The circus is one of those places that only a handful of people truly know about. While we may have all visited them from time to time, it doesn't change the fact that so many of us have never seen behind the curtain to what goes on behind the scenes. We wanted to put together a list that takes a look at a side of the circus that so many of us have never truly seen for ourselves.
We've put together some rules that we imagine most people won't know that circus employees have to follow. These are the rules that the employees have to live by if they want to keep their jobs! It's an interesting look at a world that so many of us come close to but never actually experience for ourselves. We also think that many people will be surprised by the sorts of rules that are placed on circus employees as well.
So, we think it's about time that we got started and took a look at the various rules circus employees have to follow if they want to keep their job.
17 Keep It Easy, But Flashy
If anyone has ever seen a performer at a circus, they almost certainly found themselves fascinated by what they saw. They are there to create awe among the audience, which isn't always achieved by performing the most difficult tricks...
Yes, circus performers are taught that it's always best to show an audience something that looks more impressive than it actually is, as they wouldn't be able to tell the difference anyway!
16 Fake Some Mistakes
When the performers aren't keeping some of the flashy moves back, they're ensuring the people are staying on the edges of their seats. They do this by throwing in a couple of pretend mistakes.
Let's not forget that these are some of the most impressive performers out there, so any mistakes that an audience sees will most likely be something they've done on purpose to get a gasp...
15 Don't Mess With The Animals
This one should probably be obvious to most people, but sadly it has to be pointed out to any new performer that decides to join in with a circus.
If they're performing in a country that still allows the use of animals, they are told that they have to stay away from the animals unless they are trained to be around them, for both their safety and the safety of the animals.
14 Better Be Ready To Set The Tent Up
A lot of people probably assume that somebody else puts up the circus tent, but this is sadly not true! Yes, if someone wants to become a member of a circus, they can expect to spend some time helping put the tent up and ensuring that everything is running smoothly.
It isn't just all about performing crazy tricks to an audience!
13 They Have To Work Crazy Hours
Speaking of crazy, the hours that someone working in a circus can expect to have to put in is beyond believable.
We've all had to work jobs from time to time that expected a little too much of us, but the constant traveling that comes with working in a circus, as well as training, performing at night, and then having to pull everything down, adds up to a lot of work hours!
12 The Clowns Are All In Competition
This is the sort of peek behind the curtain that we never really get to see, but according to the internet, the happy clowns out there are all actually in competition with each other.
While many of us would probably see the role of a clown as being pretty niche, apparently there is enough competition that many of them are fighting for the best roles that exist out there for clowns.
11 They Have To Get Used To Heat
Any person that has worked in a circus will know that one of the first things they have to get used to is the incredible heat.
They may be performing in an open plan tent, but the number of lights that are put up for a performance, along with the sheer number of people within the tent, ensure that the heat is going to get unbearable for people who aren't just sat down.
10 Families Are Allowed To Work Together
In pretty much every other form of work, it's generally frowned upon for somebody to take on an entire family. However, if a family of circus performers can prove they have the skills, all of them will find that a circus will be willing to take them on.
Obviously, this will change from place to place, but the number of children working with their parents is pretty surprising.
9 The Audience Is Always Right
This is a rule that anyone who has worked in retail will be pretty familiar with, but it seems weird to think that it applies to creative performers as well.
If any of the performers are approached by members of the audience, they're told never to directly confront them on any topic. Those in charge don't want anything to ruin the audience's experience!
8 Be Mean If It's Faster
As we've already said, performers are under strict orders never to mess with the circus animals, but that isn't true when they're outperforming for the audience.
Yes, it's generally accepted that any tamer will be much mean to the animals if it means that they will get their job done faster. Unsurprisingly, there are many who do not agree with this rule...
7 You Usually Have To Have A Degree
Most likely due to movies on the topic of circus performers that tend to stereotype these performers, we often think of those working for the circus as being lacking in academic education.
However, this couldn't be further from the truth, as many people will be expected to have a degree if they want to work for the many different circuses out there.
6 Hide Any Real Mistakes
While anyone working within the tent will have to throw in a couple of fake mistakes to keep the audience on the edge of their seats, it's also true that they're expected to hide any mistakes they actually do make.
They will have to style it out if they want to ensure that they get to keep their job once the whole performance is over!
5 Your Time Is Your Own Time
There are certainly a lot of different rules that a circus performer must live by, but one pro about the lifestyle is that the performers can do what they want with their own time.
Many people have commented on the fact that the people involved with the circus will often claim that time outside of the tent was fairly lawless, with the performers doing whatever they want with whoever they want!
4 The Training Is Extensive
It should probably go without saying that it takes a long time for people to be able to perform in a circus act at a pro-level. However, these people spend years putting their body through some serious training so that they can eventually wow us.
They need to keep their bodies in peak condition as well so the training never stops for one of these performers.
3 Keep Your Personal Life Secret
Circus performers are allowed to do whatever they want while outside the hours of work, but they're not allowed to bring that sort of stuff into the tent. If they have any personal problems with each other, they're expected to just bite their tongue and get on with the work that is before them.
Anyone who causes trouble will find that the people in charge will chuck them from the performance.
2 No Green Wigs
Okay, so this is just regarding a specific circus we read about on the internet, but we just had to include it! For some reason, the ringmaster of this specific circus decided that no clown could wear a green wig for their performance, purely as he didn't like the color.
Any other color was allowed, meaning that clowns couldn't really complain...
1 The Tent Has A Standard Size!
We can't speak for anyone else, but we have to admit that we assume there weren't that many rules in place when it came to the exact measurements of a circus tent, but apparently many people train to perform in a tent of a standard size.
Anything smaller or bigger and some performers complain that their abilities are thrown off by a new environment!