The Mind Behind ‘Exhibit’ – Experimental, Contemporary Circus

The Mind Behind ‘Exhibit’ – Experimental, Contemporary Circus

Some may know her as Aline Chapet–Batlle or A Line In The Air, but there’s no denying that the French circus artist is reinventing Perth’s contemporary circus scene. With most of our circus experiences being during the annual Fringe World season, Aline is turning things up a notch with her mission to bring mesmerizing circus shows to Perth all year round.

Having recently founded her entertainment company CAJ Entertainment in Perth, Aline has been in the process of producing the second edition of her new open-stage circus show, Exhibit #2 – which excitingly takes place this Saturday evening (11 July)!

While she sometimes performs in Exhibit, Aline’s focus has been on finding performers and organising, marketing and promoting the event itself. With a variety of local circus performers showcased in a relaxed open-stage environment, the event will host performers such as Leighton Beanland, Brenna Day, Isobel Lyall, Jeromy Zwick and Lewis Yost, with Aline herself as the MC. Best of all, the artists will be presenting their new ideas or works as they welcome the audience’s feedback!

As a woman of many talents, we just had to find out more about Aline’s vision:

Tell us about the reception of your first Exhibit event in March! We’d love to hear your thoughts around it.

After the first Exhibit event, we got a lot of great feedback from the audience. Many were surprised by the quality of the acts and all loved the relaxed and laidback atmosphere. We did have some criticism because our sound tech wasn’t completely on point. but we’ve made all the changes necessary so it won’t happen again for Exhibit #2!

We’re eagerly looking forward to the second edition of Exhibit in Perth. What would you say sets Exhibit apart from catching circus acts at Fringe World?
The main difference between catching an act at Fringe World compared to Exhibit is that in Exhibit, the audience is part of the creation process and encouraged to give feedback to the performers at the end of the show. Most, if not all, of the acts presented are brand new or in the making. Think of it as a comedian trying new jokes and getting a feel from the audience to see if the new joke will make the cut in their next routine.

As someone who fell in love with Perth and moved here 6 years ago, what are your favourite things about our city that caught your eye?

My favourite things about Perth are the sun, the smiles, and its vibe as a small town but with lots to do. In Paris, it’s crowded everywhere, and people are annoyed if you are in their way because things always need to go faster and faster. But going a little slower is great too!

Would you say there are many differences between the circus community and culture in Perth compared to France, and how it is enjoyed?

I’d say the main difference in the circus culture is that in France, the circus community is a lot more present. Traditional circuses tour all the time and there are a lot of contemporary circus companies. The latest numbers are around 450 circus companies registered in France, which is huge!

I also feel like the circus community here is sometimes a bit more scattered between the training spaces, even though everyone has a different and personal approach to their art. I did find that, in France, the circus community was closer-knit and more open to sharing opportunities. As such, I’d love to recreate this here in Perth with Exhibit. From an audience member’s perspective, I’d say Perth audiences sometimes forget that many things do happen outside of Fringe, even when it rains!
It’s refreshing to see you incorporate mixed arts and experimental, live music into your shows. You even designed an original ground-based structure called Tetra on which you perform with! For you, where does the inspiration come from?
My inspiration comes from literally everywhere. Something that was always present to me was how art is completely integrated into everyone’s life with many not even realising it. Think about the chair you’re sitting on. Someone took the time to imagine a design, find out how to make it a practical object, maybe carved it or built it as a prototype, finalised a design and then got it into production.

Almost every object in your life starts with a sketch or drawing, and I use that same approach when I think about circus. What is my body designing in the space? Is it sharp? Is it round? What does it express? I also try to be very conscious about storytelling and sharing feelings on stage to connect with the audience. They might not tell themselves the same story, but I’m taking them on a journey regardless.

We love that you are trying to promote high-quality circus while supporting other art mediums, all with an affordable ticket price. What messages do you aim to convey in your shows?

I just want people to see that circus is for absolutely everyone. As an audience member, you will see high-level athletes telling stories. As a student in a circus school, we don’t care about your body type, gender, sexual orientation, age or colour… We just want you to enjoy moving your body and training while nurturing your creative mind. At the end of the day, my main message is that all humans and creatives are interconnected and that opening yourself to the new and the different is the best way to create growth and awareness about the world.

Outside of these shows, are there other ways to support Perth’s circus scene – be it through workshops or private shows?
Outside of shows, you can support the circus scene by going to circus classes. I personally train and teach advanced aerials at CirQuest Circus because it is the one closest to my house, but there are many other schools all around Perth that can help you get into circus. Just make sure their teachers have been trained properly, especially for aerials as it still considered is a dangerous discipline.
You can also hire a performer for any private event you might have. Perth has jugglers, aerialists, fire dancers, stilt-walkers, handstand artists and so much more!