Favourite discipline was rope (corde lisse)
Time/years active at Greentop:
In 1998 – I was a student on the Circus In Performance Course
Where I am/what I am doing now:
I am an artist – currently applying (to the Arts Council) to tour an exhibition of portraits (photos) and interviews of women going through menopause to 9 venues around the UK. I am also a yoga teacher, currently teaching vinyasa flow, yoga nidra and yin yoga online to teenagers and adults.
How do you kill circus? Go for the jugular!
Quote summarising the impact Greentop has had on your life:
I trained to perform circus at Greentop which became my career for 16 years, I then went on to direct circus and theatre after doing an MA at Central St Martins College of Art and Design in London in Performance Design and Practice. I had already discovered aerial before I arrived at the course in Sheffield, I applied with a good friend called Simon Phillips, we recently got back in touch (he was in Leeds and I London) and got together and we have been together 4 years, he moved down from Yorkshire. We got engaged last year, I asked him to marry me on the leap year! Then lockdown happened. We are moving to Ramsgate together soon. Finding circus was good for me as I had always been creative and into sports and circus combined those two loves. I have also enjoyed being more backstage and still being involved in the industry.
Your circus story:
My brother lives in Sheffield so I have a longstanding relationship with the city. Being at Greentop was tinged with sadness as my younger brother was killed suddenly in a car crash just before the course started. I cried a lot in the toilets, but it was useful to be able to live at my older brother’s flat and we supported each other through it. He used to do pretend mime in the kitchen – like pulling an imaginary suitcase or miming being on the tube and it made us laugh a lot. Circus probably helped me deal with my loss as I am a very physical person, and I threw myself into training. I met Lyn Routledge at Greentop and we formed our company – Aerial Roots, we went to Japan and Greece to perform, as well as more local places like Bolton. I remember counting the cash we had earned, at Lyn’s parents’ house in Wakefield, on the kitchen floor in the middle of the night after the gig – we couldn’t believe we could earn so much money doing what we loved.
My proudest moments in circus have been moving to Berlin for a year to work at The Freidrichstadtpalast in 2004-05 – the women I performed with are still some of my best friends. I was also really proud to be selected as Director in Residence at Circus Space ten years ago where I was supported to grow as a circus theatre director, with amazing mentors, space to try things out and funding. This led me to form my company, Osborne & What, in 2012, direct a show called Birdy (based on the book by William Wharton) and take it on a UK tour. Coming to Sheffield with the show was brilliant – the cast performed it at the Victoria Works venue and it was sold out; we had a fantastic Q&A afterwards and it was really great to bring my work to Sheffield. Also performing in The Olympic Opening Ceremony in London in 2012 (pictured) as a Mary Poppins with 32 other women.
My funny story about circus is towards the end of my career as an aerialist I was rehearsing for a job with Scarabeus aerial theatre company at The Hangar in London. We had to do lots of spinning in the rehearsal and I must say I wasn’t training as regularly then ( I retired from performing aerial at age 40 to focus on directing), I projectile vomited from the top of my silk at ten metres! Aspirations are I’m writing a novel which I want to turn into either a circus/theatre show or a podcast – a new way of working due to covid. I love stories, and telling them using theatre and circus heralds more possibilities as it enables you to use the whole space – it changes your perspective. Circus is very emotive – so can show things – like feelings and emotions – that cannot be portrayed with words.