Iona studied both the BTEC and FDA with us. We caught up with her to find out about her life at Circomedia.

How did you get involved in circus?

I discovered circus when I was 11 – the Albert and Friends youth circus in London. It began as a social event, and the circus was very much a charity designed to give young people creative opportunities. However, as I progressed I started going to more and more events and meeting more and more people who were turning circus and performance into a career. Through this networking, I started to see circus as something I could really pursue in education and professionally. Other people in my youth circus were doing the same: two went to train in Montreal and one in Finland. And then I came here, to Circomedia.

How did the BTEC help set you up for the Foundation Degree? 

I started the BTEC when I was 19 – I was a bit worried I’d feel older than everyone but I really didn’t, it was fine! I feel like doing the BTEC really gave me an advantage because it made me familiar with how the school works. Then there was the sense of community with my fellow students. Most people in my year wanted to go on to the FDA so we really supported one another and pushed one another to pursue our training.
Further, the BTEC helped me to integrate circus skills with physical theatre practice. So again, that really set me up for the FDA.

What’s it like studying circus and physical theatre?

There’s an amazing community in the circus world. It’s so collaborative, partly because we all bring our own skills and disciplines together. So you might be really great at acro but not so great at juggling, you might be really theatrical but not so technical: there’s a space for everyone and everyone can play their part in creating and devising a performance. It’s not elitist – it’s all about collaboration. We’re in a niche world, but it’s a lovely one!

What attracted you to hoop?

At Youth Circus I did a lot of walking globe with a partner, and then when I started at Circomedia I discovered a passion for acro with a partner. However, I wanted to pursue a skill that was more self-reliant, where you can just depend on yourself. And that’s when I decided to specialise in hoop. I try to be subversive and challenging with my hoop acts and Circomedia really supports me with that. I like to go against the grain and subvert performance norms. There’s so much potential for subversion within burlesque and clowning and grotesque which makes it so interesting.

Why would you recommend training at Circomedia?

If you’re looking for a space where you can really experiment, push your boundaries and take circus in any new direction, then Circomedia really supports you in that. It’s a place that inspires you and challenges you to create diverse work.

Fancy following in Iona's footsteps? Apply now for our BTEC or FDA, or email [email protected] to find out more.