The Circus: Life and Language
When I was 14 my mum ran away with the circus. Yes not me but my mum first and then the cat and I were to follow.
I’m 26 and only just forgiven my mum for arriving at my school without warning and simply telling me that I was to get up and grab my belongings. All was arranged I had no choice, we were to leave the following morning.
She forgot to explain that I wouldn’t go back to school or see my friends for at least 2 years.
This wasn’t something that ran in the family, my mum wasn’t a tight wire walker or a trapeze artist she was just “The Touring Chef” but many say she’s a performer in her own right.
It was long journey from Ireland to Edinburgh in which I travelled with two of the performers as my mum had to travel to Birmingham to pick up our new home on wheels. The long journey consisted of circus tales and a rough history lesson about Ireland but they also explained to me that there was a circus school in Bristol called Circomedia and I could go and study circus and theatre and much to peoples surprise it was a qualified course in which you can do a Btech- A Foundation degree and even a masters in Circus!
I was still unsure about this circus life.
As much as I loved this new family that welcomed me into their bizarre world, I was a shy and a slightly grumpy teenager and thought they were all completely mad.
But thinking back this was every bored kids dream! I didn’t have to do any school -work, homework or listen to teachers. I got myself a job babysitting for performers son called Elvis, I visited museums and learnt how to put up a circus tent, try random circus skills and most of all I got to travel across the world!
Finally I returned back to school and yes I was the talk of the week, the circus girl, the girl who’s mum drove her to school in a truck with a chimney on it and sometimes there was a cat sitting in the passengers seat. Although the teachers were slightly confused as they were expecting me much sooner I spent that last year working hard to complete my GCSES and as a result I was accepted into circomedia.
After spending 4 years at Circomedia, the circus company that I grew up with (Nofitstate Circus) employed me and toured with them internationally for 4 years performing in the show “Bianco”.
Last year we had 12 different nationalities within the show, Canada, Finland, Australia, Columbia, Italy, Ireland Hungary, Wales, France, Brazil, Germany and the Uk.
The main director for the show is Italian but can speak French and English.
The average language that is spoken within the company would be French and English.
Danelio who is amazing on the ribbons (silks) is the one we most envy. He’s Brazilian his main dialect is Portuguese but he can speak fluent Italian, French, English and Spanish! Oh and is currently learning German!
As an outsider it can look quite chaotic but actually pretty chilled and as we all share the shame love and interest in circus, dance and art sometimes we don’t need to say a word for us to understand what the other is saying.
Its can be a special experience for the audience that may come from a far or who we may visit, each performer is encouraged to speak in own language throughout the show for example Jani who speaks Hungarian as he swings through the air and Fay explains to the audience in French as she’s balancing on her hands about her kitchen party crisis.
I still don’t know exactly what they say but have seen the random Hungarian audience member feel completely touched.
The circus world is pretty big but also it is very much like a little underground community.
I will never admit it to my mum but I couldn’t imagine my world any differently, circus has taught me many things but most of all it opened me up to the world.
Bristol Circus City Festival Takes Place this Month
Full Tilt Aerial Theatre
Sun 22 October 8:30 PM
VENUE: TOBACCO FACTORY
(but not free)
Thu 12 October - Sat 14 October
EVENT DATE AND TIME
Fri 27 October - Sat 28th October
VENUE: 1532 THEATRE
As A Tiger In The Jungle
Sun 15 October - Mon 16 October