Circomedia - Staff and teachers - Photo by Paul Ripley


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Teaching staff

Physical Theatre, Performance Studies - Bim Mason

Bim has been a professional performer & director since 1978, having worked with pioneering circus-theatre groups Kaboodle and his own Mummer & Dada. He has also acted with the Bristol Old Vic Company and toured three solo physical comedy shows to events such as the London International Mime Festival. Of the many physical theatre shows he has directed, three have received Fringe First Awards at Edinburgh - with Talking Pictures (1989) and with Rejects Revenge (1995 & 1997). In 1999 he founded Dark Horse, which won the Herald Angel Award in 2000. He was one of the original teachers at Fool Time 1986-1993 and co-founder of Circomedia. Bim is one of Britain’s leading mask makers. His writing work includes the book Street Theatre (Routledge 1992), and the newly published Provocation in Popular Culture.


Equilibristics and Manipulation - Rod Laver

Rod has gained a reputation for being one of Europe’s most entertaining and innovative jugglers. Since the early 90’s he has been an important figure in the performance and teaching of juggling. He has appeared on TV and in circus, cabaret and variety throughout the world. Most recently breaking a Guinness world record in China. He was one of the few British jugglers to appear in the book “The Virtuosos of Juggling”, celebrating the world’s best jugglers. He has been a teacher at Circomedia since its beginning particularly specialising in club passing, Gentleman juggling and the performance of juggling. He splits his time with the National Centre of Circus Arts where he is also a juggling teacher as well as being overall Juggling Strand Manager.


Equilibristics and Manipulation - Sebastien Valade

Originally from France where he completed a Master of Science, Sebastien came to the UK to study juggling and physical theatre at Circomedia and never went back. His passion for innovative juggling and integrating different art forms together only kept growing ever since. He performs regularly all over the globe both as a solo artist or in collaboration with other companies such as Gandini Juggling. He is also the co-founder of Green Eyed Zero a physical performance company combining contemporary circus, theatre and digital media.





Aerial - Mike Wright

Mike trained firstly as a classical ballet dancer in Cape Town gaining a Diploma in Dance before joining and touring with Cape Performing Arts Board's Ballet Company. His aerial career started in the late sixties when he studied flying under trapeze supremo Keith Anderson, and went onto tour internationally with companies such as Circus Benneweis (Denmark), Circo Cesare Togni (Italy) and Billy Smarts (UK). As well as running and performing in his own company “Above and Beyond”, Mike is also a successful producer and choreographer, whose credits including producing bungee trapeze acts for the Brit Awards in 1995; producing flying acts for Euro 96 and Simply Red; producing acts for Barnum & Bailey Circus, Circus Kröne and Circus Knie; he also acts as a consultant for the London International Mime Festival. Most recently, Mike has performed in the UK tour of Once Upon at Time, directed by Agnieszka Błońska and choreographed by Dan Canham.


Aerial Rope - Jonathan Priest

Jonathan has a BA Hons from Slade School of Fine Art and then went on to work in the stand-up, cabaret and live art scene in London during the 1980s and 1990s, running his own club and performing in touring shows. In 1995 he co-devised “Tim Vine Fiasco” which went on to win the Perrier Newcomer Award at the Edinburgh Festival. After studying at Circomedia, Jonathan worked internationally as circus performer and teacher with Dark Horse, NoFitState Circus, Company FZ, Forkbeard Fantasy, Cirkus Cirkor, Marie-Louise Masraliez, Kompani Giraff, Kecca Rocca (Jeunes Talent Laureate) and his own company, Fan-atticks, based in Sweden. Since 2004 Fan-atticks have devised, produced and internationally toured four full-length shows. They continue to run a circus outreach project for homeless children in Senegal with the support of the Swedish Institute. Jonathan has been engaged as a teacher and artistic mentor for Cirkus Cirkor’s Piloterna and Gymnasiet programmes and the University of Dance and Circus in Stockholm since 2003. His students have gone on to win prizes at Les Pistes aux Espoires, Cirque du Demain and professional engagements with Cirque du Soleil. He continues to work there as guest aerial teacher and is currently engaged in one of their PhD programmes.


Aerial - Mish Weaver

Mish Weaver is a Circus Director, Choreographer and Designer, who runs Stumble (danceCircus) making live performance and film. Productions with Stumble include An Evening of Instability, Bipolar Ringmaster, Box of Frogs and recently The Second Breath – an on-going circus conversation about how Climate Change is affecting individuals psychologically.

Having originally trained in Fine Art Sculpture, Mish moved into Circus via Aerial and started a love affair with teaching around 1993. As a performer Mish specialised in Cloudswing and Doubles Trapeze, trained at Circus Space (now NCCA) as well as travelling to wherever she could find great teachers. Mish currently teaches part time at Circomedia on the Fda and BA courses in Circus, as well as continuing to make work and direct for other companies. She was once Head of Aerial at Circus Space, and has taught far and wide, most recently Nepal and Cambodia. Mish has an MA in Performance Studies (Choreography and Scenography).


Aerial - Janine Mahon

Janine Mahon is a multi-skilled aerialist who graduated from Circomedia in 2010 specialising in hoop and doubles swinging trapeze. She has since performed, trained and taught aerial skills internationally gaining a reputation for her strength, technique and motivational abilities. Janine has worked with many companies including Arcadia Spectacular, Above and beyond, Impact Artists, The Invisible Circus and is also a founding member of Boom! Circus Theatre. She works mostly with her aerial partner Helina Griffiths with their tipping hoop act, and they are currently the only tipping hoop duo in the UK. Janine has a strong passion for training and loves to push people out of their comfort zones in order to help them achieve their aerial goals.


Acrobatics - Lisa Whitmore

Lisa gained a BSc in Sports and Exercise Science with business from Gloucestershire University before studying at Circomedia. She specialised in acrobatics and aerial gaining an OCR Diploma in Circus Skills and Physical Theatre, as well as Circomedia’s Teacher Training Certificate alongside the City and Guilds 7407 level 4 Teaching Adults in Further Education certificate. She has performed professionally throughout the world, from Istanbul to Israel, Ireland to Myanmar and Germany to the Czech Republic. Ranging from TV appearances, adverts and corporate events to festivals, galas. theatre and traditional circus.


Acrobatics - Dannick Chollett

Dannick and his sister Marianne graduated from the NICA (National Institute of Circus Arts) in 2007 where we their trained in Duo Teeterboard under the tuition of Vasily Ivanov (ex Moscow State Circus performer). In 2010 both Marianne and Dannick took 14 young performers for a 6 week performing tour of England and Germany. Bristol was their last stop and although it was never part of the plan, they never left. Both now perform Teeterboard and acrobatics for the Invisible circus and in September of 2011 Dannick began teaching acrobatics on the BTEC and FDA course.


FdA Course Leader/Head of Movement - Lex Rooney

Lex trained at Swindon Dance and London Contemporary Dance School before going on to complete a BA(hons) in Dance at Bath Spa University and a Master’s Degree at Trinity Laban, specializing in European Dance Theatre Practice. Lex has taught in a variety of settings from Higher Education to youth and community projects including work with adults and young people with social, physical and learning difficulties. She has performed in Dance, Theatre and Film, in productions by Petite Mort, Protein Dance, Double Barrel Films, Strictly Visions, Catfight Productions, Cling Films, FallingWide, Kit & Kaboodle, The Invisible Circus, Sideways Arts and Swerve Dance Theatre Company. In 2010 she founded Crowded Mouth Productions, a short film, A Glutton for Love in collaboration with Jaime Bullock of Magic Torch Productions. Lex has provided choreography/movement direction for music videos by Bristol producers, C U T S /// and Typesun. She performs with The Bureau of Random Acts, and has also performed in Willi Dorner’s Bodies in Urban Spaces. Lex has recently joined the Mama Africa Project, working with Bristol primary schools, to develop and deliver a broader and richer curriculum of African history through dance, music, research, poetry and spoken word. In addition to her role at Circomedia, Lex is Acting Subject Leader and a Lecturer on the BA(hons) Dance at Bath Spa University, specializing in Choreography & Performance.


Conditioning & Pilates - Mark Parfitt

Mark has over nineteen years experience in the fitness industry, first training as a sports therapist and fitness instructor and then continuing onto advanced qualifications. In Feb. 2003 he Qualified with Body Control Pilates (a world leading education provider for the Pilates Method) and became deeply committed to the method. He has continued with his development, passing Pilates equipment and Master qualifications with honours. Mark has taught at many of the top health clubs including David Lloyd, Living Well, Esporta and Next Generation as well as running a Bristol Studio called Pilates Moves. Mark has for several years been a Supervising Teacher with Body Control Pilates helping with the education of future Pilates Teachers. Mark is Body Control Pilates Association council member for The South.



Devising, Integration & Professional Context - Rachel Pollard

Rachel is the Artistic Director of Green Eyed Zero, physical theatre, contemporary circus and digital media performance company, where she tours to critical acclaim to venues including The National Theatre, Dartington Arts and The Lowry, receiving recognition as “one of the most challenging and innovative young companies around” (Gareth Lloyd Roberts, Wales Millennium Centre). She trained at Circomedia, graduating in 2006 where she co-founded Green Eyed Zero. Before Circomedia she was a First Class graduate from the University of Exeter, specialising in creative psychophysical performance and new media arts. Rachel also works internationally as a performer and creates bespoke designs under Generated Misfits.


Street Theatre Performance - Matt Pang

Matt is a Circomedia graduate and Artistic Director of PanGottic, an award winning circus theatre company that tours nationally and internationally. Since 2009 PanGottic have appeared at street arts, comedy and theatre festivals in Holland, Latvia, France, Germany, Italy, Israel, Spain, Slovenia, South Korea, and across the UK. Matt also produces and compéres the regular variety Lansdown Cabaret, and recently performed in Beta Testing by Circus Geeks at London’s Udderbelly and on National tour.


Catherine Boot – Physical Theatre

Catherine trained in European Theatre Arts at Rose Bruford College, and subsequently worked as an actor for 9 years, before coming to Circomedia to learn about integrating circus and physical theatre as a director. Cat now teaches physical theatre, movement and reflective practice at Circomedia, and is Artistic Director of ‘Can’t Sit Still’, a physical and circus theatre company whose first show, ‘A Small Chance of Showers’, premiered in 2014. Movement direction and facilitation includes work for Hubbub Theatre, New Street Theatre and Travelling Light. She also works as a freelance Outdoor Arts producer for Devizes International Street Festival, PanGottic and Theatre Bristol.



BTEC Tutors

Head of BTEC/Teacher Training - Kate Webb

Kate trained at the Laban Centre and in aerial and physical theatre at Circomedia, before performing for companies such as Skinning The Cat, Roughhouse Theatre Company and Cirque Bijou. She established a reputation for using circus and performance in an educational context at Bristol and Weston Education Action Zones and ACTA Community Theatre Company prior to becoming a lecturer within performing arts at Weston College. In 2002 Kate became Artistic Director of Project Go, Circomedia's outreach programme, and then established Circomedia’s BTEC National Diploma in Performing Arts, working as Course Director from its inception until 2007. Kate returned to the BTEC and has been the BTEC Course Director since September 2009. Kate has a MA in Educational Research which culminated in a case study in teaching circus skills in a multi-ethnic urban setting and is a lead tutor on Circomedia’s Teacher Training Course. Kate is also a freelance director working with Cirque Bijou on Drawer of Dreams to celebrate the opening of the Colston Hall in 2009, she was lead artist for the West of England in the Battle of the Winds project to launch the sailing as part of the Olympics 2012, she continues to work with Cirque Bijou on smaller projects. Kate also works as a performance director for Tumbellina


Aerial & Acrobatics - Jacky Crosher

Jacky began her circus career in Fooltime in 1987. Since then she has trained in aerial at Circus Space, London and at Palacy's school, Paris. She has also trained in clown, acting and singing with a number of teachers including; Gerry Flanagan, Phillippe Gaulier, John Wright, Jo Sercombe, Victoria Klewin. She has a postgraduate diploma in Drama and Movement Therapy and a Class 4 Gymnastics Coaching Qualification. She has been teaching aerial and acrobatics since 1992.

Jacky is also a performer; specializing in character and aerial. She is co-founder of Hinged Theatrical Productions; a physical theatre company who combine dynamic storytelling with circus, live music and comedy for all ages. She previously toured extensively through Europe and beyond with many companies including No Fit State Circus, Skinning the Cat Aerial Theatre Co. and Inner Room Theatre Company. Jacky also sings with a gypsy/ jazz/blues band called BlueHaHa.


Aerial & Conditioning - Piers Shearman

Piers trained aerial at Circomedia before travelling to South America where he spent several years working in social circus in Colombia . He is interested in aerial conditioning and the fusion of straps and corde lisse in a theatrical context as well as cyr wheel and video projection. Alongside his work with the BTEC students he also teaches rope and trapeze as part of the evening program.






Handstands and Flexibility Coach - Gabby Parker

Gabby currently works as an international circus performer, teacher and sports therapist. She specialised in hand to hand under Ryzard Zaplata at the French National circus school in Paris (ENACR).Her professional highlights include: Semi Pro comedy winner at Pole Theatre UK 2014, Clients such as Ascot, UEFA, Premier League and VW and, Performance of 'En Chemin' at Theatre du Chatelet.


Visiting Teachers

Sean Gandini - Creative Manipulation Residency
Haggis McLeod - Equilibristics and Manipulation
John-Paul Zaccarini - Guest Director
Richard Headon - Site Specific
Gareth Bailey - Corde Lisse
Sam Veale - Ball Bouncing, Ballspinning, Devil-stick
Donald Grant - Diabolo
Gary Owston - Voice
Leo Bassi - Performance
Fraser Hooper - Clown