Guest Speakers

Author Archives: Circus Smirkus

Guest Speakers

“When one door closes another one opens” is an adage I have heard bandied around for much of my life. The adage is usually spoken when something goes wrong. I understand the sentiment behind it – we should look for the opportunities that open up around us. With Smirkus Camp in a quarantine “bubble” this summer, the actual door to camp was closed once we had all our campers in residence at camp. The closed door meant no guests, no visitors. It also meant the guests that I had on tap to speak to campers this summer could not physically get…

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Building a Circus Village

Editor’s Note: This post was written by Head Coach Doug Stewart Greetings from Smirkus Camp! We’re already into the third week of camp and the days are starting to blend together. In our bubble up in Northern Vermont, we’re running on circus time. The days are long but the weeks are short and there is magic to be found in every moment. Following the announcement that Smirkus Camp is COVID-19 free – which will forever be one of my most cherished Circus Smirkus moments – we’ve shifted gears and have implemented a new training schedule. During the first two weeks of camp, everyone was…

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Smirkus Camp Celebration

Enjoy these videos capturing the moments where the campers and staff were told that everyone has tested negatives for COVID-19 and that the pods could be disbanded. The joy is palpable!

A Summer of Unexpected Wonderful

For a good portion of the year the Old Lonegren Farm that houses our camp sits in anticipation among its fields that are only active with the weather. The fields of hay bow in the wind and lie down in the snow awaiting the summer. The summer months do not disappoint, they are filled with surprises. On July 12, after much planning and re-planning, and campers and staff completed their quarantines, the summer at Smirkus Camp finally began. The plan of a physically distanced registration process came off without a hitch. With each arriving camper came another piece of the…

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Theo LeBlanc

Theo LeBlanc, Big Top Tour trouper 2010-2020 Smirkus@Home Instructor Theo is a 17 year old from Portland Maine. He first went on the road with Circus Smirkus as a clown, acrobat, and juggler in 2018. In his free time he likes to do crosswords and play with his dogs.            

Rebecca Starr

Rebecca Starr Rebecca Starr got her start in gymnastics at the age of 3 and has been moving ever since! After years of competing she found her true love, performance and the Circus Arts. In the early 2000s Rebecca studied dance and movement at San Diego State University, while performing with the Fern Street Circus and Cirque de la Mer. Rebecca is the co-founder of Lyralicious, a duo specializing in aerial hoop. She performed worldwide as part of Lyralicious for many years. She has been featured on MTV’s MADE, NY Ink, and CBS This Morning; and performed with Cirque Dreams, “The Girlie Show”, L.A Circus, Frequent Flyers Aerial Dance Festival, San…

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Willem McGowan

Willem McGowan, Big Top Tour trouper 2011-2012 2020 Smirkus Camp Coach Willem McGowan began training juggling at the age of 12 in Chicago, USA. After training with different youth circus organizations around the United States Willem later moved to Quebec City, Canada, where he attended l’école de Cirque de Québec, and graduated in 2017 with a speciality in Diabolo. Since finishing school, Willem has performed around the world with various companies including the Midnight Circus in Chicago, Strut & Fret in Australia, and Circus Monti in Switzerland.      

Sam Gurwitt

Sam Gurwitt, Big Top Tour trouper 2011-2014 Sam has seen or performed in every Smirkus show since 1998, when he was 2, and he couldn’t let a pandemic break the streak. He toured with the Big Top Tour from 2011 to 2014, and coached clown at Smirkus Camp. He’s now a reporter for a newspaper in New Haven, Connecticut, where he has learned that circuses are much better organized than local governments, and that clowns tend to be more competent than politicians.      

Nathan Biggs-Penton

Nathan Biggs-Penton, Big Top Tour trouper 2014 Nathan grew up in the woods in a house built and designed by his parents. Climbing to the top of the highest trees, flying down the hills following the deer, and sliding across the frozen ponds gave him the feeling that anything is possible. Questioning the limits and where this anything could bring him. In 2013 Nathan dove head first into the world of physical expression; dance, manipulation, acrobatics, clowning and more. Circus Smirkus, The Stockholm University of Dance and Circus, and the Quebec Circus School were his starting blocks to push off into…

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Jacob Tischler

Jacob Tischler, Big Top Tour trouper 2006-2009 Jacob Tischler is a regional actor, whose most recent credits include: nothing, because #COVID. Prior: Cosmo (Olney Theatre Center, Singin’ in the Rain), Ted Hanover (Walnut Street Theatre, Holiday Inn), and Carl Hanratty (New London Barn Playhouse, Catch Me if you Can). He’s now in VT, baking bread for social justice reform.