A Tightly Knit Group

Hi there, I’m Justin Durham. If you’re one of our many avid followers you may have seen me in a Cirque Us show, perhaps know me by name, and you may even know that I can pinch people with my toes! But if we haven’t met yet, I should tell you a bit about myself before we truly get started.

I grew up in Chicago and began playing around with circus at the ripe age of three at the Actors Gymnasium in Evanston. I started taking circus more seriously around the age of 16 and soon found myself at the National Centre for Circus Arts in London where I graduated in 2017 specializing in Handbalancing. From there my career grew steadily as I jumped from contracts as close to home as Midnight Circus in Chicago to as far fetched as Circus Aotearoa in New Zealand and cruise ships circling the islands East of Africa. In 2018 I had my first contract with Cirque Us performing in the Starstruck tour. Through this artistic creation process of piecing together group and solo acts, building on characters, and rehearsing club juggling 79 times a day, I discovered that not only did I love creating circus shows, but I was really quite good at it.

Last year I was really excited to be a part of the cast for Ragtag, and repeat all the fun we had back in 2018 touring the show, performing in all of these great venues, and occasionally even going kayaking at night under the moon. We were all quite devastated to hear that the tour had to be cancelled. It took a lot from all of us to keep the cast’s morale up and stay the final couple weeks in order to get the show together and on video. We spent many nights rehearsing the acts, teching the show, and always asking more from ourselves. Performing for an auditorium consisting of a teddy bear (Tedward) and a rubber chicken (Laurence Pickles, jr) was very awkward and difficult to say the least; however we were so incredibly grateful to have such a supportive audience via Zoom. They all left such great comments on the chat that we read after the show, and most all of them had generously donated to the company; my dad even bought a shirt! This year we hadn’t even planned to have an actual tour, and suddenly we received invitations to 3 different festivals seemingly at once, and it all just sort of fell into place. I haven’t been this excited about a production in so long, and I can’t wait to get this show on the road. The cast this year is so boss, such an incredible mix of talent and personalities complimenting and contrasting eachother in all the best ways. Many of us have never worked with eachother before, and we have already found ways of pulling creativity from one another; tossing around ideas, piecing material together, and discovering the foundations of acts. Devising a show with such a tightly knit group has never felt so good.

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