DIY Circus Lab

Author Archives: Circus Smirkus

DIY Circus Lab

Jackie Davis, Author of DIY Circus Lab

“I believe more kids — ALL kids — should have the chance to discover circus.” So says circus educator and Smirkus residency consultant Jackie Davis, author of the newly released DIY Circus Lab for Kids. The book, she says, is the culmination of her lifelong work as a circus educator, and guides readers through the ABCs of making their own circus. It teaches basic skills like juggling, tumbling, clowning and how kids can make their own circus equipment and props. Using the book as a guide, readers can learn how to combine skills into an act, and acts into a circus show. Newly released by Quarry Books, it is an…

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Catastrophe and Grace

Rob Mermin Marcel Marceau Circus Smirkus

Editor’s Note: This article is by Erica Heilman of Rumble Strip and was originally published on October 16, 2017 Acclaimed Smirkus founder Rob Mermin speaks with Rumble Strip podcast host Erica Heilman about his career as a mime clown and circus performer, his Parkinson’s Disease diagnosis three years ago, and the connections between the art forms of mime and movement. Click below to listen to the podcast, entitled “Catastrophe and Grace”. About Rob Rob Mermin trained in classical mime with Etienne Decroux and Marcel Marceau and has performed in European circus, theater, TV and film for forty years.  He is an author,…

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Hideaway Circus Interviews Director Mark Lonergan

Mark Lonergan Hideaway Circus

HIDEAWAY CIRCUS EPISODE 51 – MARK LONERGAN, CIRCUS AND PHYSICAL THEATER DIRECTOR Editor’s Note: This podcast was originally published by Hideaway Circus on November 6, 2017 On Episode 51 of Hideaway Circus, former Circus Smirkus Trouper Josh Aviner and co-producer Lyndsay Magid recount their experience at the newly revived Big Apple Circus and sit down for an interview with Smirkus Creative Director Mark Lonergan. Mark also directed Big Apple Circus and Circus Smirkus the past two seasons. They talk about the differences between directing theater and circus, and compare the old Big Apple to the new one. The whole interview is fascinating and…

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Wesley Williams: Emerging Circus Star at 19

Watch a video below created by circus enthusiast Lane Talburt. Watch this video about 19 year old Wesley Williams, who is taking unicycling to new heights and getting national acclaim along the way. Also called  “The One Wheel Wonder”, Williams was a Big Top Tour trouper from 2013-2015, and also competed on America’s Got Talent in 2015. In this new YouTube video from Lane Talburt, learn more about Williams and how his early experiences with Smirkus shaped his understanding of circus life and helped him launch a successful circus career.  

Circus Smirkus: A Life-Shaping Experience

Watch a video below created by circus enthusiast Lane Talburt. With generous infusions of comedy and teamwork, “Midnight at the Museum” showcases the talents of 30 troupers in this life-changing professional youth circus during Circus Smirkus’ 30th anniversary tour in the Summer of 2017.  Lane Talburt interviews troupe members and key staffers on this big top production.

In Memoriam: Toby Schwartz

Rest in Peace, Toby Schwartz. For anyone that didn’t know Toby, she was an avid Smirkus fan from the very beginning. Along with her husband Hank, Toby typically attended 15-20 Big Top Tour shows each year. The couple had their favorite seats in the tent and everyone on the set knew where they were by hearing their familiar laughs, shouts of encouragement to the troupers, and notable ill-timed clapping! Each summer the Smirkus Troupers were invited into their home on a jump day to eat more Ben & Jerry’s ice cream than humanly possible, gorge themselves on home-baked goods, eat an overflowing bounty of fruit, swim in…

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Study Shows Circus Arts Improve Student Learning Skills

The results of a year-long education study are in, and show that integrating the circus arts into K-12 education can improve student performance. Nationwide, circus programs improved social and emotional learning skills in all areas measured. Conducted by the Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality, the study observed children in school residency programs offered by Circus Smirkus and seven other circus arts providers across America. The study asked a simple question: Do the circus arts improve Social Emotional Learning (SEL) skills in schools? “Circus arts delivered results measurably better than the comparison group composed of a wide range of school arts and sports activities.” The answer is…

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The 2017 Big Top Tour Finale

Watch a video below of the final bows of the 2017 Big Top Tour Finale, including remarks from founder Rob Mermin and longtime executive director Ed LeClair. Circus Smirkus has had the privilege of having Ed LeClair as the Executive Director for the last 14 years. At the end of the year, Ed will retire, leaving large clown shoes to fill! If you’ve never met Ed, his passion and dedication to the organization is palpable. As Ed says,”the function of circus is to astound and amaze.” What’s also amazing is that Ed put the “function” in Circus Smirkus — creating…

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Troy and Sara Wunderle Discover Circus Smirkus

2017 marks the 30th Anniversary of Circus Smirkus, and also 20th Anniversary of Troy and Sara Wunderle’s marriage and their start at Circus Smirkus.   You might know him today as the Artistic Director of the Circus Smirkus Big Top Tour, but Troy joined Smirkus after a season of touring with Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey Circus in 1997, helping Rob Mermin with residencies in schools during the off-season and serving as an all-around assistant in the summer at camp and tour.  Sara started her Smirkus journey as head counselor at camp and then eventually found herself as head concessionaire…

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2017 Big Top Tour DVD Available

2017 Big Top Tour: Midnight at the Museum DVD

Watch the trailer below and purchase your DVD copy today! Enjoy the 30th Anniversary Big Top Tour with the 2017 Midnight at the Museum DVD—a wild and wonderful adventure through the hallowed halls of a magical museum! Embark on an enchanted journey with astonishing aerialists, courageous clowns, and wily wirewalkers as they explore a museum that springs to life when the clock strikes midnight. Whether you missed the Big Top Tour this summer or want to relive the magic, it’s time to purchase your copy of Midnight at the Museum on DVD, filmed in Waltham, MA at Gore Place, by…

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