Get Well Soon?
Get Well Circus is a gutsy new circus collective creating and celebrating art for the chronic health community. This initiative aims to champion awareness, education and empathy for the experiences of the chronic pain and illness communities. We are led by creatives with lived experiences of chronic pain, illness and disability.
Get Well collaborators include renowned nationally and internationally-toured circus artists supported by the award-winning emerging creative producer, Samantha Martin. Core company members include Emily Loe (Na Djinang Circus, National Institute of Circus Arts), Abbie Madden (Blindful, National Arts Access Award Winner, YUCK Circus), and Margot Mansfield (Gravity & Other Myths, Time In Space Circus), with dramaturg Evie Clayton (Midsumma Pathways Program, NICA). Our resident filmmaker/digital arts collaborator is Underground Media (fellow spoonie, Chris Bennett).
Without wanting to overstretch the word "unprecedented", the COVID-19 pandemic has posed unprecedented risks to our core audience and community. It's no longer ethical to invite our audiences into venues, so we're logging online (and checking we're not on mute) to present our work in living rooms in a new digital format to be presented at arts and disability festivals.
Our aim is to create positive social impact for the chronic pain and illness community (CP/CI) using arts and creativity to improve visibility, education and empathy. We believe in the arts as tools for intervention, education and inspiration.
Our vision is for a fairer healthcare system, and for greater public visibility, understanding and empathy for the chronic pain and illness communities.
Our mission is two-fold:
To create opportunities for able-bodied people to learn about and empathise with the experiences of the CP/CI community through circus and creative platforms
To create meaningful opportunities for artists in the CP/CI community to participate in creative industries
Our values are hope, accessibility, creativity, education and empathy.
We hope to create impact in the following ways:
Get Well is led by CP/CI and disabled artists with the support of sincere able-bodied allies. Our core collective of artists will prioritise contracting and working with creatives and allied industry professionals with lived experiences of CP/CI across all areas of our circus company work, e.g. production designers, visual artists, videographers, publicists and consultants. Get Well aims an important role in the CP/CI community by channeling our platforms and funding opportunities within our community. Partnerships and collaborations with Get Well will be designed for genuine, meaningful participation and empowerment i.e to develop their creative practice, to generate income.
Creating positive and entertaining ways to learn about and connect with the CP/CI community.
Using circus and arts as spectacle, we believe in showcasing the voices and experiences of chronic pain and illness in an entertaining, fun and positive way. This does not mean that positive is always happy! But by creating safe, engaging opportunities to listen to chronic pain and illness stories, we can support and celebrate the community, and hopefully generate some important conversations. With our online platforms and marketing we also work very hard to foster bigger audiences for ours and others’ work in this space.
What do our values really mean?
Hope. We lead with hope in what underpins the charge for positive social change. While we respect and validate the frustrations, burdens and stigma (and literal pain) of our experiences, our work is underpinned by a vision and hope for the future.
Accessibility. We aim to be an accessible company. We allow each other to work in flows according to their health and care and nod that constant productivity is not always healthy nor possible for CP/CI individuals. We aim for infrastructure that is accessible: in the venues that we are booked to perform in, in the websites we build, in the language that we use to communicate, in the shows we perform. We seek consultation on accessibility and continue to learn in this space. We are accessible with communication, and are open to conversation about our work and practices to be accountable to our community.
Creativity. We are a creative and resilient company. We are creative in our approach to problem solving and developing a circus company during COVID-19 by creating an online journal to showcase our diverse, multidisciplinary creative practices. We are creative in our hearts for creating excellent, high calibre circus shows. We celebrate others' creativity by platforming and sharing artworks that inspire us on our platforms. We foster creativity by searching and innovating new opportunities for collaborations with other creatives.
Education. We are constantly educating ourselves in our own personal practices and about systemic issues facing the chronic pain and illness communities through research and journal clubs. We aim to educate our audiences and our circus is underpinned by education and research. We create platforms for to access resources for self-education. We aim to create partnerships with health industry professionals to create new education resources.
Empathy. We treat each other with empathy and respect, mindful of our health and fluctuating capacities to work. We empathise with one other’s experiences and remain open to listening to our community. We are empathetic of our community and hope to nurture empathy in our audiences through circus as communication.
We give our thanks for the time, support and recognition we've so-far received from Anni Davey and Flying Fruit Fly Circus, Brian and Circus Oz, Eilysh, Danny and the Melbourne Fringe team, City of Melbourne, Hannah and Auspicious Arts, Jo Porter, Blake Granston and Granston Productions, Arie Rain-Glorie and Testing Grounds, Jessi Cohen and Next Stage Counselling, Circobats Community Circus, Larry's Camera Hire, Benjamin Sheen, Leah Filley, James O'Donnell, Ellie Mills, Ela Bart, Chloe Clements, Grant Webster, and the goodest boy Guthrie.
COVID-19 distanced approved acrobatics. Artwork by @ela_brat
Welcome to our office. Artwork by Emily Loe.