Who’s Who: Smirkus Staff

Year Round Staff

 

Rachel Schiffer, Executive Artistic Director

Rachel Schiffer caught the circus bug when she was only seven years old and has been practicing circus in some way shape or form ever since. Rachel studied religious performance, dance and biology at Middlebury College and upon graduation turned her full focus back to the circus arts.

She has performed extensively throughout the US with both traditional and contemporary circus companies alike. In 2011, Rachel’s circus world shifted to Europe where she lived and toured until 2020. Highlights include a 4-year tour with Le Cirque Poussiere in France, NoFit State Circus in Wales, and a creative project Laws Of Motion : The Third Law, developed in Denmark and Sweden.

Rachel was a Smirkus camper “back in the day” and performed with the Big Top Tour from 1995-2004. Rachel has since reappeared under the Circus Smirkus Big Top as House Manager and Trouper Head Counselor, and she has been a Smirkus Residency Artist and Coach. Rachel loves bringing her performance and circus administrative experiences back to Greensboro where she serves as Executive Artistic Director.

Michelle Gudorf, Administrative Coordinator

Michelle joined the Circus Smirkus in 2022. While her educational and employment background has been in geospatial/wildlife science, research, and land stewardship administration, she shares a love of the arts and has spent over 20 years planning and managing all things backstage, primarily in dance and theater.


 

 

Genevieve Martineau, Marketing Director

Circus Smirkus is the third leg of Genevieve’s career. After graduating from University of Toronto, Genevieve spent 15 years working as a Product Manager at the onset of the online services and Internet technologies boom. During this time, she also earned her MBA from Northeastern University.

To satisfy her creative passion, she left the tech sector to open her own retail bead store. As one of the largest bead stores in New England, in addition to selling jewelry making supplies, she created a curriculum with over 300 classes and taught thousands of people each year.

After 12 years in retail, Genevieve closed up shop right as Genevieve’s daughter joined the Circus Smirkus Big Top Tour. After volunteering for a summer, Genevieve joined the marketing department in 2017 and has been loving it ever since.

Tracy Goldfine, Director of Development

Alan Lambert, Tour General Manager

Joshua Shack, Big Top Tour Show Director

Josh decided to become a clown when he was just three years old. As a teenager, he spent his summers performing with Circus Smirkus, and then toured nationally 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.

Other directing credits include Out of Orbit at The Theater at Saint Peter’s in New York City, and Nothing but Nonsense, a variety musical comedy at Circus World Museum in Baraboo, WI, and 17 productions for Theater in the Open in Newburyport, MA. He is a teaching artist-in-residence for Circus Smirkus, and worn many hats at Smirkus including Production Manager, Director of Programming, Associate Artistic Director and Interim Co-Executive Director.

Jeff MandellCamp Director

Jeff Mandell, MS, is a seasoned camp director, circus artist/educator, and conflict resolution professional. He performed in his first circus show at the age of 5 as a “strong man” and magician. At the age of 7, his dad taught him to juggle 3 balls. But it wasn’t until at 34 years old that he fulfilled his dream to run away and train circus professionally.

Throughout his professional and, at times, unprofessional adventures, Jeff has circled the globe, teaching, problem-solving, clowning, and directing summer camps. Renowned for his highly effective and creative approach to community-building and tackling seemingly intractable problems, Jeff excels in fostering trust in challenging situations, including disputes across cultures and religions.

A dedicated advocate for peace, joy, and collective liberation, Jeff finds immense joy in working with children of all ages.

Carson Anderson, Business Office Manager

June Mumley, Staff Accountant