Image: Aaron Walker
Image: Aaron Walker

By a Thread

One Fell Swoop Circus

In By a Thread spools of white rope run through pulley sheaves and wrap around bodies in an invitingly simple piece of art. Virtuosic acrobatics and intricate choreography weave through moments of confusion, hilarity, romance, playfulness, fear and friendship.

“It’s a bonnie, wee show, full of spectacle and heart. It reaffirms the idea that any rewarding endeavour between two or more people – whether romantic, in friendship, or acrobatic – begins and ends with true eye contact. Beautiful.” – Australian Arts Review


By a Thread’s acrobatic ensemble explore ideas of risk and trust, creating an intimate audience experience around the dangers and joys implicit in engaging with others. More than mere bodies in space, By a Thread is an exploration of tensions physical, emotional and relational.

Circus, by the nature of the physicality and risk present in the art-form, necessarily develops high levels of trust and communication within ensembles. By a Thread was created to bring a new dimension to how an audience can understand these ‘acrobatic’ relationships, and the parallels they draw to our everyday interactions.

While in traditional aerial acts the rigging is hidden offstage, in By a Thread the acrobats rely on the strength of the group to hold the end of the rope, keeping them aloft: the actions of one acrobat affect the movements of others in a precise negotiation of cause and effect.


One Fell Swoop uncover the intrinsic metaphor within circus to create stark yet beautiful audience experiences. Based in Melbourne, the company combines ambitious concepts with visceral physicality, bringing audiences the invigorating mix of joy and risk inherent to group acrobatics.

One Fell Swoop sits at the cutting edge of contemporary circus practice, creating traditional theatre shows and outdoor circus installations. Recent performance highlights include Xintiandi Festival in Shanghai, IPAY in Philadelphia, festivals in New Zealand and France; as well as an upcoming Australian National Tour in 2020.

One Fell Swoop connects a highly skilled ensemble with innovative apparatus, where classic techniques are used in expansive ways and new ideas are made possible.