Our Story

The National Circus Festival in Australia started in 1991 as a dream of the legendary Tony (Macaroni) Rooke, a magician and clown, on his property ‘Lone Star’ in a beautiful secluded bush valley hidden in the wilds of Tasmania.

Pilgrimage

‘Lone Star’ and The National Circus Festival, grew into an annual highlight and pilgrimage for Australian and international circus and street theatre artists; a place where they could gather, train, share skills, play and experiment, see old friends and make new ones. It became tradition for artists and performers to arrive early to help set-up tents and give workshops in their circus specialities in the week before the festival.

Renegade

In the lead up to the festival performers would try out their wildest new ideas, or improvise new acts with old friends on a purpose built ‘Renegade’ stage. Then the gates would open and the orchard and fields would fill with visitors, with more and more returning each year to camp, watch shows, partake in a workshop or three, eat, drink and laugh together as a community and dance till dawn, in the wooden Bedouin tent dressed up to the nines.

From Tassie to Mullum

Each year, as word spread of this unusual, eccentric gathering of circus artists The National Circus Festival grew and grew. Tony Rooke carefully managed the environmental impact on the bush valley by minimising landfill, sorting rubbish and asking people to take it with them. He collaborated with organisations such as Spaghetti Circus, to host the festival in other locations in Australia to reduce impact on the bush. In 2001, the Spaghetti Circus proudly hosted the first Mullum Circus Festival with Tony.

When Tony fell in love while on tour in France and decided to move there to be married, he handed over custodianship of The National Circus Festival tradition to Alice Cadwell and Shien Chee, in association with Spaghetti Circus. With Tony’s blessing, they renamed it the Mullum Circus Festival.

The Mullum Circus Festival Returns

Since 2013 the Mullum Circus Festival or MCF, has taken place every two years in the Mullumbimby showgrounds at the base of Mt Chincogan by the Brunswick River, on Bundjalung country. It is produced by Spaghetti Circus, one of Australia’s leading regional youth circuses who celebrate 25 years in 2017.

The generation of youngsters Tony Rooke brought up on his festival now run the MCF!

Magic happens

Showcasing the incredible talents of Australian circus artists, profiling established shows and companies as well as supporting emerging artists and works in development, this is three-day celebration of circus arts and physical theatre is like no other. The Mullum Circus Festival gives you the opportunity to step into that magical world for an unusual, unbelievable, risk taking, breath taking, gravity defying, laughter making, un-missable experience.

It’s all good

The Mullum Circus Festival is a ‘resource recovery’ event. We believe there is no such thing as waste, in fact we believe ‘it’s all good’. So we are plastic bag free zone and offer wonderful organic cotton tote bags for sale. Please support our world by sorting your ‘waste’ into the compost and recycling bins and limit your rubbish to landfill. Bring a water bottle or purchase a Mullum Circus Festival stainless steel bottle for refilling while onsite.

And it’s good for you!

Looking for a good reason to get away from the screen and the everyday routine? Do you want an experience that will encourage your children to get more physical, and connect with others in real time? Have you always secretly longed to fly on a trapeze? Ever wondered if it’s true that hula hooping is really good for you? Do you want to try something you always thought might be impossible, in a safe place?

Well you can do all of that and more at the 2017 Mullum Circus Fest. Enjoy a wide range of performances in our 2 big tops, quirky shows in our cabaret & sideshows venues, dare to fly in the outdoor flying trapeze, learn something new at our circus workshops, stimulate your brain at our industry talks and feed your soul from a whole lot more.

Grab a bite to eat from a range of delicious, healthy food stalls or a have a drink and talk shop with your favourite circus artists at the bar.

All are welcome and respected; young and old, genders and abilities, ethnicities and cultures are included..

The 4-day training program for circus practitioners prior to the festival offers a dynamic experience of living and learning circus.

Unplug and reconnect! Celebrate with the Australian circus community, in this opportunity to come together, create, laugh and play.

We acknowledge and respect the people of the Bundjalung Nation, traditional custodians of the land upon which we present this festival.