The Sawdust Spirit
From our modest but “let’s dream big” beginnings as a school holiday workshop in Albury-Wodonga, the Flying Fruit Fly Circus has grown into Australia’s most successful creative community development project. We have enriched the lives of thousands of young people while being a significant influencer in the advancement of contemporary circus.
In the early days our company was based in an old building that was both a former shirt factory and a YMCA. Although we now boast a shiny new home, it sits on the same site and is still affectionately called The Y.
As for touring, we had a tent and were prepared to travel! The Flying Fruit Fly Circus Big Top was at the heart of our company activities back then. The very process of erecting a circus tent generates a community buzz. For the Fruities it was more than this, our community literally made it happen. Under the watchful eyes of a few wise professionals, it was the kids and their parents that provided the enthusiasm and grunt to raise the king poles and haul up the canvas. From seating to lighting, from trapezes to t-shirts, the Big Top generated a magical sense of family and camaraderie.
The Big Top eventually became a little too frayed around the edges and was retired. Now we have an incredible new home with the best facilities, which stays cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The rain stays on the outside. We tour to wonderful arts centres and theatres all around the country and beyond.
But despite these great and necessary advances, the Flying Fruit Fly Circus relies on our circus family and band of community supporters just as much as when we had a Big Top to erect. We still need plenty of sawdust spirit.
If you are the parent or carer of a Fruit Fly, your journey with our circus can be every bit as rewarding as your child’s. This may a be a more ‘time-poor’ age than three decades back, but every ounce of in-kind support – time, skill and effort – you can bring to our organisation helps us enormously. It helps us to:
- Keep our fees pegged at a reasonable level (equivalent to about 25% of the total program cost for each student)
- Continue to improve student services
- Expand performance and other creative opportunities
- Attract the best national and international arts educators
- Provide chaperones on tour and FOH staff for events
- Plan more community activities and have more fun!
One easy way to learn more about volunteering with the Fruities is to contact a member of our fabulous Friends of Fruit Fly committee. This is our key group of fundraisers and circus community advocates. They plan events, help our inter-state students, support important programs such as injury prevention and raise vital funds for our charitable Foundation.
If you’re not connected directly to the Fruities, don’t worry, there is a part to play for everyone in our colourful one-of-a-kind circus. We’re calling to anyone who might want to join our metaphorical tent crew and keep the sawdust spirit alive and kicking.