Briefs and Hot Brown Honey: alternative bodies in contemporary circus

Katie Lavers, Jon Burtt

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The research question animating this essay is: “How is the notion of alternative bodies expressed in the works of two companies that mix circus with burlesque and cabaret, namely Briefs and Hot Brown Honey, and how do these alternative bodies critique contemporary circus in Australia and internationally?”
This writing will investigate the work of the two Brisbane-based companies, Briefs and Hot Brown Honey, and explore how conventional notions of the body in circus/cabaret are challenged and subverted in their work. The company Briefs has created an all-male circus/cabaret presenting a range of diverse sexualities and critiques racial identity through the presence of a Samoan ringmistress who is also the company’s creative director. Hot Brown Honey, in its eponymous first all-female show, challenges the circus/cabaret norms for female bodies and presents racially diverse performers.
The paper argues that these two companies, both founded by performers of Samoan ethnicity, through the active inclusion of racially diverse performers with a wide range of differently sized and shaped bodies portraying a range of diverse sexual orientations and gender relations, open up important new spaces for the presence of alternative bodies to critique pervasive norms within the contemporary circus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-4
Number of pages4
JournalM/C journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2017. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • alternative bodies
  • contemporary circus
  • whiteness
  • Briefs
  • Hot Brown Honey
  • cabaret
  • burlesque
  • gender stereotyping
  • diversity


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