Their acrobatics and hijinks circus stunts may not be as physically daring as in their youth, but Circus Oz elders Sue Broadway and Debra Batton present a high-energy show with a bolder daring they believe age and experience permits.
One and the Other is raw, honest and funny – combining classic stunts, acerbic truths and audacious acts in an illuminating and messy celebration of the glories of “ageing disgracefully”, a show they describe as a lot more daring than anything they would have attempted in their youth.
Sue, in her early sixties and a founding member of Circus Oz and Ra-Ra Zoo hopes a take-home message from their show, which is part of the Victorian Seniors Festival, is that getting old isn't the end of everything, it can be a fresh beginning too.
It's a good time in your life to look back on the past, but also to look forward to a fun and exciting future, she says.
After turning 50, Sue thought her circus performing days were over, and she focused on producing, directing and teaching her unique skills. How wrong she was. She returned to the stage with a vengeance four years ago as a double-act with Debra, and has been surprised at how “wonderful” it feels to challenge the notion of being too old by getting back on the road – performing circus tricks.
When we starting working together on our show around four years ago we had this invigorating excitement that there was so much to be done, Sue says.
It’s crazy to think that before we met I thought I was past it, that I couldn’t perform anymore in circus and physical theatre and that my role would be solely as a director, producer and teacher.
Now we are attempting things we didn’t have the confidence to try when we were young – and the older we get the funnier we get, she says.
I'm not jumping as high in the air anymore but some things get better with age, and I’ve become more confident expressing myself as a performer and a person.
It's been really great for me to rediscover that I can still perform and I still get pleasure from it. For 20 years I had been limiting myself by imagining circus as something that belonged to people under 40 – but actually it belongs to whoever wants to do it. And that's a fantastic discovery to make.
Advice to people turning 60?
Find something you love to do and keep doing it, she says.