The Fame Reporter interviewed iconic Australian entertainment producer, Andrew Guild.
Andrew Guild is thrilled to be bringing ‘The Big Top Spectacular – Zirk! Circus’ to Brisbane in August. Combining the thrills and fun of Russia’s finest circus traditions with all the skills and daring of today’s new age circus heroes, ZIRK! Circus – The Big Top Spectacular is coming to Australia for the first time.
ZIRK! Circus which features eighteen mind-blowing acts from an incomparable international ensemble will premiere in Sydney in July before heading to Northshore Hamilton in Brisbane from August. A circus like no other, ZIRK! will be performed in a brand new Big Top where no audience member is more than 11 metres from the action.
Theatre Tours International, in association with the Russian State Circus Company and Moscow’s Nikulin Circus are delighted to bring their brand-new global experience, which has been thrilling audiences and critics alike in South Africa and Singapore, to Australia.
Andrew Guild has been involved with the production of ballet, circus, classical music, folk dance, ice spectaculars for over 45 years. Andrew worked closely with the Edgley organization as executive producer for tours, such as The Royal Ballet, The Great Moscow Circus, Torvill and Dean, The Bolshoi Ballet and quite literally hundreds of internationally famous attractions.
Andrew’s journey in the world of entertainment started when, as a school boy, he sought out a holiday job by auditioning for the very first Australian production of Lionel Bart’s ground-breaking musical Oliver. A year playing the Artful Dodger, then more juggling of school and theatre work and finally, an invitation to join the Edgley family which saw him take on responsibility for all things Russian.
During Soviet times, Andrew made over 250 visits to Moscow and travelled extensively throughout Russia and the Soviet States. He estimates he has been involved with over 7,000 performers visiting Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, as well as many East Asian countries, including China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore. Andrew speaks Russian, knows the difference between a pas de deux on an Opera House stage and a triple somersault in a Big Top.
In 2014, Andrew, together with this Theatre Tours International partner Simon Bryce, had great joy in presenting the BBC sensation Mrs. Brown Rides Again starring Mrs. Brown’s Boys. The show’s historic success was repeated when Mrs. Brown’s Boys returned in 2016 with a second play – Good Mourning Mrs. Brown.
We talked to Andrew about what types of acts inspire him, his Russian Circus scene experience, what audiences can expect from Zirk! Circus and more.
See our interview below!
Welcome to The Fame Reporter Andrew, what sparked your interest in the performing arts initially?
Well, I was a 14 year old boy looking for a holiday job and auditioned for the very first Australian production of the musical Oliver. I landed the role of the Artful Dodger, from there and all during my school days I was a performer, but gradually I moved across to the management side of the industry and have spent the last 50 years as a producer!
What types of acts over the years inspired you to continue producing and bringing audience’s joy?
I’m driven by quality and entertainment value. I love the shows I do- from Circus to Ballet. I also really enjoy seeing happy audiences.
When I see happy people it means to me that my choices have been successful.
What attracted you to the Zirk! Circus and why did you want to bring it ‘down under’?
Who doesn’t want to own a Circus! It’s such good fun. Hard work but full of such special people. ZIRK! CIRCUS has been very successful for us in South Africa and Asia and has sold over 300,000 tickets. It was a natural to bring the show down to my home country.
How did you get involved in the Russian Circus scene and what do you love about it?
I first went to Russia in 1968. Back then it was actually known as the Soviet Union. It was a very different time in the vast history of Russia. The Russians have a big tradition of circus and a great respect for the circus ‘art’. Actually the Russians talk about the circus as equal to Ballet and Opera. The Soviets built over 50 permanent circus building all across Russia. Circus is a big part of a Russian’s entertainment mix.
I love the dedication to excellence and the fact that circus performers never stop finding ways to stretch the limits of human capabilities.
What 3 performers dead or alive would you love to have a dinner party with?
Oleg Popov the famed Russian Clown- he’s gone to the big circus in the sky now, but was a legend in the circus business and a lovely funny man. He visited Brisbane a couple of times.
Mikhail Bayrishnikov, to me the best ever Russian classical dancer.
Shirley Bassey, mega voice and an amazing star.
What enticed you to present the BBC sensation Mrs. Brown Rides Again starring Mrs. Brown’s Boys and Good Mourning Mrs. Brown? What was your favourite thing about that experience?
These Irish people were just the nicest people you could ever meet! Brendan O’Carroll -who plays Mrs Brown (he also writes all the scripts) was a delight, generous, funny and easy to get on with.
His whole crew are personal friends, many of the cast and crew are actual family. When they tour they travel with children, nannies, school teacher and chef.
By the end of the tours we did we too were accepted as ‘family’.
You bring ballet, circus, ice shows, classical music etc. to audiences all over the world, is it challenging to discover acts that are loved by people on a universal scale?
Ballet and Circus don’t rely on language and I find that those two arts have universal appeal. Looking for circus acts or for ballet companies is not really a challenge, more like fun. Who could wish for a better job?
Touring the world looking a great entertainment is not something to complain about!
With over 45 years of knowledge what have you learnt about the various kinds of performing arts and why do you think people need the arts in their lives?
People need to have contrast in their lives.
I don’t see entertainment as an ‘escape’, I see it as something you go to as a contrast to everyday life.
2 hours of stimulation and enjoyment. We all need contrast in our lives. Sometimes I feel like a quiet evening at home!
Why should Brisbane audiences come and see Zirk! Circus this August?
300,000 happy circus patrons can’t be wrong. Zirk! Circus is the BEST Circus you’ll ever see!
Fame Reporter Word Play
A second visit to North Korea
Favourite Circus Act
Impossible question.. OK.. a good clown!
Any secret talents
Most memorable act you have presented
The USSR State Symphony Orchestra
Favourite Ballet move
Place you want to travel to
Ring Master or contortionist
Ringmaster who is a contortionist!
Finally, favourite thing about the arts
Don’t forget entertainment
Thank-you Andrew for joining us at The Fame Reporter and we wish you all the best for the Zirk! Circus Australian Tour!
Don’t miss enjoying the spectacle of Zirk! Circus from 23 – 25 August 2019 at Northshore Hamilton, Brisbane.
Get your tickets here
All photos – Supplied