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5 September, 2019

A bittersweet, but ultimately hopeful, look at a difficult and painful topic.

Commissioned by Metro Arts in 2018, We Live Here is a collaboration between the Brisbane-based youth arts company Flipside Circus and the children’s hospice Hummingbird House.

Hummingbird House, located in Chermside, serves as a medically-supported home away from home for families living with children or teenagers with a life-limiting condition.

It is 1 of only 3 of its kind in Australia and is the only facility in Queensland that provides respite and end-of-life care for children.

We Live Here is a show that explores the joys and sorrows of life and death – of living and dying. Using various forms of circus, verbatim style narration, visual projection and the real-life lived experiences of those working and living at Hummingbird House, We Live Here presents a visually rich and emotionally uplifting tone poem that is more joyful than sombre. The show is made up of various acts of physical and technical circus arts: tumbling, vaulting, balancing, contortion, all structured and layer around various small moments and everyday scenes depicting family life and struggle.

While the show does have stories and moments that hit hard and explore the bittersweet reality of the work that Hummingbird House does, these moments of sadness and heaviness are all counter-weighted by moments of laughter and vibrant energy. But above all else, the various high and low moments are all presented with an honesty and rigour that everything truly feels as if it has been wholly constructed from a place of genuine compassion and empathy.

Audiences don’t leave We Live Here with a sense of harrowing loss or emotionally charged sympathetic pain, instead the show leaves an audience feeling uplifted and hopeful.

We Live Here ultimately left me with both an appreciation for organisations like Hummingbird House, and the tireless and selfless work they do, but it also left me with an appreciation for the power that theatre has to provide a voice and a platform to share those stories.