Singer Katie Noonan showcased her extraordinary talents as singer, songwriter, creative director and historian at last night’s premiere of Love-Song-Circus.

The 65-minute set features a string quartet, three acrobats and Noonan’s searing vocals, all intertwined in a visceral retelling of the lives of convict women during the 18th and 19th centuries.

“I did a huge amount of research and wrote songs about these women. They’re all historically accurate and supported by multiple facts about their lives that I came up with from lots of books, prison records, thesis papers – all sorts of research,” Noonan told bmag earlier this week.

Noonan teamed up with three female acrobats from Brisbane-based Circa for the performance.

“When I think of strong women in contemporary setting, I think the women in circus represent that beautifully. It’s about sisterhood, solidarity, strength and grace,” says Noonan. “They’re not doing a literal representation because there’s enough in the songs you don’t need to do that. It’s just a series of beautiful vignettes that reflect different things in the songs and create a very beautiful shape to look at.”

The theme of love and loss – from children, family and lovers – underpins both the lyrics and the stilted, emotionally-charged movements of the acrobats.

There’s a Celtic quality to the music, with its peppering of banjos, haunting strings and wonderfully Irish mix of upbeat melody and bleak lyrics.

Love Song Circus is at QPAC from the 4 to 8 March, at 8pm every night with an 11am session on 5 March.

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