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The Troupers Have Arrived!

Editor’s Note: This post was written by summer Tour Communications Associate Lila Chafe

It was a breezy summer day in Greensboro when the Circus Smirkus staff welcomed 30 troupers and their family members to the Circus Barn. The arrival of troupers officially marked the beginning of the training period for the Big Top Tour, a moment that would put years of imagination into performance.

The morning began with staff members putting together final touches on bunk assignments, clown skit choreography, set development, and Pie Car menu preparation. The once quiet, planned days would soon transform into moments of bursting creative exploration, hard work, and community. As cars stuffed with clown trunks, sleeping bags, and hula hoops turned on to 1 Circus Road, the Big Top tent emerged through trees and troupers caught a first glimpse of their new home – that is for the next three weeks of training and show creation. 

This year, Smirkus troupers are between the ages of 11 and 18 and represent 13 different states. Each of them bring diverse talents from tightwire to contortion to juggling and they share the unifying commitment to build a showstopping tour. This troupe will mark the first time in three years that Circus Smirkus has embarked on a big top tour. 

As a part of arrival, troupers took covid tests, received name tags, and most importantly, were reunited with fellow performers and coaches from years past. With the help of incredible staff and especially counselors, all troupers were moved into their trailers and then seated in the tent to be greeted by Troy Wunderle and Mark Lonegran within hours of their arrival. After an inspiring first meeting in Chapiteau, the touring tent, Circus Smirkus creative team members reflected that they had been waiting for this moment – the start of a brand new tour – for years.

It is hard to imagine that in three short weeks, the tents will pack up to present a fully finished show. As proven year after year, with an incredible team of troupers, coaches, and staff, along with the promise of Smirkus mud and magic, even the impossible is possible.

Don’t miss the show! Tickets are on sale at