CIRCUS: 360 Allstars director Gene Peterson grew up in the Northern Rivers.
CIRCUS: 360 Allstars director Gene Peterson grew up in the Northern Rivers. CONTRIBUTED

360: How a Spring Grove man reinvented the circus

LOCATED north east of Casino is Spring Grove, the Northern Rivers suburb where entertainment impresario Gene Petersen grew up in, until he run with the circus.

These days the musician and urban circus owner travels the world with his troupe and show 360 All Stars, coming to perform in Lismore soon, but his origin can be tracked in the tranquil life of growing up in Spring Grove, shopping in Casino and going to school in Lismore.

Petersen said he misses the Northern Rivers and Spring Grove in particular, and visits his parents every time he can, in between world tours.

"My parents still live in the same house I grew up in. It's a beautiful area, wonderful countryside, lovely place to grow up,” he said.

"It's too easy when you are a kid to take our area for granted but the more you travel you realise we grew up in paradise.

"I went to school in Lismore, at Trinity, so I have great memories of Lismore too. I went to High School from 1999 to 2002.”

Despite visiting often, this is the first time Petersen has brought one of his shows to the Northern Rivers.

"360 All-Stars has not performed in Lismore before,” he said.

CONTEMPORARY PERFORMERS: 360 Allstars are coming to NORPA in Lismore.
CONTEMPORARY PERFORMERS: 360 Allstars are coming to NORPA in Lismore. Matt Loncar

"It sold out on Broadway, it sold out at Edinburgh, and it's pretty great to share it with a local audience.”

"Also, after years touring with the cast, it's great to bring them here and sharing a part of my life with them, and welcome them the area I grew up in” he added.

The show has been travelling the world for the last six years, with a number of Australian tours completed, and Petersen said it can be considered an urban circus.

"The concept of the show is that we are re-inventing the circus,” he said.

"We are replacing traditional circus stereotype art-forms with contemporary street performers.

"So instead of acrobats we have break-dancers, instead of a juggler we have basketball free-styler, instead of a unicyclist we have a BMX rider, and so on.

"All of the art-forms feature rotation, hence it is called 360 All Stars, and also because everyone in the cast are the best in the world in the individual disciplines.”

This is the third show Gene Petersen has created, and has been touring them for a decade.



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