< Back

Tula Alred

Tula Alred

Tula Alred


Favourite discipline:
Aerial silks.

Time/years active at Greentop:
I was 12 years old when I started at Greentop, 5 years ago.

Where I am/what I am doing now:
I’m in my first year of a BTEC course in Circus and Physical Theatre at Circomedia in Bristol.  I started in September 2020.  It’s a full-time, two-year course.  I’m considering specialising in aerial disciplines and manipulation, particularly hula hoop.

Favourite joke:
What do you call a flying skunk?  A smellycopter!

Quote summarising the impact Greentop has had on your life:
Greentop has made me consider circus as a viable career choice.  It’s given me focus, and taught me the self-discipline I need to progress.  The Centre always provides a calm space, an escape.

Your circus story:
I started attending the Youth Circus sessions because a friend of mine was going.  Angela Kuster was my first tutor, though I’ve been lucky to have many different teachers over the years.  The Greentop staff have always pushed me to achieve, to audition, and apply for performance opportunities etc.  Without them I might not have performed at Peace in the Park Festival, or been awarded a place on the CAT scheme.  Greentop always provides as many openings as possible for all students and professionals.

Around three years ago I auditioned for Troupe, and it has been amazing – I love performing, and our shows are often really spontaneous; you never quite know exactly how a show is going to turn out!  The sense of achievement is really satisfying.  My one regret is that I can’t always take account of the audience reactions until I come down from the rig – the adrenaline is flowing, and I’m so focused on my routine.  I always feel that the performance goes by too fast!  It’s really rewarding when the crowd appreciates your efforts to entertain them – most people will never have seen circus this up close and personal!

My biggest challenge so far has been learning swinging trapeze – at first I only did a couple of weekend workshops, and I found it terrifying!  There is one particular move, where you have the harness crossed behind you, you jump off the swinging trapeze and turn around to catch the bar with your hands, hanging below the bar… I was so proud when I first got that move!  I conquered my fears, and really enjoyed it.  The same with the ‘butterfly drop’ on silks – as soon as a got up the courage to let go, I loved the feeling.  It’s like flying, like being weightless for a second.  I get a real buzz from it.

I’ve done some volunteer teaching alongside the regular tutors at Greentop, and it was great fun.  I taught youth aerial sessions with kids aged 7-11, on Thursday evenings, and one class on Saturdays.  I learnt a lot about spotting and teaching technique.  I think both performing and teaching are strong, viable career paths – at this stage, I don’t want to limit myself.  When I finish my training, I could see myself working with an established troupe and taking annual contracts, perhaps on a cruise ship or something like that.  I would choose that over being 100% freelance, as it would generate a stable income for me, and enable me to organise my life around my work commitments.  Teaching is also a plannable, stable job, so I will perhaps undertake some teaching work in the future too.