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Vale: Circus Oz founder John Pinder

Vale: Circus Oz founder John Pinder
May 28, 2015

John Pinder, a co-founder of Circus Oz and the man who opened Australia's first comedy cabaret venue The Flying Trapeze Café in Melbourne in the 1970s, had died at the age of 70.

His death was announced on Facebook on Wednesday by his partner Dasha Ross, who wrote "early this morning John slipped away freed from the suffering and pain his cancer had caused him. He was so peaceful and surrounded by love."

Renowned for his support of comedy through venues including The TFMuch Ballroom, and The Last Laugh Theatre Restaurant and Zoo, Pinder was the coordinator of the inaugural Melbourne International Comedy Festival. He also produced works at Edinburgh Fringe, Adelaide Fringe and Adelaide Festival of the Arts, among other festivals.

Born in New Zealand in 1945, Pinder and was exposed to the circus at a young age and went on to be involved with Circus Oz in its earliest years, guaranteeing the company's first bank loan.

Pinder opened the Last Laugh in 1977, a comedy theatre restaurant considered responsible for launching the careers of many of Australia's most prominent comedians including Wendy Harmer, Mary-Anne Fahey and Richard Stubbs. The venue also hosted a ‚Äč32 week season by Circus Oz in 1979.

Comedian and broadcaster Richard Stubbs paid tribute to Pinder during his afternoon radio program on 774 ABC Melbourne on Wednesday, stating "John Pinder was a great, big, loud, in-your-face force of comedic nature.

"Someone who demanded that you were better, someone who told you when you were rubbish, someone who stood up the back enthusiastically laughing and applauding when the audience wasn't."

Circus Oz members paid tribute to Pinder in a statement on the troupe's Facebook page, describing him as "unique, brilliant, funny, an initiator and a provocateur."

Image via Facebook.


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