Aspiring circus performer flying high in Montreal
Meet Jarrod, one of 25 regional NSW young artists awarded a $10,000 scholarship under a major NSW Government scheme to develop emerging artistic talent.
Why did you apply for the Young Regional Artist Scholarship (YRAS)?
I applied for the YRAS because I had heard about the incredible Ecole Nationale de Cirque de Montreal (National Circus School of Montreal) and was trying to find ways to audition and pay for the school fees if I were to be accepted. This school offers full-time training in a range of circus and performance related disciplines with access to a world-class facility and some of the best coaches available.
What activities did you undertake as part of the Scholarship?
My scholarship involved a 12 month program as a full-time student at the National Circus School of Montreal (NCS). I attended every day (for 12 hours) studying primarily as a hand-balancer as well as courses in ballet, acrobatics, theatre, contortion, trampoline, act creation, conditioning, circus history, career management, French and English. The school was incredible, housed in a seven floor building, and offered a range of studios to train in and with every kind of equipment available.
I also had the chance to perform during my summer break in Les Minutes a large-scale show playing for the Montreal Complement Cirque Festival in the summer. This was a huge outdoor spectacle combining the work of dancers, acrobats and live musicians.
What has receiving the scholarship meant for you as a regional artist?
The reason this Scholarship is so valuable is that it recogniaes the value and restrictions inherent in being a regional artist and aids in boosting the career opportunities and project possibilities that wouldn’t otherwise be possible. As a circus artist from Albury, this project (and the Scholarship which funded it) sent me to the other side of the world and allowed me to train with some of the best coaches, directors and leading artistic directors in the industry.
I have also now been accepted as a full time student at this prestigious school and will graduate with a Diploma in Circus Arts and a whole range of performance skills and opportunities that would not have been accessible otherwise.
When you submitted your application, which aspects did you find difficult and how did you work through them?
When writing the application I found the budget slightly difficult because I wasn’t always completely certain of how different things would cost in Montreal as opposed to Australia (and also dealing with money – even imaginary money is always stressful). The best way to work through this was to be logical, pragmatic and honest with how much you think things will cost. Once I arrived and started the project I made some small budgetary changes and made sure to keep track of the money throughout the whole 12 months which was also really important. By doing this I managed to stay on top of my budget and adjust to changes or surprise costs that naturally occur throughout a year long project.
Do you have any advice for potential applicants applying to the YRAS program?
When submitting my application I was already working and travelling as a circus performer in Australia, so the difficulty part was finding time to work on my application to accurately describe why my project was worthy of funding. I found that the process of outlining, planning and vouching for my project was an incredibly valuable experience regardless, and that being honest in determining the real benefits of the proposed activity and being clear about what outcomes and aims you want to achieve was helpful both to me (for the increased resolve and determination to follow through) and for the people who read the application.
What’s next for you and your career?
At the moment I am continuing my second year at the NCS. I plan to train, study and continue creating here until I graduate. I would love to return to Australia to work and perform with some of the incredible circus companies that we have in our own backyard!
The YRAS program will see 100 scholarships valued at $10,000 each awarded over four years and 25 scholarships will be awarded in 2016.
Applications are now open for Round two, closing 20 February 2017. For more information about the YRAS program click here.