What do you get when you combine a stellar international cast: consisting of the two-time World Champion BMX Flatlander Peter Sore; two World Champion breakdancers, B-Boy Sette and B-Boy Leerok; an internationally acclaimed basketball freestyler, Bavo Delbeke; a World Record holding roue cyr artist, Rowan Thomas; New Zealand’s X – Factor winner Beau Monga; and multi-award winning drummer and composer Gene Paterson?
A phenomenal physical fusion of extraordinary performers exploring all forms of rotation, connects the street with the elite to deliver a supercharged urban circus. But, what was the inspiration behind the reinvention of the modern circus, that is 360 ALLSTARS?
The incentive to create 360 ALLSTARS was spurred by the success of my two previous shows, Gene Peterson Live and Loop The Loop. Both received an overwhelmingly positive response from audiences and venues alike, and with the experience gained from producing smaller shows, I felt ready to jump in the deep end and have a go at creating a bigger production – no restrictions, no limits; just “awesome”!
Removing limitations allows you to question everything and dream big! It was like giving myself permission to think like a kid in a candy store and ignore the realities and restrictions that you learn to accept as an adult. Why should 360 ALLSTARS settle for any old BMX rider? … Let’s get the world champion! In fact, let’s find out who’s the best in the world at every one of these art forms, and see if we can get them! It probably wasn’t the most cost-effective choice, but it was the decision to remove these logistical and financial parameters and put the art first that has made the show successful.
The same went for production values. We definitely didn’t hold back there either! 360 ALLSTARS has an amazing lighting design, a killer live soundtrack, and stunning video projections displayed across three video screens. I wanted every ingredient of the show to be spectacular in its own right.
From day one, there was a really wonderful energy, and enthusiasm from everyone. We placed a huge focus on having a good time, and the cast were so excited and eager to be involved in the production and to create something special. When working with such a phenomenal cast of athletes, performers and musicians, each of whom are at the top of their field in their given art forms, it really wasn’t difficult! Five years on, several hundred shows later and a few world tours, everyone still loves performing the show. We’ve become a genuine, tight-knit little family – really apparent to the audience.
That said, 360 ALLSTARS is a difficult show to produce and perform. We routinely face obstacles requiring creative thinking from everyone. For instance, finding ways to have the artists collaborating on stage was a definite challenge. It was quite comical … You’ve got a world champion in one art form, who is a total amateur at another! One moment they’re pulling off mind-blowing stunts, and the next they’re being a complete beginner! We definitely had to be tactful to find common ground between various disciplines and build relationships between the different art forms that were achievable and effective.
As the director of 360 ALLSTARS and a performer, I had a unique challenge which needed to be addressed. I find myself on stage focusing on the other artists, instead of myself. Mid-performance, I’ll be thinking, “Is he in his light?” or, “Will he remember his cue?” and then I’ll be the one who stuffs up! It’s certainly a luxury as a director to travel with the show, and it’s allowed the production to continue to evolve as we tour, but when I get up on stage, I do need to consciously remind myself to switch off and just focus on being the best performer I can be.
In the end, I’m proud to say we’ve created a really great show. It’s often said that if you’re having fun on stage, the audience will be having fun with you, and the 360 ALLSTARS performance exemplifies this statement. It’s truly a pleasure to share the stage with such incredibly talented individuals night after night, and I hope that the audiences continue to enjoy the show as much as we enjoy delivering it.