Circus Performer
Nofitstate Circus

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Kevin Mcintosh

0:00:02 Hello. I’m Kevin. I’m a circus performer. I specialize in aerial, fire and stilt walking and I live here in Cardiff. I tend to do stilts, walking around meeting people and saying hello. What I most enjoy about my job is the fact I’m being paid to play. So, I’m being paid to walk on stilts. I run around with a group of kids. I never understood that I would be getting paid for this. I just started to do it as fun, as an escapism from…

00:00:34 Come into Cardiff to do my BA in Fine Art and you’re getting very stressed because you’re about to graduate and you need something else to distract you so you don’t academically explode. I started circus five years ago touring with Nofitstate Circus. They said, would you like to audition for a trainee-ship. I auditioned, I got in and I was among about 10 people and I was one of two people who hadn’t been to circus training. And now, I’m one of the key rope performers within the company.

00:01:08 I didn’t quite enjoy school and I don’t think I had a game plan about what I was going to do. I did have a lot of interest in the arts and in science which is quite two different side of the spectrum. I was born and bred in Jamaica, came to live with my mom here in the UK and I never really thought even then that being in the arts, a creative aspect of the world could be a financial way of supporting myself.

00:01:37 As a kid growing up I already knew what job I wanted to be. This is age seven. What job I wanted to be, that I wanted to be married, how many kids I wanted to have. But that was brought about by the fact of growing up I wasn’t allowed to be, to join Cub Scouts because I was asthmatic, severely asthmatic. I’d be rushed to the hospital every month, usually going to bed late because I was always worried that I would have breathing problems during the night. That kind of illness makes you go, I need to decide now because I don’t know how long I’ve got. And so, I decided quite quickly growing up.

00:02:20 As for where I think this is leading me and if I’ve got a plan, until last year I didn’t quite have a plan. Now, I kinda do, and what I want to be doing is teaching a lot more. I do now, but a lot more at the end, later on in my age I will be teaching and hopefully choreographing and helping people to put together a show or a piece of work that they can present. I’m having a baby, so that just makes me work out what I need to do, what I need not to do. I thought next year I’m not gonna tour, I’m gonna have the baby and see how it goes and decide about maybe half of the tour next year.

00:03:05 But my partner came to visit me loads of times and also we have an influx about three or four babies, two toddlers within our circus group. And my girlfriend, I think she realized that that environment of that tight knit family really helps. So, she went, actually let’s go on tour. So, next year it will be me, mother and child on tour. This is a job that you really do receive quite a lot because people learn something and they go, oh my gosh, I just did it. You just see it in their face and you go, oh, wow. And they’re not even hiding it because they just did something that, as far as they’re concerned they couldn’t do it.

00:03:48 That’s what I would probably say to my child, to my children. Get something you enjoy, you get satisfaction from. It’s food for you because if you’re not happy it, it pulls you down and before you know it if you’re not happy in your job, if you’re not happy with your family, you’re not happy with your friends and it’s a knock-on effect.


Kevin M is a Circus Performer with Nofitstate Circus, specialising in aerial, fire and stilt walking. He came to the UK from Jamaica. He hadn’t realised that you could have a financially viable career using arts or creative skills. “I never understood that I would be getting paid for this. I just started to do it as fun, as escapism.”

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The UK average salary is £29,813

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There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

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47%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

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? Actors, entertainers and presenters sing, portray roles in dramatic productions, perform comedy routines, gymnastic feats and tricks of illusion, train animals to perform and perform with them, and introduce and present radio and television programmes.
Entry does not depend on academic qualifications although some drama schools require candidates to have GCSEs/S grades or A levels/H grades or a degree. Entry can be based upon an audition. Membership of the appropriate trade union is usually required. NVQs/SVQs in performing arts are available.
  • Studies script, play or book and prepares and rehearses interpretation;
  • Assumes character created by a playwright or author and communicates this to an audience;
  • Performs singing, comedy, acrobatic, illusion and conjuring routines;
  • Trains animals to perform entertaining routines and may perform with them;
  • Introduces and presents radio and television programmes, reads news bulletins and makes announcements;
  • Conducts interviews and prepares reports for news broadcasts, current affairs programmes and documentaries;
  • Plays pre-recorded music at nightclubs, discotheques, and private functions.
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