I hope you are enjoying the school holidays. I know that a lot of your children have been having an amazingly fun time at our Summer Camp at Guildford Spectrum. I have just been looking at some of the photos and video footage of our very first day of Summer Camp which had a ‘circus’ theme. This involved costumes, themed music and some exciting games and activities using circus skills. Watching the children reminded me of my younger days.
I actually trained at a circus school called ‘Circus Space’ for 2 years which has now gained the status of being renamed as ‘The National Centre for Circus Arts’ in London. It is highly competitive to get a place there and it is an accredited school which teaches you all the circus skills including trapeze, tight rope walking, juggling, clowning, unicycling, stilt walking as well as dance and drama. I studied there from the age of 17 and although I learnt a lot and became an expert in the flying trapeze I don’t think I ever felt like running away and joining the circus permanently! It was a stepping stone, helping to get me from being a gymnast and child actor to an accomplished stunt man.
Before I won my place at ‘Circus Space’ I was already a multi-skilled gymnast having been training for 20-25 hours a week during my school years and competing nationally from the age of 8 to 18 years. My gymnastics ability got me through the audition process and nailed me a place on the coveted course.
During my time at ‘Circus Space’ I had the opportunity to audition for theatrical productions. I was cast in ‘Barnum’ (The Circus Musical) starring Peter Duncan as the lead character ‘P.T.Barnum’ (You may have seen him recently take part in the BBC 1 gymnastics reality show ‘Tumble’ in which he did very well) and I appeared in many pantomimes up and down the country as part of a group of acrobats called ‘The Acromaniacs.’ We had a great act which centred around vaulting, somersaults, tumbling, balancing and slapstick. I have very fond memories of spending Christmases in the theatre with a close knit cast. It was at this time that I also got into high diving and used to practise at Crystal Palace. I then got cast in a James Bond stunt show at a theme park in Belgium called ‘Walibi.’ This was my very first stunt job whilst I was still at ‘Circus Space.’ It had a James Bond theme and I had to high dive into the water from the cliff tops. As it was a theme park we had to do 5 performances a day. Hard work! Just as well we were all young and had the stamina! I was now 19 years old and at a physical peak.
Speaking of being young, practising for endless hours and being at a peak of fitness, never underestimate your coaching team. They have all trained for countless hours in the gymnastics club, most from the age of just 3 years old and all deserve and have earnt their positions of Club Coach and Club Leader 100%. Putting a coach in a position of Club Leader is not something I take lightly and we have been doing our article ‘Interview with the Expert’ to give you a little insight into what our Leaders have done before, their background and experience. I hope you have enjoyed reading it. For example, Amy Matthews may only be 19 years old but she competed regionally and internationally as part of the World Class Start Programme both here in the UK and in Romania! All of our coaches have also had to pass our rigorous training examinations as part of the UK Flair Coach Programme.
Thank you for giving all our coaches and club leaders the respect and support that they have earned.
Founder & CEO at Flair Gymnastics