Circus Blogs: Camp News Big Top Tour News Residency News

Circus Smirkus Announces New Executive Artistic Director

Circus Smirkus Comes Full Circle

The Circus Smirkus Board of Directors is thrilled to announce the appointment of Rachel Schiffer as Executive Artistic Director – a role that provides strategic and artistic oversight for the entire Smirkus organization.

A Vermonter and Middlebury College graduate, Rachel joined the Circus Smirkus Big Top Tour in 1995 for the first of her ten years (!) as a trouper. She later worked as a Smirkus Residency Coach, and on the Big Top Tour as House Manager and Trouper Head Counselor. She was also an active member of the Smirkus Alumni Committee for many years. Rachel traveled the world as a circus artist — working in France, Denmark, England, Wales, and the United States. In 2022 she was hired as Smirkus Camp Director; since spring 2023 she has also served as Smirkus Co-Interim Executive Director. From early days under the big top to this leadership role, Rachel and Smirkus have come full circle.

Credit Kate Russell / Class Clown 1995Board President Kate Hayes (also a Smirkus alum) commented, “We are delighted to have Rachel take on this role. With a powerful combination of Smirkus institutional knowledge, international performing experience, and arts administration expertise, she is well-positioned to strengthen this incredible organization and help spread its magic more broadly than ever before.”

“I’m humbled and honored to be taking on this position and am thrilled to continue the Smirkus story in ways that are meaningful and true to Smirkus’ mission and values,” says Rachel. “I am excited for the challenge, I’m excited for the joy and I look forward to being a part of the ongoing adventure that is Circus Smirkus.”


Kate Hayes
President of the Board, Circus Smirkus

Rachel Schiffer
Executive Artistic Director, Circus Smirkus