Posted by Rowan Thomas
My name is Rowan Thomas. I am a former Sandfly that ran away to circus school in Melbourne. I haven't been back home to Broome in over 2 years, and I’m very excited to be back!
Since leaving circus school in 2014, I have toured professionally all over the world with various companies like Briefs, 360 Allstars and Headfirst Acrobats. I’ve seen things I never thought I would see in so many places all over the world, and I owe it all to my humble beginnings at Sandflies! I started when I was 8 under the guidance of the beautiful Gwen Knox who I proudly call my circus mother. She is one of the most inspirational, strong, influential women I have ever met. None of us would be here without her!
Performance life is great but hard and sometimes quite lonely. On one hand, you get paid to see the world, and it’s really easy to save money, as most of the year you are being paid to travel and don’t have to pay for accommodation. But not having a base or a home is sometimes quite hard! You end up moving around the world with the same groups of people, and they are so beautiful. Some of my most treasured friendships are separated by oceans and huge distances, but I’m so happy they are out there. It would just be great to be able to see them all year round!
I’m pretty lucky to have an amazing girlfriend who is also a circus performer, and we manage to travel together most of the year, but for most circus people they aren't so lucky. Long-distance relationships are the norm, and people just have to do whatever works.
When I left for circus school (at NICA), I left because I wanted to better myself in teaching, because you can’t teach what you don't know. I ended up getting more performing work than I ever thought I would. I still love teaching so much and do it whenever I can, but I definitely got sucked into the rock star performance life. It is still my dream to take over a circus school someday and teach the next generation, but at the moment the only way to make a living is to tour all year and go to where the work is.
One thing that I am endlessly grateful for is my clown and comedy background and the fact that for the most part I get to be funny on stage! There is no greater feeling than making a whole room of people laugh. To be able to change the mood of a whole room is incredibly satisfying. I think it is the reason I still have such passion and love on stage.
It’s really great to be home in Broome for a little while. I know things are really up in the air with the coronavirus, but I am hopeful that I can still teach heaps and have lots of fun with the Sandflies.
*Artistic Director’s Note: We’re delighted to have Rowan home for a while. If you know him, you can tell how long it’s been since he stayed a while – we’ve kept his old profile picture just to show you!