After decades spent treading the boards, circus performers Deb Batton and Sue Broadway are at a point in their working life where they can enjoy artistic freedom and indulge in ‘audacious acts of bravery’.
Deb Batton and Sue Broadway of Batton and Broadway
‘We've sometimes said, “Look, what have we got to lose?” You know, at this point, it's not like you're building your career,’ Deb says.
‘We have been surprised, but pretty aware that, in the circus world, we're not the hot thing. The youthful body pushing the limits of their skills is one of the most celebrated things in circus, but we're also aware that we still have a lot to offer, so there's a beautiful daring to just go out and make the work you want to make and hopefully say to the world, “We're not done yet”.
Sue says people from her generation love seeing people their own age on stage doing extraordinary things.
One of those extraordinary things is a challenging show called One and the Other, which explores both the pleasures and hurts life inflicts along the journey – and ends with them juggling naked.
‘For us, it was about really wanting to make the work that we wanted to make without compromise and without trying to make a show that's going to please an audience or be popular. We really wanted to make what I call “arthouse circus”,’ Sue says.
‘When you make that sort of work, vulnerability is always a part of it because you're working to your most honest self.’
And the result?
‘People say the work is joyous,’ Sue says.
Another ongoing piece of work is The Classics, where Deb and Sue host and perform alongside others of a similar vintage.
‘One and the Other, while it's very funny, it's also challenging. The Classics, on the other hand, is much less challenging and much more of a celebration of these brilliant seniors.’
Watch Batton and Broadway's 2020 Victorian Seniors Festival reimagined performance