“The message for me is that we can do what we want to do. I want to perform. I want to take my show on the road,” says Auckland circus performer Sarah Houbolt on n a recent Paul Henry breakfast show on TV3.

“A lot of people have said I can’t. I’m a very niche market but there are advantages to that. My message is just work it.”

Sarah Houbolt, who performed her one-woman show, KooKoo the Birdgirl, at TAPAC in Auckland in November, promoted her show in an interview with television presenter Paul Henry.

"It's an amazing story of triumph ... I want to honour a legacy of performers on the fringe."

In the show, Sarah combines her circus, theatre and dance skills to develop a new physical language for the show. Based on the true story of KooKoo the Birdgirl, a vaudeville sideshow act from the early 1900s, Sarah delves into the history of her craft as a circus performer and the history of her disability.

As Paul Henry points out at the beginning of the show, Sarah is legally blind but prefers to use the term “partially sighted”.

Asked about being partially sighted and being different, Sarah responded: “Growing up, I was treated pretty much the same because I’m a human, like everyone else. But there were definitely moments where I knew I looked a bit different, especially as a teenager. It was a real identity phase ... I wanted to channel those ideas of identity into the show and go, actually it’s super-cool to be different.”

When Paul Henry asked if there was a point when she would be selected to perform because she was “different”, Sarah said:

“I hope so. Yes please.”


Sarah Houbolt gets message across on TV show


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