FYI Vol. IV, No. 3


Steve Smith Assumes New Role

As of April 1, Steve Smith, former clown, Clown College director, RBBB and Big Apple Circus director and five-time Emmy Award winner for his work in children’s television, assumed the role of artistic director of the Circus Center of San Francisco.  In his new position Smith is slated to work with executive director Barry Kendall in planning the next phase of the 31 year-old organization’s development.  He will be involved in the selection of artistic projects and personnel as well as overseeing new productions, an expansion of his duties with Circus Sarasota under the same job title.

Circus Mojo Attempting New Coup

As the relations between Cuba and the United States begin to thaw, Paul Miller, the founder and director of Circus Mojo in Ludlow, Kentucky is angling to bring Cuban acrobat Roberto Augusto Bedevia to the U.S. to join his team as artistic director.  In just five years Miller has made remarkable strides toward turning Ludlow into a cultural center.  After buying the old Ludlow Theatre and turning it into a performance space, he has just purchased an abandoned church in town and is now renovating it to become the institute of Social Circus and Vocational Training Center where circus performers can hone their skills and train to take their work to hospitals and other medical facilities for therapy.  Bedevia is a graduate of the Moscow Circus School and has been working at circus for the past forty years.  He is now awaiting  a work visa.

Gerry Cottle Interviewed on the Occasion of his 70th Birthday

The UK’s most outspoken and adventurous circus impresario Gerry Cottle was recently interviewed by my friend and colleague Liz Arratoon.  It can be viewed at:


Tim Burton to Direct Disney’s Live Action Dumbo

Following the success of Into the Woods and the live action version of Cinderella the Disney studio is in the early stages of creating a live action version of its 1941 classic Dumbo.  The first step was signing Tim Burton to direct.  Burton’s most recent film work includes Alice in Wonderland, Dark Shadows, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Big Eyes.  The Dumbo film will combine live action with computer generated action.  In response Peta has written an open letter to the director requesting him to consider changing the ending of the movie, so that “the young elephant and his mother can have a truly happy ending by living out their lives at a sanctuary instead of continuing to be imprisoned and abused in the entertainment industry.”  Not only is this an intrusion into creative freedom, but a total misunderstanding of what the film is about.

 Showpeople’s Winter Quarters Mobile Home Park Opens in Florida

The Circus and Traveling Shows Retirement Project, Inc. has announced the purchase and opening of a mobile home park in Seffner, Florida, that will serve as a temporary and/or permanent home site for circus, carnival and other traveling show people.  It will be more than a mobile home park according to Father Jerry Hogan, chairman of The Circus and Traveling Shows Retirement Project.  “It will be more like a mini-winter quarters, as well as providing long-term affordable housing within the community for those who retire.”  The project purchased the property for $250,000 with funds raised through private donations and a loan from the Florida Community Loan Fund, Inc.  For more information or to apply for residency contact Lynn Florian of Carrington Real Estate Services at

Cirque du Soleil Seeks Broadway Home

In addition to seeking new investment, Cirque du Soleil has recently established a theatrical division to develop shows for Broadway.  It is now teaming up with NBC-TV on a live musical broadcast of the musical The Wiz and hopes that the broadcast will then transfer to the stage.  It will take over the Lyric Theatre on W.42nd st after its current tenant On the Town completes it run there.  The Lyrics was recently purchased by London”s Ambassador Theatre Group and would be happy to have a longtime tenant such as Cirque du Soleil.  On the Town opened to rave reviews but has played to weak business ever since its opening and could close as soon as this spring.

Tadashi Kinoshita Named Circus Ambassador

During the annual meeting of the Federation Mondial de Cirque, in Monte Carlo this past January Tadashi Kinoshita was named the 6th Ambassadeur du Cirque.  This honor was in recognition of his outstanding contribution to Circus Arts and culture, and especially his excellent work in continuing circus family tradition in Japan.  Previous ambassadors were Kenneth Feld, Mrs. Sembach-Krone of Circus Krone, Madame Xia Juhua of the Chinese Acrobatic Federation , Franz Czeisler of Circus Tihany, and Alexander A. Volkov, the president of the Russian Federation Republic of Udmurita, the first and only political figure to be so honored.

Mexico’s Circus Animals Looking for a Home

With Mexico’s recent ban on all performing exotic animals in circuses, at least 2,000 tigers, elephants, giraffes, zebras and other exotic beasts will soon be looking for new homes.  They will be too expensive for circus owners to keep once the ban kicks in and zoo officials  are struggling to relocate many of the animals.  The ban takes effect July 8, but many circuses have already shut down.  All are waiting for a response from the government as to how it envisions these animals will “evolve in their natural habitat.” Some estimates as to the number of animals effected reaches as high as 4,000.  The director of Mexico City’s zoo has said “it is not feasible” to add so many new animals that were raised in a different environment and maintain decent living conditions for them.