FYI Vol. VI, No. 8

Viva Fest Returns to Las Vegas in February

The second annual Viva Fest will be held on the grounds of the Silverton in Las Vegas from February 15-18th!   According to Chris Lashua, the founder of Cirque Mechanics and a member of the steering committee, this year’s event will have more competitive categories, workshops, entertainment and social activities.  He envisions the event’s becoming an annual gather of circus not to missed, similar to the annual gathering of the Australian circus industry.

For more information the website address is

Viva Fest 2018 is again being produced by Michael Rice. Carly Sheridan is the executive director.  Besides Lashua the steering committee includes Cassie Rice. Cirque Mechanics will likely be presenting another cabaret. Lashua is now busy recruiting and selecting competitors the Pro Fest competition.

Networking in the Circus Industry Has a New Platform

A new online social network, CircusTalk is designed to foster the exchange of information in the circus industry. “CircusTalk will help the industry to connect, unite, and save time,” says Andrea Honis, CircusTalk co-founder, a fifth generation member of a European circus family.  Registering an account on CirusTalk is free and allows members to access a comprehensive database of artists and companies.  Members may also post and search jobs and auditions and create pages to promote acts and shows.  It will also provide a source for industry news.  To find out more visit


Watch Cirque du Soleil in Creative Mode

In the #Cirqueshop series, Cirque du Soleil explores a new acrobatic repertoire by reaching out to athletes from other disciplines. See what happens when two different cultures come together—action sports and circus arts.

In this episode, some of the world’s top BMX riders and Cirque du Soleil take on a challenge that’s never been tried before. See what happens when BMX riders experiment with the Wheel of Death.

Watch now


Kinetic Arts Center New Production Honored

INVERSION: Circus Disobedience, a production of The Kinetic Arts Center in Oakland, California has been awarded five nominations for outstanding  work from the Theatre Bay Area Awards Celebration.  This is a first for the theatre and circus communities and marks a new awareness of the contemporary circus movement locally and all over the country.  The company’s latest work CIRCUS VERITAS featuring the Sacred Order of the Burning Pants, created by the same team that created INVERSION recently opened at the Herbst Theatre here, and ran from November 4 thru 17.


 Looking Glass Theatre in Association with Actor’s Gymnasium Revives a Seasonal Favorite

Looking Glass Theatre in association with Actor’s Gymnasium will launch its 30th Season with the return of the award-winning, circus-infused Hard Times.

A Dickensian carnival of characters inhabits the streets of smoke-choked Coketown: grim Mr. Gradgrind’s school churns out joyless students; poor Stephen Blackpool toils in the nearby mines; and mill-owner Mr. Bounderby, full of bluster and bombast, presides over it all. Only when a traveling circus alights nearby, and young orphan Sissy Jupe enters their world, does a ray of hope shine through. Artistic Director Heidi Stillman has adapted and directs this timeless love-letter to the power of beauty, hope, and imagination from the novel of the same name by Charles Dickens.

It has been called “Captivating in every sense of the word” by the Chicago Sun-Times, and “A chance to escape to the circus by the Chicago Tribune.  The production team also includes Dabiel Ostling, scenic desiner; Maria Blumenfeld, costume designer; Brian Bembridge, lighting designer; and Andres Pluess, sound designer and composer.

The production will run through January 14 at the Water Tower Water Works 821 N Michigan Ave. Chicago.


Elephants Banned throughout New York State

The New York State legislature has passed a bill outlawing the use of elephants in any form of public entertainment. Had the Ringling show continued to operate this new law as it had for almost 150 years with herds of elephants,  this law would have required abandoning its New York City, Long Island, Brooklyn, and Albany engagements.  And that’s only New York State.  California has passed similar legislature.  All of which makes the show’s closing seem all that more understandable.


Rumor Has It…

that Jim Judkins is the new owner of the Kelly Miller Circus. Judkins is the former owner of Circus Chimera which at one point he decided to make and animal-free exhibition.  Before that he was associated with management of the Carson and Barnes Circus, so he obviously knows what he is getting into.