The Circus is Green and Growing

Dear Smirkus Family and Friends,

It has been a hot couple days here on tour. We made the jump from Hanover and are in Saratoga Springs, New York until Sunday. Our staff and Troupers have been keeping cool with ice backstage, swimming in the Connecticut River, and surprise popsicles from the counselors.

julie garden

Julie, one of our concessionaires making a fairy garden by the Connecticut River.

One of the most interesting parts about watching a show run for so long is watching it evolve as time goes on. Small changes are made based on how audiences react to humor, the timing of transitions, as well as the current needs and abilities of the performers at that site. One of our clown acts for example has been altered several times to perfect gags and timing. I won’t say anything else here, only that if you saw the show at it’s naissance and were considering going again, it is well worth it.


Ariana (front) and Troy (back) Wunderle in the ring.

The kids are spending their jump day catching a dress rehearsal for Cirque Us! in Brattleboro. Cirque Us! was founded by a few of Smirkus alumni so it was a real treat for the kids. If you want to learn more about Cirque Us! or purchase tickets for their tour, you can visit their website here.

I wanted to share with you one of the quirkier aspects of living in a close-knit, mobile community such as the one our staff live in. Close quarters mean that ideas travel fast here. One such idea was to grow plants on the road.

lee ann plants

Our lighting technician, Lee Ann’s, plants.

By my count, seven of our staff are cultivating peppers, strawberries, succulents, and more, in addition to their other duties here at Smirkus. It’s both beautiful and endearing to see staff bring pots out of their bunks after a jump day to allow them sun and any rain that may pass by. It’s also a reminder that for the seven weeks of tour, our lot is home for our staff.

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Nikki, one of our Assistant Head Concessionaires said, “Last year I think it was just Joy (our House Manager) and maybe Siobhan (our Wardrobe Manager) who had plants. But many more people are doing it this year. I did it last year because it made me happy, having the plants with me.”


Nikki watering her plants.


Nate, our backlot manager, has taken it another step and has a thriving vegetable garden with tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, and more. I asked him where they live when we’re traveling, he said, “my bunk. I just make sure they’re secure.”

I haven’t attempted any sort of plant husbandry since I was 8 when my mom and I grew sunflowers in our backyard, but seeing the effect that it’s had on my temporary home, it’s certainly tempting.

Take care,



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