Festive big top dreams for village circus performer

A circus performer from Leadenham who has been stranded back in England for the past year after losing a dream job in Australia due to the pandemic is fundraising to put up a community big top.

Nikkiita is inviting people to sponsor the 9,000 hand-sewn beads on her costume. EMN-210329-152716001

Nikkiita Mclusky is devising a number of ways to afford a small circus tent in order to put on a Christmas show on the village playing field.

Nikkiita has got together with fellow circus performers and technicians to launch Circus Starlight, a small-scale show ideal for weddings, birthdays and functions. After performing the Christmas event they will use that as a template for further performances next year onwards.

The tent would then be available to hire for other local events where theatre and dance companies need an inspiring covid-safe space to try out new skills learned in workshops that she can also put on.

One of the acts at last year's pop-up circus event in Leadenham. EMN-210329-152654001

She said: “These young people are wondering what to do as those they look up to may not come back to live entertainment after the pandemic as they have families and mortgages to pay. I want to inspire and bring those youngsters into the show.”

She is also applying for an Arts Council grant and running a ‘sponsor a bead’ campaign, where she invites supporters to pay £1 per bead on her showgirl costume. There are 9,000 beads, handstitched by the 35-year-old, with no limit on how many you can sponsor, via: PayPal.me/nikkiitaluna

Nikkiita said: “We will also be running some raffles, delivering workshops and looking for investment to help us reach the top target of £10,000 so we can bring you the best family entertainment around.

“We have decided that if we can hit £1,000 by World Circus Day (April 17), we will invite the local primary school, which is right next door to where the Christmas show will be, to come and see the show for free.”

Aerial acrobatic Nikkiita Mclusky doing her 'skywalk' act. EMN-210329-152706001

One person donated £300 the other day.

A dancer for many years, Nikkiita has always been in showbusiness and producing shows since she was 18 – her dad worked at the Theatre Royal and she would help out. Her mum worked at the Nottingham Theatre Royal, her grandmother was a costume designer and her grandfather worked on illustrations for the James Bond stories. Even Nikkiita’s little 15-year-old sister is training to do bubble magic for the circus show, which they hope will bring some sparkle back to the community and get people to support live performance again.

A specialist in aerial acrobatics, Nikkiita said: “I got into the circus in my thirties and got an amazing contract in Australia, flew out for eight weeks but then got sent home again when it went bust because of the pandemic.”

Discussing what to do next with her dad, she explained: “With so much going online we thought people would be really worried about coming back to live shows. We want to do good, accessible, family entertainment for Christmas, making it fully covid-safe by having it in a circus tent.”

In the run-up to the Christmas show, Nikkiita also has some work with the touring theatre show of Circus of Horrors.

Last August they did a one-off, socially distanced show in the garden of The George pub at Leadenham as an experiment, which went down a storm.