August 7, 2013

Heather_credit Scott HoneMontreal based Cirque du Soleil shows have toured Australia over the last decade, bringing the joys of circus performance to a whole new audience.  Not forgetting Circus Oz and the more traditional circus troups which tour both town and country regions of Australia, such as Ashtons and Stardust, circus skills have become a popular artform.  Circus acts no longer perform only under “The Big Top” but can be found on stage in theatres, nightclubs and even cruise ships.

The National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA) is now inviting aspiring circus artists to submit their applications for entry into the 2014 Bachelor of Circus Arts course, with the opportunity to join the ranks of the acclaimed alumni who have passed through the Institute’s doors over the past 14 years.

If you see an Australian circus artist working today on the professional stage anywhere in the world, chances are they began their career by auditioning for the NICA Bachelor of Circus Arts course.

From 30 September 2013, NICA trainers will be holding auditions in Sydney for entry into the course in 2014.  Those with a flair for the physical and a desire for a challenge will have the opportunity to apply for this prestigious course.

The course is a great career opportunity for those with some background in physical training such as circus, sport, dance, physical theatre, gymnastics, acrobatics, martial arts, diving or trampoline and who dream of performing.

NICA is one of eight national arts training institutes and offers Australia’s only Bachelor of Circus Arts.  The course is accredited by Swinburne University and training takes place in custom-built circus facilities on its Prahran campus.  Over 100 young people currently study at NICA’s internationally-recognised facility in Melbourne, with a determination to graduate with a degree and a competitive advantage that will help them perform at an elite level.

Entry into the three year Bachelor of Circus Arts Degree course in 2014 is by audition, interview and physiotherapy assessment.  Applicants must have completed Year 12 or equivalent to be eligible for this program and are required to apply for an audition via the NICA website at or by contacting NICA’s Student Administrator by email or on 03 9214 6537.

Applications close on 9 September 2013 and NICA Sydney Auditions are to be held on 30 September 2013 at Aerialize, Canterbury.

Sandra Tiltman 


August 7, 2013
Cr Angela Vithoulkas, Sydney City Council, Gabrielle Upton, Member for Vaucluse with Rabbi Mendel Kastel CEO Jewish House

Cr Angela Vithoulkas, Sydney City Council, Gabrielle Upton, Member for Vaucluse with Rabbi Mendel Kastel CEO Jewish House

Veterinarian Dr Sam Kovac has launched Project HoPe, an exciting new initiative that aims to help the disadvantaged pets of the homeless, as part of Homeless Persons Week (5-11 August 2013).   Dr Kovac in collaboration with the Jewish House will be providing free vaccinations to Sydney’s homeless pets.

“I think many homeless people in Australia own pets because they make great, non-judgmental companions” said Dr Kovac, founder of Southern Cross Veterinary clinic in St Peters.

Project HoPe aims to vaccinate as many homeless pets as possible from common yet deadly diseases this winter.  Often these diseases can be prevented with a vaccine that costs less than $50.

“All of the diseases we will be vaccinating against are preventable.  The aim is simple, we would like to prevent these animals from becoming sick in the first place and avoid unnecessary angst and pain for both owner and animal.  I will be running the Project HoPe with help from Jewish House.  I will be administering the vaccinations myself.  It is just a small way that I can give back using my time, qualifications and skills” explains Dr Kovac.

Dr Kovac has set up the Southern Cross Compassionate Fund to ensure the financially disadvantaged do not have to bargain over the life of their companion.  All proceeds donated to the fund will go directly to helping the homeless and their pets.

For more information on Project HoPe or to contribute to the Southern Cross Compassionate Fund, please visit

Rabbi Mendel Kastel, CEO at Jewish House understands that for those on the street it can be very challenging to provide their pet with even basic needs such as food and shelter.  “It is important to show the homeless of Sydney that the community is there to support them.  As a front line worker at Jewish House, I have seen first hand how the companionship from a pet can provide comfort and relief to the homeless owner.  Project HoPe is a really positive initiative that offers hope and support to those living on the streets”.

The Jewish House is a safe haven open to any member of the public in need.  They assist in a wide range of circumstances, ranging from someone requiring a counselling session to someone requiring a bed and a roof over their head.  Whatever the case is, when a person is in need of help and on the edge of despair, the Jewish House is there to provide food, shelter, counselling, jobs searching and a 24/7 crisis line. The Jewish House is a leader in crisis management.  Its caring approach, whereby a number of services are combined in a unique way for each client, is admired by many organisations and its approach has ensured a very high success rate in assisting people to rebuild their lives after a major crisis.

Sandra Tiltman    PHOTO: John Pond