Down to clown?

Sofia Rooney talks to Trinity Juggling and Circus Society about the fascinating world of the circus

When you think about Trinity College, the word circus might not immediately come to mind. In fact, the world of the circus may be unfamiliar to most. My knowledge of the circus goes as far as seeing the big red tent that is set up in my town each summer and my occasional juggling attempt as a party trick. The circus seems a little unusual and a little mysterious. The Juggling and Circus Society embraces that idea. With them, you can be anything you want to be; you can try out new skills in a supportive environment and make some friends along the way. 

Tucked away in Goldsmith Hall, the wonders of the world of circus come to life each week

A judgement-free zone to try out some cool skills, be it juggling, acrobatics, stilts and more. Whether you are interested in becoming the next leading acrobat in Dublin’s circus scene or you just want to perfect your juggling capabilities, this society is here for you. I had the wonderful opportunity to talk to Juggling and Circus Society to hear about what they do.

Sofia: What is Trinity Juggling and Circus Society? What sort of activities and events do you get up to?

Juggling and Circus Soc: We are the best society on campus to start. Juggling and Circus Soc is really everything you’d expect. We introduce people to new circus-related skills and provide them with the space and equipment to do so. Our main activity is weekly training, but we do meet on the weekends sometimes for extra practices if we have a performance coming up. We also attend circus conventions! Just think of it like any other society, but add clowns (jk, unless you want to get into clowning, then we can connect you with a few people).

Sofia: Are there any events planned in the coming months that we can look forward to? 

Juggling and Circus Soc: Yes! We are planning (still in the early stages) a fire show for the last week of March!

We will also be attending the Dublin Circus Festival in April, which would be a great way for beginners to come and check out all things circus-related. 

Sofia: What happens at a Training Session? Walk us through what a session would look like.

Juggling and Circus Soc: This is kind of hard to answer because it really depends on what you want to do! If you come to training looking to practise for 3 hours, you absolutely can. Or if you come at 8:30 and just want to stretch for a few minutes, you can do that too. It really is up to the individual.

Sofia: Do we need to prepare anything beforehand to attend the session? What sort of skill level is required?

Juggling and Circus Soc:  Absolutely nothing! The best thing about training is how open they are. We have all of our equipment up for use (a member of the committee will happily walk you through what they are once you come in), and then you simply try what you like! There are people of all different skill levels openly training, and if you see someone doing something you’d like to learn, they’re normally more than happy to teach you.

Sofia: In the past, you have held fire performances in the front square. What was the training and preparation that went into that? 

Juggling and Circus Soc:  A little bit stressful but a lot of fun! Prepping was just ensuring the safety of our performers.  Fire flow is pretty safe once you know what you’re doing. We had to do a lot of safety planning with the college. Once that was settled, training happened off campus, and then we brought it to Front Square for the big night! 

Sofia: What is the Circus and Juggling scene like in Ireland? Does your society interact with other performers in Ireland? 

Juggling and Circus Soc:  Ireland has such a fabulous circus scene!!!! We interact with DCU and UCD circus societies along with the people from the Dublin Circus Project (DCP) and Dublin Fire Community. 

Sofia: What do you personally love most about the society? What have been some of the best and most fulfilling moments with the society?  

Juggling and Circus Soc: Honestly, it’s just the freedom to be a little weird. We’re the circus. We don’t judge.

 If you want to come wearing a three piece tux and see how many bow ties you can juggle, you’re going to be met with support. Some of the most fulfilling moments have been watching people work for weeks to try and get a new trick, and then the moment they master it for the first time the entire room bursts into applause!

Sofia: What are some of the Circus and Juggling acts that you can learn with the society? What is your favourite act to perform?   

Juggling and Circus Soc:  There are genuinely so many, and from what we have found, if you pick up one skill, you’ll probably want to try another before long.  Such skills include but are not limited to: juggling, hula-hooping, acrobatics, diablo, ball walking, and stilts! Juggling is definitely a fan favourite for sure. 

Sofia: For anyone that is new to the society, what is the best way to get involved?

Juggling and Circus Soc:  Just come to a training session! We are very open, and we promise not to bombard you with information! When you first come in, someone from the committee will greet you and show you the tools you can try out, and then from there, we let you pick your own pace. If you want to join someone and learn from them, you can, or if you just want to practise on your own, no one will get in your way. You’re also welcome just to watch if you’re not feeling up to trying something new. 

Sofia: What do you wish people knew most about Trinity Juggling and Circus Soc? 

Juggling and Circus Soc:  You can join with absolutely no experience, and we are a very accessible society. There is a trick for almost all mobility levels to be learned, or if talking is your thing, you’d probably make a great ringmaster. We can always use behind-the-scenes people too! So if you just like watching the circus acts, there are still a million different ways to get involved.

Training takes place in Goldsmith Hall, and you can find details of their weekly training dates and times on their Instagram @tcdcircus.