Smirkus is the brain child of Founding Director, Rob Mermin, who ran off to Europe to apprentice himself in circus life. It was there that he learned to pound stakes, put up the Big Top, work with animals and train with circus artists. Rob spent more than a decade performing as a clown in such circuses as Circus Hoffman in Great Britain, Circus Scott in Sweden, the Hungarian Magyar Cirkusz, and Cirkus Benneweis in Denmark. He studied mime with Marcel Marceau and taught mime, movement, and circus skills for many years in schools and colleges in the U.S. and abroad. Rob is an Artist-in-Residence in Vermont and a past Director of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College.

Rob founded Smirkus on a 38 acre parcel nestled among the rolling hills of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. The property’s 150+ year old farm house is still a home away from home for eleven permanent year-round staff. And of course, Smirkus HQ also consists of the adjoining Circus Barn, the former horse stable and loft where it all started.

Rob Mermin