2010 to date
Five Ring Circus started in 2010 and was founded by Helen Averley and Steve Cousins, because they wanted to give young people opportunities to enjoy a regular youth circus club and access to structured, ongoing training. It is a Youth Circus which focuses on the five main areas of circus; aerial, acrobatics, manipulation, performance and equilibristics. The Five Ring Circus got £100,000 funding from the Legacy Trust UK, and was an official part of the Cultural Olympiad which celebrated the London 2012 Olympics. Five Ring Circus Started with four youth circus clubs one each in North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Stockton and Newcastle, it was also financially supported by all these local authorities and by the Arts Council.
The clubs lead into and accelerated programme, the Performance Troupe, which started in 2012. It was a group of 11 to 25 year olds form all over the region – Alnwick to Yarm, North Tyneside to Tow Law. It was based in Circus Central in Newcastle. They trained two to five times weekly and performed across the North East and further afield. The Legacy project finished in 2012 but the Circus lives on. 2013 saw the first graduate, Lee Scott Tinnion become a full-time circus professional with No Fit State Circus.
The Family La Bonche was named in March 2012 when people from Five Ring Circus, the North East’s regional youth circus, decided that we should have a family name. They felt like family already, so the name helped this identity! The Family La Bonche are involved in lots of exciting projects and shows and have been researching circus history in Newcastle and the North East and developing this site. The family is a friendly and happy group who enjoy performing together, laughing and having a good time! It is a group of people of all different ages, heights and backgrounds that are bonded by their love of circus!
Madame La Bonche frequently requires an emergency cup of tea and is not quite sure how many children she has! She has taken to calling the older circus troupe her Wonder Circus and the little ones her Mini Marvels. The spoon with it’s Moustache is called a “Spangel’and is the symbol of the Family. The La Bonche crest with it’s motto ‘Patera pro Omnibus’ refers to a bowl for everyone, a reflection of the open and welcome nature for new people to be welcomed into the circus family.
Several individual performers and duos have developed out of the Five Ring Circus and have developed their Family La Bonche identity, they are now beginning to be seen performing beyond the region at national youth circus and community circus. They Include: Mr Freak a streety styled contortionist and magician, Liza Orange, Rocky and Twiggy a comic rola bola duo, PP a clown and musician, and The La Bonche Brothers (Kernel and Bonchlette) a compare and juggling duo, as well as Frinzi (Freya and Zinzi) and aerial duo who in 2013 featured in a CBBC programme Turbo Boost which focused on the development of a double cloud swing act.