Circomedia Teachers

Here at Circomedia our teachers have a wide range of circus and performance experience, bringing a plethora of expertise to our ever-growing academy. 

Jono Ayres

Classes Manager

HE Aerial Teacher

HE Module Coordinator

FE Aerial Teacher

Designated Safeguarding Officer

Originally trained in Physical Theatre and receiving a BA (Hons) Degree from the University of Leeds, Jono has since been training and teaching circus for over a decade. Starting out working in the United States after completing his Masters Degree, he travelled and trained across the US, Canada, and Australia before settling back in UK. He teaches aerial, specialising in dynamic, solo, and doubles trapeze. Jono works for Circomedia as Classes Manager, overseeing one of the largest Youth Circus organisations in the UK, and also as an aerial teacher for both the Further Education and Higher Education Courses.

Jono Ayres

 

Rachel (Rae) Baird

Core Skills, Tumbling and Handstands Instructor

Rachel is a tumbling and acrobatics specialist coming from a background of gymnastics, trampolining, dance, partner acrobatics and cheerleading, completing the FDA at Circomedia in 2013 focusing on acrobatics. She later completed the Masters at Circomedia focusing on analysing physical movement and using movement as the instigator for storylines within more theatrical productions using circus.

Rachel has taught acrobatics at EJC, BJC, Circus Dayz in Athens, PLaY Festival, Organised Kaos Youth Circus LTD, Splats Circus, Circomedia Youth Circus/Adult Classes/BA Programme, Five Ring Circus, Lost in Translation Circus, Salto’s Gymnastics Centre, Kingswood Gymnastics Centre, LJMU Sports Centre, and Abingdon Gymnastics Club.

Rachel has performed acrobatics at the Wales Millennium Centre, The National Museum Wales, BBC iPlayer, and on various festival stages including Glastonbury Big Top and Greenfields stages, Boomtown, Play, Bestival and Shambala.

In 2013 Rachel set up her own tumbling classes for adults in Bristol which is now running four weekly classes throughout the year, under the new title ‘Adult Acrobatics at Home’. These specialise in helping people access the techniques required to master skills like flicks and somersaults in a safe space, and also learn ways to deal with the fear that comes along with jumping backwards onto your hands. Her main focus now is on helping students to overcome their fears using manageable small steps, allowing them to achieve goals they have been struggling with over time, gaining trust in themselves and their abilities

Charles Brockbank

Manipulation Instructor

Charles is a circus theatre practitioner who strives to incorporate clown and comedy into the work he creates. He has spent the last 15 years working on his technical discipline in the traditional juggling props (balls, rings and clubs) as well as exploring everyday objects. After gaining a first class performance B.A. from renowned circus school Circomedia in Bristol, he is now a lecturer on the course, and uses his teaching to influence his research-based practice. He enjoys using juggling as a medium to communicate bigger ideas and has been able to do this in collaboration with companies such as Broken Box Collective and Stumble Dance Circus. His work has taken him to international arts festivals including Auch Circus Festival and Edinburgh Fringe and he has worked with a number of established companies, including Desperate Men, The Royal Shakespeare Company, Cirque Bijou and Gandini Juggling.

Alan Conlon

Youth Circus Coordinator

BTEC Acro Tutor

Alan developed an interest in Circus and Performing while living and working in his hometown of Sligo, Ireland. After spending several years training, teaching and performing in the evenings and at weekends with friends at events and festivals across Ireland, he decided to devote himself full time to performing. He auditioned for Circomedia and took part in their first FdA course, specialising in Physical Theatre and Acrobatics.

Since graduating Alan has worked as an acrobat, juggler, aerialist and rigger for companies such as Above & Beyond, Red Hands Flying Trapeze, Daft Antics, Cirque Bijou and Joy Magnet, and has toured with Bash Street Theatre for three years with shows across mainland Europe. He has also acted with the Wardrobe Theatre Company and Thrice Three Muses in Bristol. Alan has worked as a tutor for Circomedia’s Youth Circus program for many years and became Youth Circus Coordinator in 2019.

Robin Dale

HE Juggling Teacher

Robin studied at Circomedia between 2013-16, specialising in physical comedy and object manipulation. Since graduating he has toured extensively with his solo theatre show What Does Stuff Do?, including with the Best of BE Festival tour in 2017 and 2018. He is one third of the infamous bar flair trio Shakedown, and a founding member of juggling theatre company Broken Box Collective. Robin also performs cabaret and variety acts, and is a guest juggler for companies including Living Room Circus and Gandini Juggling.

Robin Dale

George Fuller

HE Physical Theatre Teacher

George Fuller is an American (Chicago) performer and teacher based in the UK. He specialises in street theatre, mime, clowning, improvisation, contemporary circus, dance and cabaret. His circus experience includes touring with NoFit State Circus, Midnight Circus, Crashmat Collective, and Herbie Treeheads Dinosaur Circus. He is currently touring The Rest of Our Lives which is a contemporary dance performance with Jo Fong. This piece was commissioned by the RTN and supported by The Place. George, under the pseudonym George Orange, continuously tours his solo outdoor show ‘Man On The Moon’. For 11 years he has acted as artistic director of Mary Bijou Cabaret and Social Club which presents queer and feminist contemporary cabaret. George’s current show ‘The Rest of Our Lives’ was ranked as the 6th best 2022 dance show by The Guardian.

George Fuller

Current show: The Rest of Our Lives

Rachel Kirby

BTEC Aerial Tutor

Youth Circus and Adult Classes Tutor  

Rachel started her circus career with the classic running away to join the circus. After studying Human Rights and Social Theory in London, Rachel ran off to Cornwall where she was taken in by a circus. They trained her up and she worked for them as an aerialist for some years. She went on tour with them as well as working for other companies and agencies around the UK and France, performing in a range of contemporary circus shows to corporate events. Rachel decided to take her training and studies further at Circomedia on the degree course where she studied Aerial, Acrobatics, and Hat Manipulation. Currently Rachel combines her teaching with performing. 

Rod Laver

Head of Undergraduate Studies

HE Lead Manipulation Teacher

Head of Vocational Courses

A World Record breaking Gentleman and Ping Pong juggler. For nearly 30 years Rod has been a unique and sought-after speciality artist performing all over the world in Cabaret, Variety and on TV including twice receiving standing ovations on legendary French TV show “Le Plus Grand Cabaret Du Monde”. He has won medals at World Juggling Championships in the USA, at the Paris Variety festival and a Herald Angel award at the Edinburgh Festival. He represented the UK at the inaugural “Kamiwaza” TV variety show in Japan and has set a world record on Chinese TV. He recently appeared at the iconic Berlin Wintergarten Theatre and was also one of the few British Jugglers to appear in the Karl-Heinz Ziethen book “The Virtuosos of Juggling.” He had a long stint as resident Juggler at the Hippodrome on Saturday nights in London’s West End and is Joint Artistic Director of the Decadent Rabbit cabaret. Alongside his performing career Rod is very proud to have been Head Juggling teacher at Circomedia since the early 90s. Until recently he held a similar position at the National Centre for Circus Arts in London before deciding to expand and concentrate on his Circomedia career by taking on the role of Deputy to the Head of Undergraduate Studies.

Rod Laver

Emily Orme

Head of Movement

Emily is a Movement Director and teacher for stage and screen. She comes from a dance background, training at Northern School of Contemporary Dance. Whilst pursuing a performance career in dance Emily came across physical theatre and found an interest in the value movement holds to support text and narrative. She went on to complete a Masters in Movement Directing and Teaching at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Emily enjoys using movement to unite people and celebrate the individuality in physical expression. She is actively committed to creating an inclusive, accessible, and playful process that builds a truly collaborative ensemble.

Movement directing credits include film Magic Mike’s Last Dance, short film We Came Here to Dance premiered on Nowness, Bastille music video Shut Off The Lights. New writing theatre production Mother’s Day with Old Diorama Arts Centre, new musical for young audiences Errol’s Garden with Golden Toad Theatre, R&D for National Theatre Scotland’s development of Thrown and delivering community creative movement projects to Good Chance Theatre. She is thrilled to be working with students and at Circomedia and exploring the value of movement within contemporary circus.

Emily Orme

Heather Parkin

HE Context 1 Module Co-ordinator

Tutor

Heather works with Rhiannon Lloyd to provide administration across the Circomedia courses and is Module Co-ordinator of Context 1 for the FdA. Heather gained a First-Class BA in English & European Literature and an MA in Shakespeare: Text, Influence & Creativity before studying at Circomedia from 1999-2001. Heather’s performance career has included corporate work, devised touring theatre, voice recording, traditional/contemporary circus, devised circus theatre and cabaret.  

Heather acquired a brain injury in a car crash in 2006. She recently performed in Epic Minds (2022) directed by Nikki Kenward, a show which explored her lengthy recovery process. Previous teaching for Circomedia includes leading community circus workshops, adult aerial classes, voice and corde lisse to FdA students, history of circus and acting head of aerial on the BTEC course.   

Nikki Kenward website

Owen Reynolds

FE Lead Juggling Teacher

Born in Dublin, Owen started his performing career in his teens with Bui Bolg working at the major festivals across Ireland. Keen to pursue his new found career, he went to study at Circomedia, Bristol, where he specialised in Juggling and Doubles Trapeze, and later obtained a Teaching Certificate in circus skills. After Graduating in 2001, Owen worked as Head of Juggling on the degree program at the National Centre for Circus Arts (The Circus Space), London, and continues to teach there as a guest teacher on the degree programme.Over the past 15 years, Owen has performed and contributed to many of Gandini Juggling’s productions and he continues to tour with them in Smashed and 4×4:Ephemeral Architectures. In 2018 he was Educational Officer for Gandini working with 60 young jugglers across the UK and culminating in a large site-specific performance in the iconic fountains at London’s Somerset House. More recently, he co-created a piece of children’s circus with juggler, Arron Sparks, which focused on themes of determination and life choices. In 2020, Owen was awarded a grant from the Arts Council England to pursue his love for teaching and working as an educator in circus – prompting his new venture “Circus Academy” to be created.

Owen Reynolds

Ellissa Rose

FE Acrobatics Teacher

FE Business and Theory Teacher

FE Theatre and Devising Teacher

Youth Circus Coach

Circomedia Marketing Team

Ellissa graduated from Circomedia’s BA in 2019, a multi-disciplinarian specialising in acrobatics. Ellissa teaches acrobatics and marketing/media on our further education course, alongside teaching on Circomedia’s Youth Circus and adult classes.

Since 2014, Ellissa has worked extensively with a multitude of companies: Cirque Bijou, Above and Beyond, Baseline Circus, DreamTech entertainment and more, performing acrobatics, flying trapeze and manipulation.

Recent projects include the production team of Jon Udry’s Variety Bungalow and performing in the Doorstep Circus Project by Maddie McGowan. Currently Ellissa is touring the show ‘Electric City’ with Dream Tech entertainment.

Electric City

Doorstop Circus Project

Jon Udry’s Variety Bungalow

Lisa Whitmore

HE Head of Acrobatics
HE Module Coordinator

Lisa is a professional acrobat and aerialist as well as the Head Teacher for acrobatics at Circomedia.

Her training started as a base in partner acrobatics in sports acro from the age of 11. Not wanting to give gymnastics up, Lisa discovered Circomedia after university where she started her training and journey in circus. Performances range from corporate gigs, festivals, TV work to ensemble acrobatic and aerial touring shows in the UK and abroad.

Alongside this Lisa started teaching at Circomedia and developed the syllabus for the acrobatics specialisation which includes partner acro, handstands and tumbling. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and helping others to have the opportunity to enjoy acrobatics as much as herself.

Qualifications include a Post Graduate Certificate in Professional Learning in Higher Education, and BSc (Hons) in Sports and Exercise Science.

Lisa Whitmore