Jay's mug shot Prisoner
# M00153055
Shocked head
... he's a
bad boy
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Jay's curriculum vitae.
The boring bits.
Jay Linn has been performing, entertaining, promoting, and teaching with circus skills since 1990, during which time he has :-
  • Performed in big tops, on the streets, on TV, at Highland Gatherings, and at weddings, fétes,balls, galas, and carnivals, across the length and breadth of the UK.
  • Promoted all manner of businesses and organisations, such as bars and clubs, shopping centres, local government departments, etc. etc.
  • Studied circus skills for a year and a half at a professional circus school in Bristol, studying such diverse subjects as aerial skills, acrobatics, dance, clowning, improvisation, to name but a few.
  • Taught thousands to juggle, unicycle, walk stilts, fall off tightropes, and generally enjoy themselves at hundreds of workshops in dozens of places all over the country.
  • Inflated enough balloon poodles to underwrite the London latex futures market (okay, I made that bit up).
  • Thrice toured the Highlands of Scotland with Shoestring Circus, bringing Circus Arts to the tiniest islands and remotest villages.

Jay is a paid up member of the Variety & Light Entertainment section of Equity, and therefore enjoys public liability insurance of £5m, despite never having actually lost anybody. Cover applies to all standard activities, and can be extended for more reckless activities, or to calm the nerves of timid personnel directors.

References (from satisfied customers, no less!) are available on request, as is free advice and other forms of idle chatter.

In more detail - a thoroughly nice bloke.

Jay was born in London in 1963, and lived there until moving to Leicester in 1981 to begin a degree in Computer Studies. Unfortunately, real life proved to be rather more interesting than computers were back then, and Jay parted company from the course a year later. After kicking around for a few years in various temporary and permanent employments, Jay learned how to juggle in 1988.

At about the same time, there was a festival of new circus taking place on the South Bank in London. Jay went to see Archaos in their breathtaking show 'Chapiteau des Cordes' (tent of ropes) and Lumieré's seminal circus pastiche, including the unforgettable eating-your-own-brain scene, and the implausible pulling-the-hat-out-of-a-rabbit gag. There was no going back.

Stratford, Shakespeare, and me.

The Bard

Jay's career in entertainment began at the deep end, in street theatre. Working with his friend Mick Kremer, he spent three summers at the turn of the 90's performing two-handed street shows to drunks, day-trippers, and bemused tourists, in the main park in Stratford-upon-Avon, just a hundred yards from the Royal Shakespeare Company's theatre.

Street theatre is undoubtedly one of the hardest introductions to entertainment - it would have made King Lear's eyes water. On the other hand, performing a successful and humourous show in front of two hundred people who have chosen to stop and watch, is one of the most exhilarating heights an entertainer (or, indeed, professional show-off) can attain. It is because the public are the harshest critics imaginable, that one feels such elation at giving a good performance, and then passing the hat and marvelling that people part with their money willingly - after all, no one is making them pay.

Fool Time and the Bristol connection.

Jay spent a very enjoyable year and a half at Fool Time School of Circus Arts, in Bristol, during the early 90's. Although the school itself no longer exists, after a shocking volte face by the Foundation for Sport and the Arts, who were their principal funders, the education he received there laid the foundation for what has followed since. Moreover, Bristol was an important centre for circus arts at that time, and there were many opportunities to meet with and share skills with other budding artistes.

During his spell at Fool Time, Jay studied - amongst other things - aerial, acrobatics, juggling, rope walking, clown, improvisation, dance, and physical theatre. Teachers at the time came from a range of disciplines, and many were concurrently working at the top of their professions. Many staff and students have since gone on to devise, produce, and act in the much-lauded floor show at the ill-fated millenium dome.

Shoestring Circus - a Scottish Odyssey.
Shoestring Circus logo

During the middle of the 90's, Jay spent three summers touring the Highlands of Scotland in a battered and ancient 15' touring caravan, working with Shoestring Circus, to bring circus skills workshops to some of the remotest settlements in Europe. From Peterhead in the East, to Skye in the West, from northerly Thurso to the relative southerliness of Argyll, we covered many thousands of miles criss-crossing the mountains and lochs, serving up workshops and entertainment to thousands of people in hundreds of settlements who don't often get such an opportunity.

Working in run down halls in far away locations, battling with the midges, and often travelling twice a day between engagements, was an excellent introduction to the hard work of organising and executing a tour of several weeks.

My boss

Jay is grateful for the opportunity to join Shoestring, which was extended to him by his old mucker, and owner of Shoestring, Richard Gillett (see picture, left). It would also be unfair not to mention the unswerving help and hospitality of the people of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, who unfailingly approach outlandish Sassenachs such as ourselves with warmth, interest, and good humour. Slainté.

Getting a bit grown up and serious.

Jay has spent the latter half of the 90's building and expanding his business. He was also for a time involved in a small way in his partner's taxi business. Jay gave up the distractions of real work in summer 2000, to concentrate full time on Jay Linn Circus Arts.

If you would like to add to Jay's C.V., then please rush to contact him. He's ever so nice.

All content © Jay Linn 2017 unless otherwise indicated.