front of such prestigious persons as the king of Norway and the prime minister of Thailand. He is a longtime student and practitioner of capoeira, contact improvisation, hip hop dance, and physical comedy, and infuses his work with these influences as well as his own fiercely unique style. Terry loves the sublime experience of circus performance, and daring to reach across the fourth wall to share with all his audiences. See:


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