Weaving the past into performance

Katie Noonan talks history, health and her captivating new show, Love-Song-Circus.

The love stories of Australia’s first convict women form the backbone of Australian singer Katie Noonan’s latest show, Love-Song-Circus. On tour in Australia, including a stint at Adelaide’s Garden of Unearthly Delights festival in March, Love-Song-Circus reveals untold tales of strength, love and loneliness. Throughout the performance, the mesmerising movements of three acrobats/aerialists echo the deep emotion of their tales.

Here Katie Noonan takes a moment to describe what sparked the idea for the show and how she handles the pressure of performance while juggling her young family and own wellbeing.

Tell us about the inspiration behind Love-Song-Circus?

I discovered a collection of coins at the National Museum – the Timothy Millet Collection – called Love Tokens. It is a beautiful collection of coins containing pieces inscribed with messages from convicts to their loved ones. The feelings of love, loss and longing immediately captured my inspiration. As a woman and a mother I wanted to explore this world and tell the largely untold women’s stories. These women were truly incredible, stoic and inspiring.

What else inspires you creatively?

Great art in any form – dance, choreography, visual art, sculpture, digital art, film, music in its myriad forms, theatre, mime, acrobatics, circus, poetry – and anyone whose heart is full and does good with their actions.

How do you stay healthy and balanced in your life?

Cuddle my darling boys as much as possible, try to be in the moment with myself but especially with them, trying not to ignore the things I need to change, yoga, good eating, exercise, time with my cherished girlfriends, child-free lover time with my husband (!), time with my wonderful mum and dad and regular technology free-time – that is a hard one I am trying to do more!

How do you deal with the stress and pressure that often comes with a full schedule?

Yoga, exercise and meditation are things I am constantly trying to make more of a priority in my life. I, like most, find it hard to switch off my brain, so I use these tools to help. Exercise is so great for your mind and body.

Has becoming a mother influenced the way you think about health?

I want to be the best mother I can. I decided to lose a considerable amount of weight after having my kids, around 30 kg, so that I could run around after them and keep up with them and feel good! I also decided to prioritise exercise for the same reason. I have found this is great for my busy head – it gives me the sense of clarity that I need.

How do you balance work and family life?

I have an amazing husband, Zac, and I also just do my best – that is all you can do! We mothers are far too hard on ourselves and society’s judgement and preconceptions don’t help.

Love-Song-Circus is coming to the intimate surrounds of the Garden of Unearthly Delights – what makes it such a special event?

It is a truly unique world where anything goes! Great music, cabaret, circus, comedy, theatre, street art… I think my show is perfect for the Garden as it truly is a delicious blend of different worlds – a seven-piece band featuring myself on vocals and grand piano, string quartet, banjo, guitars and double bass and three glorious women from Circa all telling the stories of the seriously badass women that helped form our country post-settlement. After discovering their stories I am more proud than ever to be an Aussie woman and mother.

The Garden of Unearthly Delights runs until 16 March in Rundle Park, Adelaide. See more information or book tickets at gardenofunearthlydelights.com.au

Recommended reading - Issue Nine Spring 2014

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