GETTING TO KNOW: IDRIS STANTON

In high school Idris was the front man for a heavy metal band. Their songs are not for sale and never will be.

Before studying Performance in Creative Arts and Musical Theatre at the University of Wollongong, Idris performed in numerous productions with the Lieder Theatre Company in Goulburn, NSW. He has also achieved second Kyu in Shito-Ryu Karate. Idris has done four years of circus school, studying a diploma in circus arts in New Zealand and then graduating from the National Institute of Circus Arts in Melbourne. He specialised in juggling, clown and ladder walking but he also a capable magician, compére and musician.

He has devised numerous acts for theatre and circus and has a strong desire to create new and original work. Idris has worked across Australia as a professional entertainer, on cruise ships, corporate events as well as festivals around the world.

Idris Stanton.jpg

Idris Stanton talks to The Street ahead of the Papillon season.

WHO AND/OR WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO GET INTO THE CIRCUS?

I grew up performing with the Leider Youth Theatre in Goulburn NSW. Our group had a strong interest in physical theatre. For me circus seemed like a great way to grab people’s attention, and I always loved making people laugh. As soon as I saw what the Australian circus industry was, I knew that’s what I wanted to do.

IN YOUR OPINION, WHAT ARE THE SKILLS AND MOTIVATION NEEDED TO BECOME A PROFESSIONAL CIRCUS PERFORMER?

For me, I’ve always relied on my performance skills to make my living. The ability to put acts together and present them to people has always been a strong point for me. Dedication to training circus skills is also important, being able to execute high level circus stunts in front of large groups of people is extremely important. Most of all, you have to love what you do!

WHO IS PAPILLON? THE SHOW HAS BEEN RECEIVING AWARDS AND RAVE REVIEWS AROUND AUSTRALIA. PLEASE TALK US THROUGH THE MAKING OF PAPILLON, FROM IDEA TO SHOW?

Papillon is a show created by Elena Kirschbaum and myself in partnership with the artists in the show. Our goal was to make a big scale show with big production values for an adult audience. What started as a dream to perform a show in a Spiegel tent has turned into a huge success for us. We are proud to work with such high level artists that have performed with the likes of Circus OZ, Circa, This Side Up and Pants Down Circus. This year has been our best by far, selling out shows across the country, and we are continually adding to the show to try and make it better.

DID YOU HAVE A PARTICULAR AUDIENCE IN MIND AND HAVE THEY COME? OR HAVE YOU DISCOVERED SOMETHING DIFFERENT IN ITS APPEAL TO AUDIENCES?

Our target audience was adults and young couples, though we have found that it’s enjoyed by all ages (not suitable for children) and people from all walks of life. We’ve tried to put something in for everyone.

WALKING ON GLASS, JUGGLING CHAINSAWS AND STAPLING YOURSELF AMONG OTHER STUNTS ARE PART OF YOUR REPERTOIRE AS AN ARTIST. HOW DO YOU PREPARE FOR WHAT IS POTENTIALLY A DANGEROUS PERFORMANCE.

Preparing for dangerous tricks is about training in the lead up, its not something you can cram in the last second. When I’m leading up to a show season, I try and juggle my chainsaw every day. Getting my body used to the weight and timing. Things can still go wrong from time to time, but you just have to put the work in and hope that it is enough.

IS THERE A STUNT YOU’RE YET TO MASTER?

No, I’m perfect at everything – I wish! I’m trying to juggle 3 chainsaws at once, though the extreme weight of all of them makes it hard to train for very long. It’s something I’m determined to master eventually, even if it never goes in a show.

WHAT’S INSPIRING YOU CREATIVELY AT THE MOMENT?

At the moment I’m inspired to make a solo kids show, It’s a market that’s always interested me, but I’d like to be able to give it the time to do it properly. I’m constantly inspired by all of the amazing artists that I work with, and I would be very happy if I can just keep up with all of them.

WHAT ARE YOU READING AND WATCHING CURRENTLY?

Currently I’m reading the ‘Diggers Australian Veggie Garden’, in preparation for summer. And watching River Cottage Australia.