“I first joined a circus at The Roundhouse. Jerome Savary’s ‘Le Grand Magic Circus’ were playing, and I went to see them on Boxing Day 1972, and was knocked out by their joyous anarchy. I was trying to make a living as a street juggler, at the time, and was hanging around in the bar on New Year’s Eve when I was spotted, and beckoned into the arena by a performer.
They threw me on to juggle at the end, then let me leave my gear in the dressing room, telling me to entertain the queues outside for the rest of the run. One night I was backstage chatting to two performers as they prepared for an entrance, and they were taking their clothes off, so I joined them, and found myself running right through the audience, stark naked, just for the hell of it! The Roundhouse featured several times in getting my career going. I saw Stomu Yamashta’s ‘Man from the East’ there in 1973, which inspired me to audition to be part of the European tour of that same show. I was part of the Oval House scene, and one of our shows – ‘Feast of Fools’ – masterminded by Paddy Fletcher of Incubus – became the Christmas show at The Roundhouse in 1973.
We later did a reunion show in a studio theatre there, for the street performing group I belonged to – The Raree Show. More recently, a circus I was involved in during their early days, NoFit State Circus, has wowed the current London audiences.” – Toby Philpott, circus performer