Circus Incognitus

Jamie Adkins began his career at the age of 13 in San Diego, where he delighted passers-by as a street performer. Later, in San Francisco, he joined the Pickle Family Circus. Then this eclectic clown, juggler, balancing artist and one-hundred percent poet joined Montréal’s Cirque Éloize. With his numerous talents and years of experience, this multidisciplinary acrobat was soon an integral member of the Cirque Éloize family of artists, making an invaluable contribution of the show Excentricus. In over 500 of this production, Jamie distinguished himself with his unique style that faithfully and humorously conveyed the essence of the ordinary man. Jamie again teamed up with Cirque Éloize to produce Typo, a show of his own creation, which toured the world giving more than 200 performances over 2 years. He won the admiration of critics and adoration of the circus-going public. Jamie Adkins continues to forge ahead on his career path, always seeking new ways to develop his artistry. For this reason, he is delighted to present his newest creation Circus Incognitus. More than ever before, Jamie shows his audiences, in his own unique way, the full range of  his talents. He has taken his performance far beyond the bounds of a single role and created an artistic event that springs from his own inner world.


Jamie Adkins began his meteoric career by observing the street performers in San Diego’s Balboa Park; by age sixteen he felt ready to give a first performance. For the next several years he worked with partner Neil Hartmann as The Blunder Twins, performing in the park for donations and for private parties and conventions. After Hartmann headed off to Japan, Adkins continued to hone his skills and eventually migrated to San Francisco, where after ushering for a Pickle Family Circus performance, he decided to audition for a spot with the troupe. During his time with the Pickles, he taught himself slack‐rope (or, as he calls it, “the wire thing”), learning by trial and error not just to walk the wire but also to do so while juggling or doing handstands. In 1998 he joined Québec’s Cirque Éloize as the sole American member of the company for the production Excentricus. He “came into the company to replace someone for two weeks,” but ended up staying for more than 500 performances. He told reporter Wayne Harada, in an interview with the Honolulu Advertiser in 2000, “I’m a comic performer. Since the show was missing a strong clown, I kind of assumed the role.” Doing a slack‐wire solo, and participating in the juggling and acrobatic routines, he perfected his persona as a comic bumbler, Chaplinesque and clueless. His solo was “all about the discovery of the wire. I took the four years I spent learning wire – the emotions, the fear – and squeezed them all into five minutes. …It’s hard to be graceful on the slack‐wire because it’s always sliding out from under you.” Now in his mid‐thirties, Adkins will bring his skills in character‐driven comedy (and, perhaps as well, the sense of something “always sliding out from under you”) to the premiere of Circus Incognitus. Adkins will also bring the perseverance and dedication that have brought him in little more than a decade, from the streets of California to an enviable showcase role with one of Canada’s leading (and thus one of the world’s leading) circus companies. He has said, “It’s a hard life, being on stage. I think whoever you are, whatever you do, you gotta really want to do it. And I love what I’m doing. …If I can present [my skills] in a funny way, I succeed. …My strength has been the technique on wire, combined with physical theatre.”


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