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Anni Davey

Anni Davey joined the Flying Fruit Fly Circus as its new Artistic Director in July. She reflects on a mid-career shift from freelance director to the artistic leadership of a nationally treasured youth circus.

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Flying Fruit Fly Circus students at the 2017 Graduate Show. Photo credit: Ian Sutherland.

About the author

Anni Davey joined a youth theatre company, SWY, in Fremantle WA in 1983. In 1985 she joined Death Defying Theatre and began on a performance path trod by acrobats and activists, through traditional agit-prop and feminist street theatre to international stages. She joined Circus Oz as a performer in 1987 and has continued working there in many different capacities ever since, including as Guest Director, Assistant Director, Operations Manager and Acting General Manager (1998 and 2009). She was Technical Coordinator on the construction of their new building in Collingwood (2011 – 2014), and directed the annual show TWENTYSIXTEEN in 2016.

In the early 1990s Anni was involved in the formation of two independent performing companies, both highly regarded as creating seminal works in circus and in musical theatre. Club Swing toured their aerial shows APPETITE and RAZORBABY around Australia and internationally from 1994 to 1999. Crying In Public Places toured three a-cappella theatre shows (CRYING IN PUBLIC PLACES, JUMP! and SKIN) around Australia and internationally until 2001.
Anni’s directing practice, in development since 2006, includes a fruitful collaboration with Sarah Ward as Yana Alana. Their shows together have won nine Green Room awards for Cabaret including Best Director (twice), and Best Diva, and a Helpmann award for Best Cabaret Artist in 2014.  The latest show QUEEN KONG premiered at the 2018 Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Anni also directed Maude Davey’s retrospective MY LIFE IN THE NUDE which has played to critical acclaim in Melbourne, Perth and Hobart.

Anni directed Circus Oz’s acclaimed show TWENTYSIXTEEN, the USA tour of STRAIGHT UP (2017), the Australian regional tour of MODEL CITIZENS (2017, 2018) and the education show STACKS ON and TIN TOP (late 2017). In 2016 Anni spent a month in New York City as Guest Director with Brooklyn’s LAVA, a dance company with a circus repertoire, on the development of their 2017 show A GODDESSEY.

In 2015 Anni and her twin sister Maude joined forces to create RETRO FUTURISMUS, a cabaret prognostication which has played three sold out seasons at fortyfivedownstairs in Melbourne (2015, 2016 and 2018) and featured at the 2017 Sydney Festival, 2017 Darwin Festival and the 2018 WA Circus Festival. Anni has directed three Sandfly Circus productions in Broome, TOTAL REBUILD in 2015, NIBJLM in 2016 and COME FLY WITH US in 2017.

Anni sat on the Board of Melbourne Fringe for ten years including two years as Chair (2006, 2007) and was Chair of the Australian Circus and Physical Theatre Association (ACAPTA) from 2010 until 2017. Anni started her new job as AD of the Flying Fruit Fly Circus in July 2018.