Image: Hamish McCormick

Rodeo Clown

Nicci Wilks

Nicci Wilks is a freelance artist continually creating and performing works of various art forms. She has been touring her work around the world for over 35 years, performing in 14 languages, from the Pitjantjatjara lands to 42nd St in New York. Companies Nicci has worked with include Circus Oz, Melbourne Theatre Company, Malthouse Theatre, KAGE, CIRCA, Melbourne Workers Theatre, Legs On The Wall, Company 2. Her one-woman intimate show The Teensy Top (she wears the venue!) has been presented at major art centres and festivals around Australia. She directed the award-winning dark comic circus show Party Ghost and was assistant director and performer in the award-winning show Taxi. Nicci is a performer and co-creator of the highly acclaimed shows The Long Pigs and Caravan. She is a performer in the critically acclaimed stage production and feature film SHIT and was a co-creator and performer of the multi award winning production ANIMAL. She is an ensemble member in Fart Fabulous and F*ck Fabulous. In 2021-2022 she co-created and performed two sell-out seasons in Melbourne of her solo show RUNT followed by seasons at Brisbane CIRCfest and the Sydney Opera House. Recently Nicci has been preparing her new solo show Rodeo Clown, featured in the multi award-winning short film Tarneit, and is conspiring with other artists to bring live performance to the people. It’s not all popcorn and fizzy drinks, but it’s worth it. She has a dog called Moose.


Rodeo Clown is a solo show exploring one of the most dangerous, traditionally male-oriented jobs on earth. It’s a dark physical comedy.

This is a new Australian work by Nicci Wilks, Susie Dee and the writers of Caravan (Melbourne Festival 2017): Angus Cerini, Patricia Cornelius, Wayne Macauley, Melissa Reeves. Rodeo Clown will examine gender, class, raw and cruel humour in a world of broncos, bucking bulls and cowboys in regional Australia. The rodeo clown has the very dangerous task of saving lives, offering humour at the same time. A rodeo clown is low down in both the hierarchy of rodeo and the clown world. If they don’t jump in that barrel or over that fence in time, they will be gored or crushed or worse. The job is life threatening and terrifying, and yet this is where the drama for the spectator lies. The physical work will pay respect to the danger, the bravery, the life and death moments played out in this wild arena. It’s a show about a short unhappy life as a Rodeo Clown… but it’s funny. Life is like a rodeo; the trick is to ride and make it to the bell.

In 2022 Nicci received funding from The National Circus Festival to present a new idea for a work in progress, so she approached Susie Dee and the four writers to begin work on Rodeo Clown. She presented two 20 minute showings and received much encouragement to take the work further. She has since received more funding and is planning to present the work at the end of 2023.

Session Times
PROFILE: Here’s Our Idea
Friday 9 June, 11:30am AEST


Nicci Wilks