FYI Vol. I, No. 8


A Huge Piece of Circus Art Finds a New Home

With Feld Entertainment closing out most of its operations in its office in Vienna, VA, there has been a lot of furniture, files and artifacts to be moved out to other installations.  One piece that seemed to defy moving was the 42 foot wide by 22 foot high mural that adorned the lobby of the building at Westwood Center Drive.  But it is not being left behind.  It has been painstakingly removed and carefully restored by its original artist William Woodward and is being donated by Kenneth Feld to the John and Mabel Ringling Museum of Art where it will provide a spectacular welcome to the Tibbals Learning Center on the museum’s campus in Sarasota, FL.

The mural is unique in that it represents actual performers and acts that graced the three rings of the Greatest Show on Earth during the late 1980’s, including Lou and Dolly Jacobs, Gunther Gebel Williams, Tahar and King Tusk among many others. The mural’s artist visited the show periodically during that period to make notes of performers, costumes and props, completing the work in 1990

The mural will be unveiled at the Ringling museum on January 19, 2013, beginning at 10 a.m.  This will be followed by a Windjammers concert in the museum courtyard.


Circus Film Ready to Debut

The documentary film World Circus, whose progress we have been following on these pages for the last few years has passed an important milestone.  After a round of fund raising allowed Producer/Director Angela Snow to hire a film editor, that crucial task has finally been completed, and a copy of the film has been submitted to the prestigious Sundance Film Festival for consideration in hopes of being shown there this coming winter.  An answer is not expected from festival officials until this coming December, but in the meantime the film is also being submitted to other top festivals around the world to get it out into the big, wide world.

The film you will recall is a tribute to circus as art and culture around the world.  It also follows several circus acts in their journey to the Monte Carlo International Circus Festival.  In that way it also provides a look behind the scenes of that important showcase for circus arts.

You can keep up to date on the film’s reception by checking out its webpage:



International Circus Organization Continues to Grow

 A second Mexican circus organization has joined the Fédération Mondiale du Cirque (World Circus Federation), bringing it another step closer to its goal of uniting the global circus community for the promotion and preservation of circus arts and culture.  The Unión Nacional de Empresarios y Artistas de Circos Mexicanos A.C. (UNEAC or The National Association of Mexican Circus Producers and Artists) is the tenth circus association to join the Federation since its founding in 2008, and it is the second Mexican association to become a member.

The Federation also announced that the Fourth World Circus Day will be celebrated on April 20, 2013. Last year forty-six different countries registered official events celebrating this special day.  Hopefully the number will grow in 2013.  Online registration of events begins January 1, 2013.


3D Television Show Centered On a Circus

Sawdust Productions, the power behind Sawdust, a proposed 3D television series (which will also be shot and shown in 2D) based on the exploits of a Depression-era circus, have announced that film icon Mamie Van Doren will play the lead role, a glamorous (you were expecting her to be rough hewn?) but tough-minded owner of the aforesaid circus.  Funding for the project’s pilot episode is being raised through the crowd-sourcing platform Kickstarter.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled to be participating in a cutting-edge project like Sawdust,” said the actress who has not been in a film since her cameo in the 2002 film Slackers.  “I always wanted to run away and join the circus and playing the role of Victoria is my chance to do that.”  To her comments the show’s co-executive producer Anthony Coogan added, with only a touch of understatement, “Mamie Van Doren in 3D is going to be a visual delight,”

Donors to Sawdust Kickstarter campaign will receive a personalized gift from Van Doren in addition to other premium items.  To view a trailer go to


Circus Act Wins Top Prize on America’s Got Talent

The Richard Olate dog act which circus fans have seen and enjoyed on the Big Apple Circus, Ringling, Universoul and Circus Flora among other circuses, was awarded the top prize of $1m and a contract for their own show in Las Vegas,  on the TV show America’s Got Talent.  Always a favorite on any circus this act proves once again, as one wag had it, television judges have never seen circus acts before in their lives.  They need to get out and look around beyond their sheltered lives.


 A New Youth Circus is Formed in Connecticut

ARTFARM, Connecticut’s premiere youth circus has formed a new circus company called Circophony have recently performed with the Hartford Symphony, in another of those increasingly popular collaborations between the circus arts and the world of classical music.  Featured in the performance was a (presumably rapid-fire) juggling act set to Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Flight of the Bumblebee,” and an acrobatic ensemble piece performed to the “Spanish Dance” from the Nutcracker Suite.  Dic Wheeler, Circophony’s director staged the juggling duet and the acrobatic turn was directed by lead acrobatics coach Allison Dermott.  Cicrophony, which plans to present circus performances throughout the region during the coming winter and spring, is a co-production with Oddfellows Playhouse which sponsors the circus and theatre activities.