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COVER STORY

Gia Eradze Royal Circus from Moscow used giant Faberge eggs for quick costume changes.

John with the world's only acrobat and elephant trainer Rene Casselly.

The Belle Epoch room at the Hermitage Hotel, Monte Carlo, where Princess Stephanie hosts a lunch each year for people in the Circus Profession. Public protests, stricter laws and the costs of transporting animals have reduced the number and type, particularly exotic, of animals now in circuses. Attitudes to the use of animals have changed over the years. In the 1970s for example the Bullens family who ran the Bullens African Lion Safari Park on the Gold Coast which opened in 1969 paraded their elephants down the main street of the city. Living at their home in NSW with their animals one of the children one day took an elephant to school for show and tell, John said. Historically a travelling circus provided the only opportunity for many people to see exotic animals. Each year while a director John and Angela have attended an annual circus festival which brings together international acts to perform at Fontvieille, Monte Carol in a a permanently erected circus tent that noosatoday.com.au

The Festival of Circus will be in Brisbane later in the year. Picture: DAVE GLEESON, SURFSHOTS

John with the Bullen puma.

lives between the residences of Princess Stephanie and her brother Prince Albert. A world highlight of the circus world which takes place every year is the international festival created by Prince Rainier in the 1970's and occurs in January. This year was the forty-third International Monte Carlo Festival and the eleventh that John and Angela have attended. John said the royal family were very involved in the operations of the circus federation and for the festival Princess Stephanie helps select the acts and attends rehearsals. "We are continually amazed at the elaborate way the Russians look at circus," Angela said. "They spend massive amounts of money for costumes." Over the years the couple have noticed the way acts have become more extreme and dangerous. "People are doing more and more cutting edge acrobatics," Angela said.

Prielpin quartet of acrobats from Russia.

Recognition for a job well done.

While it looks dangerous safety is paramount and the artists work with safety harnesses and people known as spotters whose sole job is to watch the performers and break their fall should they slip. "In 43 years there's only been one fatality in Monte Carlo," John said. "It was a motorcyclist during rehearsal." John and Angela continue to be amazed by the extraordinary feats performed by circus performers around the world and their different styles. Among the standouts are a Korean acrobat who has succeeded in performing five somersaults through the air and one member of the Wallenda family who once walked on a tightrope across the Grand Canyon from the US to Canada. On arrival in Canada, customs asked his reason for travel. "To inspire the world," was his response. "They're always trying to go one better," Angela said. "We just enjoy it."

John and Angela Le Mare continue to co-direct 365Tix which provides back office online ticketing services for nine major Australian travelling circuses and they attend circuses in Australia and across the world whenever they have the chance. Over the last few years, they have shared their experiences with U3A members and other people in the Noosa area and wowed them with the exploits of performers at the Monte Carlo Festival and other circuses. The couple's influence has been instrumental in the delivery this year of the Australian Circus Festival to Brisbane for the first time. The festival will bring together circuses across Australia under the Hudson Circus Big Top and be held in NovemberDecember at Mitchelton football ground. For more information visit https:// australiancircusfestival.ore/festival_2019 â—?

Thursday, 27 June, 2019

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NOOSA TODAY 5

Profile for Star News Group

Noosa Today - 27th June 2019  

Noosa Today - 27th June 2019