5 Oct 2017

A year in the life of a circus performer - Throwback Thursday

As it's Throwback Thursday, we have decided to revisit one of the most popular ever posts we have featured on this blog – Gina's fascinating account of a year in the life of a circus performer!

This was originally posted in November 2016.

Gina, along with her sister Jacqueline, will be performing in the Gandeys Circus Merry Hill Halloween Spooktacular this October half-term.

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My name is Gina Morales, I’m going to start with pointing out that this is my first blog, so I think I should give you some background before telling you about my year;

My parents met while touring on a three ring circus in Mexico - My mother, a dancer from the UK and father a Mexican flying trapeze artist. After marrying they moved to England where they continued touring with various shows and introduced their three children, Rosalia, Jaqueline and myself to the exciting world of Circus.

I started performing full time after completing my A levels and now Jacqueline and I perform a Rolling Globe act which we began training for in 2005 during school holidays and have now been able to tour with this skill across the UK.

When travelling full time the years blend into one. There is no exact start or finish to the cycle its constant moving, training, performing, build-ups, pull downs and before you know it you’re onto another year!

Now, this year has been a different story. Don’t get me wrong, every year is a mix of emotions; exciting, exhausting and extremely enjoyable but this year I have been able to work abroad for the first time and not just a two hour flight to France or Spain (although both of these are also on my list!). This year I took a whole 15 hour trip to Hong Kong to perform as part of The Royalles British Thrill Circus in the TungWah Charity Carnival for four months. What an incredible experience this was! Spending Christmas, New Year, Chinese New Year, Easter and so many other celebrations in a whole new environment with different traditions, customs, food etc,  all while performing up to four shows a day… it truly was an incredible experience!



Now some of you may be thinking; “does she ever see her family?” well I can assure you the answer is yes… my dad actually tours with us! After moving to the UK he swapped the trapeze for a red nose and large shoes and became the circus clown (that’s a whole other story). Although my mum is based at home in Essex and my youngest sister studying in London, they will definitely come to stay with us at any given opportunity –especially during our Hong Kong adventure.

I came back to the UK late March and would start the next tour in April so it was lovely to have a couple of rest weeks enjoying family time, catching up with school friends and preparing for the next adventure but saying this, Circus artists - in my experience, aren’t used to much time off, so after the first three or four days I was already itching to get back to work!

Well before too long it was time to pack the bags and head off onto the next tour. This time I stayed in the UK and toured for my second year with Circus Starr, a non-profit organisation that moves to a different town every two days. Now this is serious touring… this is arriving at a new town, building up the big top, training in the evening of day one then performing two shows and taking down the tent ready to move again by day two. Sound like a lot of work? Well, it is. The time working goes by ridiculously fast and with a company that feels like family it’s impossible not to love.




I realise I keep mentioning training without explaining what exactly it involves. It’s a bit of everything from general fitness workouts and improving current skills as well as learning new ones. For example, at the moment I am working on a low wire act so practising this takes up most of my morning and before I know it it’s time to get ready for the show!

So being a circus performer doesn’t just involve a bit of a parade, your 5 minute act then a quick goodbye finale. There is much more to it than many would believe. An excellent example of this would be my October half term job with Gandey's Circus at Merry Hill in Birmingham.

Of course rehearsals take place prior to any opening of a new show and this was no exception, what with dancers, incredible lighting and sound plus lots of performers it was a huge team and lots to arrange before opening. Some of you may know being part of a team means being a team player…what you may not know is for a circus performer it means being a storm trooper one minute you're dressed as some form of mascot the next then back to glitter and glam for your act, this is all while making sure you have enough popcorn and souvenirs ready for the intermission of a sold out show. It’s this type of manic chaos and rather unpredictable day to day challenge that I enjoy.



When touring with a Circus, working over Christmas is always an option. However, with my winter tour on Circus Starr having finished in mid-November and my next contract starting in January, this year I’ve decided to go on a family vacation because, as you may have gathered, it’s been a busy year. 

14 Sep 2017

Gina's Butlins Blogs: Until Next Time...


I can not believe how fast this summer has gone by...so fast that I couldn't even keep up with a weekly post! I'm sure everyone can understand that though :) and, although the weather may not have been the best, I'm sure I speak on behalf of all the team when I say its been a summer to remember!


A week ago Butlins said 'Goodbye to the Circus' at all three resorts and we said goodbye to some amazing artists who we are all now proud to call friends as they jet of to the airports to have some well deserved time at home or are on to their next adventure.


Performing to so many happy families on a daily basis has been bliss and having been able to meet such lovely people along the way has made our job so enjoyable... its been easy to forget that it is a job!

In Skegness we were treated to a farewell cake from our front of house team and they even joined us in the ring for a final bow on our last performance. I am sure the other two units had some tearful goodbyes to face too. Signs of a successful summer if you ask me! 



But not all of the artists have left us! Some of the acts from Bognor, Minehead and Skegness are now teaming together to continue the Gandey Circus 2017 Tour which commences in Smethwick - Lightwoods Park on the 14th of September! That's the beauty of this business...you are forever bumping into or working with previous colleagues so it never really is a true goodbye.


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The rest of Gina's Butlins blogs can be found here.

18 Aug 2017

Gina's Butlins blogs


Have you been following Gina Morales's Butlins blogs on our Gandey's Circus blog?

Gina - one half of the amazing Las Chicas Morales - has been keeping us updated on her time at Butlins Skegness, and giving us all an insight into the life of a circus performer.

It's a fascinating read! Here's what she's been up to so far!

Week One - From the Top!


Well we have officially been at Butlins Skegness for a week... and what a week its been!


Naturally after a holiday and some time off from work arriving at Butlins and jumping straight back into rehearsals, training, performing and putting on the extravagant show makeup was.. well.. what can I say… we were all slightly out of practice!

So, having settling into our lovely accommodation in Skegness, day one of meet and greet/jump into rehearsals followed suit. These are always exciting, we were introduced by Philip Gandey  (our Creative Director) to all the team – both those on and off stage and then we started getting the show together with our fabulous choreographer Daniel Todd...

...Click here to read the full blog entry


Week Two - Fun Day Monday!  




Well firstly it’s been over a week since my last Blog… and for that I blame my family… Ok I don’t blame them exactly, but naturally as Mum and Sis were visiting I spent a lot less time in my room on my laptop and far more time in Reds, the Cinema and Centre Stage!

Now for many of you, Mondays are a lot of things but fun isn’t one of them! It’s your first day back to work and feels as though the day itself lasts a week. Well for us, Monday is the weekend and we love to make the most of it!...

...Click here to read the full blog entry


Week Three - Practice Makes Perfect!


Well it’s been manic…



Now that everyone is into the swing of things we have all realised there is quite a bit of free time. Naturally in this free time we like to lay in, have tea and biscuits or venture into town for a coffee and browse around the shops…

But we also use it to practice.

This varies for everyone. Some of us go for a morning jog, others do weights or follow a cardio DVD, but you can guarantee that post-show most of the artists are in the circus ring working on new tricks to improve the act, perfecting anything that has been going slightly wrong or learning a whole new skill… by the end of the week we all deserve that cheat day!...



20 Jul 2017

5 fun facts about Aberdeen

We love Aberdeen! It's a fantastic city and has to be one of our favourite places to visit.

And it just so happens that we have not one, but TWO shows in Aberdeen at the moment! 

The Lady Boys of Bangkok are performing at Beach Links in the unmistakably-pink Sabai Pavilion until Saturday 29th July... and just down the road at Queens Links you'll find The Chinese State Circus - who will be playing in the Big Top until Sunday 30th July!

In fact, the two tents are so close to each other that you can see them both in the bottom-right corner of this Aberdeen evening landscape scene.


Here are 5 facts you may not have known about Aberdeen:

1) There are over 30 places named Aberdeen throughout the world (although the one in Scotland is surely the best)!

2) Aberdeen houses Britain's oldest business - the Aberdeen Harbour Board.

3) Aberdeenshire's Craigievar Castle partially inspired Disney's iconic Cinderella Castle, and you can see why!

© National Trust for Scotland

4) More medieval coin hoards have been found in Aberdeen than anywhere else in Britain.

5) In 1882 Aberdonian Astronomer Sir David Gill took the first successful photograph of a comet. The Moon's Gill Crater is also named after him.



What is your favourite thing about Aberdeen? let us know in the comments!