Hula Hoops and Fire

Body BurningClaire began her performance career informally in the late 90’s whilst at university in Liverpool, as part of a troop of fire performers and musicians who entertained on the street. was during this time that she had her first experience of trapeze and decided to become a trapeze artist.

After graduating she travelled Europe and along the way visited as many circus schools as possible including La Lido in Toulouse, Les Naus and La Carampa in Barcelona. She settled for a while in central Portugal and began regularly training solo trapeze, doubles trapeze and corde lisse (rope) This led to performances at a local cabaret, for National Children’s Day in Porto and a specially commissioned aerial theatre show,” O’ Cameleo”, at Loures festival (Lisbon).

Corde LisseUpon returning to the UK in 2002 she continued her circus training working with influential aerial teachers such as Matilda Leyser, Gareth Bailey, and Jackie Wellbourne and by attending a full time circus acrobatics course with Polichinelo Circus.

After completing the course she formed Madam Mango's Circus with Micky Bimble and they created the outdoor circus theatre show "Pandy's Potions" which toured rural venues throughout the South West. The skills used within the narrative included solo trapeze, doubles trapeze, corde lisse, acrobalance, juggling, diablo and contact ball manipulation. They also taught aerial and general circus skills at each venue.

Madam Mango CircusShe began working with welsh circus company “Syrcas Circus” touring Wales with their production of “Coppelia”, Claire was a main character and the tour included teaching community workshops as well as performances at each venue. This initial tour has led to a long collaboration with the company, touring England, Wales and Ireland with their shows “Y Goeden Annwn” (2004), “Coppelia” (2005) and “Throi A Throsi” (2007) performing a combination of acrobatics, acrobalance, corde lisse, trapeze, and dance.

Coppelia ropeAfter more acrobatics¬† training with Polichinelo Circus she started working with Jamboree Arts, performing her solo corde lisse routine at “The Wardrobe of Delights”, and later her solo trapeze act “Petruska” in “The Good Ship Splendid” which was performed at venues in Sheffield, Shambala Festival and Inverness.

Static trapezeShe began developing her performances further creating stilt characters and performing solo and group fire shows regularly in the in the north of England. Then she toured with Circus Ricardo in 2005, performing corde lisse, static trapeze, acrobatics, physical comedy and clowning as well as taking part in all aspects of touring circus life, such as setting up the big top, publicity and rigging.

For the 2006 season she toured with Bassline Circus’ show “Running Away” performing as part of the ensemble in the show as well as solo counterweighted corde lisse, duo silks, and illusions. During the winter she went to India, where she toured for 5 months with Empire Circus and Asiad Circus, performing a variety of aerial acts.


Upon returning to the UK in 2007 she decided to settle in the north of England forming the aerial company “Mango Rose” with Emily Rose, and they created a tango style silks duet “A Vertical Tango” which they premiered at the Greentop Cabaret and have performed at numerous corporate and community events and festivals, including The White Rose Awards, Glastonbury festival, Sheffield Chamber of Commerce Awards Ceremony, Ashton Under Lyme markets opening ceremony, Shambala festival, ¬†Pinewood Studios, and Kirby Lonsdale street performance festival.

Solo SilksAfter making a decision to not tour for a few years, Claire worked throughout the next few years at many events and venues including Sheffield Chamber of Commerce Awards, Leeds Royal Armouries, Shambala festival, Excel Showcase , Kirby Lonsdale Street Festival, Doncaster Chamber of Commerce Awards, Harwood House, Chatsworth House, Rochdale Feelgood festival, Best Partied Ever, Excel and Confex showcases. A highlight of 2007 and 2008 was creating a specially commissioned aerial storytelling piece that wowed family audiences at the Chesterfield Garden of Light.

Hoola HoopsShe also developed a hula hoop act that she performed at many events including BurlyQ Cabaret, Cabaret Boom Boom, Sheffield Try-Atholon and Skyfest.

She formalised her existing rigging knowledge by undertaking IRATA training and began to work professionally as a circus rigger. She was the head rigger at Greentop Circus Centre and for Bassline Circus at Glastonbury in 2009, as well as continuing to do her own rigging at events and venues.

2009 saw her become the lead aerial tutor on the Circus In Performance course at Greentop Circus in Sheffield, this is a full time, professional circus foundation training for aspiring circus artists. This is as well as teaching aerial workshops and private classes.


In 2010 she formed a 3 person cast that travelled to Tenerife every fortnight to perform in Cirque Du Revolution for Swamp Circus, a Beatles themed show in which Claire performed silks, corde lisse, and fire. She also began her collaboration with Steve Steinman’s Carnival du Vampires Rock, performing in this high energy show at large arenas across the UK.

WhitehavenAnother highlight was performing silks and aerial hoop inside a giant inflatable globe floating on the water, accompanied by live flute music, for Colourscape in Whitehaven festival. Since 2009 she has also taken this atmospheric performance to Ipswich arts festival, Rotherham, and in 2011 to Turku, Finland as part of the European Capital of Culture celebrations. 2011 also saw her performing in the dance arena at Exit festival in Serbia to a crowd of around 20 000.

In 2011 she received two grants from Arts Council England. The first for “Avid Shenanigans”, this is a highly original aerial piece created in collaboration with visual artist Sarah Jane Palmer. Avid Shenanigans is an aerial performance with an underlying metaphysical narrative and includes animation, projection, shadow puppetry and live video interaction.

Avid The second saw Claire returning to her interest in circus theatre. The grant was to research and develop Rift, a narrative based ensemble circus theatre show, directed by Phil Coggins of The Babbling Vagabonds, which is an ongoing project.
During 2012 she has been touring Wales with Theatr Genedlaithol Cymru’s production “Y Storm” a welsh translation of The Tempest. The part of a spirit (Ysbryd) ¬†includes silks, corde lisse, stilts, fire, harness flying, acting, movement and magic.


Cascade Invisible CircusShe is still training hard at her aerial skills, particularly corde lisse, has begun training hand balancing with a view to perform in the future, and is currently furthering her own circus theatre projects. During this time she continues to perform rope (corde lisse), silks, trapeze, aerial hoop, hula hoops and fire at numerous events around Sheffield, the UK, Europe and Internationally.