Residency Artists

Meet Our Residency Artists


Your Smirkus Residency will be led by one of our experienced Residency Artists. Each of these educators has specialized training in circus arts and years of experience, both in performing and coaching. Our Residency Artists have the boundless energy and depth of personality needed to work with the students, staff, and community members at your school.

Circus Smirkus Josh Shack

Joshua Shack

Joshua Shack has been a Smirkus Residency Artist for six years, Production Manager for the Big Top Tour for over a decade, and is now Director of Programming and Alumni Relations for Circus Smirkus. This summer he will serve as Summer Camp Director.

After seeing his first circus, Joshua decided to become a clown when he was just three years old. At age nine, he began performing his solo show at many local events, and from 2000-2003 he spent his summers touring with the Circus Smirkus Big Top Tour.

In 2004, he toured the U.S. with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey. He is a co-creator and performer of The Piccolini Trio, and directed their critically acclaimed stage show Circus in a Trunk. As a writer and director, his credits include the clown play Out of Orbit at the Theater at Saint Peter’s in New York City, Nothing but Nonsense, a variety musical comedy at Circus World Museum in Baraboo, WI and 14 productions for Theater in the Open in Newburyport, MA. He also loves cooking, art, puns and ice cream.

Joy Powers

Joy Powers is our newest Smirkus Residency Artist, and has also coached at Smirkus Camp. She first became interested in circus and clowning after seeing Circus Smirkus at age 13. After attending Smirkus Camp, she auditioned for the Circus Smirkus Tour, in which she performed in the summers of 2006 and 2007. Joy then toured the country as a clown with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey.

She is a co-creator and performer of The Piccolini Trio, and is a Clown Doctor with Laughter League at Boston Children’s Hospital. She is also featured in and narrates Signe Taylor’s award winning documentary Circus Dreams. Besides performing, Joy enjoys knitting, carrot cake, and making art.

Nettie Lane Circus Smirkus Nettie Lane

Nettie Lane has been a Smirkus Residency Artist for seven years. In 2006, Nettie Lane left her job as Education Director for LandPaths, an environmental non-profit, to devote herself to her new passion – Circus Arts. In 2008, she moved to Vermont to attend the Professional Track Training Program at the New England Center for Circus Arts where she focused on Trapeze and Duo Acrobatics. Nettie’s interest in theatrical clowning led her to study with Giovanni Fusetti, Paola Coletto and Aitor Basauri. Three years ago, the German Wheel captured her imagination and she has been training with it ever since.

Nettie has performed with Flynn Creek Circus, Zany Umbrella Circus, Art Farm-Circus for a Fragile Planet, New England Center for Circus Arts, Nimble Arts, Saavy Productions, Overhead Arts and the Payomet Performing Arts Center and Droplet Dance. She is also on staff at the New England Center for Circus Arts. Based in Brattleboro, Vermont, she is known for her classes on theatrical clowning where she produces a yearly Clown Soiree. Based in Brattleboro, Vermont, she is currently working on a theatrical circus show inspired by her love and concern for the natural world.

Watch this video to meet our Smirkus Residency Artists and learn about our residency at Mt. Lebanon Elementary School in Lebanon, NH: