Corie’s ‘Last Orders’

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By Maddison McSwain

The National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA) is Australia’s Centre of Excellence in contemporary circus arts training.

NICA offers Australia’s only Bachelor of Circus Arts, a three-year university degree conducted at its Melbourne campus in Prahran.

Corie Hurry is one of NICA’s graduating students in 2015. Hailing from Wollongong NSW, the 25 year old currently lives in St Kilda East.

As a circus artist, Corie is best recognised as the boy inside a small wooden box or hand-balancing atop a stack of chairs or a tower of milk crates.

Corie spoke with St Kilda News ahead of NICA’s 2015 Showcase, ‘Last Orders’.

Do you have a circus arts specialty?

My specialty is chair handstands and my second specialty is pole. Everyone at NICA has two specialties and is performing one of them in ‘Last Orders’.

What does the performance involve?

For the showcase, each of us has created our own act. There are 14 solo performances and one duo. We’re all waiters in a Parisian café in between acts, but in my specific act I stack chairs and handstand on them while I tune a TV.

Wow, are you attached to ropes during the show?

This year I’m not attached to ropes!

What made you pursue circus arts?

At the start of high school I learnt to juggle from a company at the Viva la Gong festival, a local cultural festival back home (in Wollongong). By the time I finished high school I had taught myself to unicycle. A friend invited me to a youth circus thing when I was 17 and I started teaching circus arts that same year. Six years later I auditioned for NICA.

What was NICA’s audition process like?

The audition process changes slightly each year. I did my audition in Melbourne. It was a really warm day, I was happy with that – for the flexibility testing. NICA also tests for strength, how many chin-ups and push-ups you can do, how long you can hold a handstand for. You’re also asked to bring your own act to show what you’re capable of creating as a performance. They like to see if you can move to music.

What’s been the most enjoyable part of your experience at NICA so far?

The performances are always a highlight. This year we have two, the showcase (‘Last Orders’) and an ensemble show later in the year. It’s also great living in Melbourne and being a past of the circus industry. Melbourne is very different to Wollongong!

What would you say to anyone thinking about auditioning for NICA?

Just to audition! If you don’t get in one year you’ll get in the next.

What’s next for Corie Hurry? What’s the dream?

I’m hoping to go up to the Mullum Circus Festival later in the year and meet some people from the Australian circus industry. I would love to work with the circuses in New Zealand or smaller Australian companies. Ultimately, I would love to run my own circus company and continue teaching.

For more information on NICA and the audition process, go to:

Find our review of ‘Last Orders’ at:


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