Triton Troupers Circus
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Triton Troupers Circus is both a professional quality circus show performed every year since 1972, and a college affiliated Circus Arts continuing education program. Triton Troupers Circus is an important node in the network of circus related institutions clustered near lake Michigan in the Midwest.
This Midwest circus cluster includes Triton Troupers Circus near Chicago and Gamma Phi Circus ("The oldest collegiate circus in the world.") in Normal Illinois, and numerous other famed circus related institutions nearby from Wisconsin to Indiana, cited below.
Triton Troupers Circus is affiliated with Triton College in River Grove, Illinois, with rehearsals and performances held on campus. It is a city/local circus, produced by students and others on a volunteer basis, with proceeds reinvested into equipment and development. Triton Troupers Circus participants train and rehearse for several months early each year, culminating in four performances a week before Easter. Specifically the dates are the Thursday, Friday and Saturday immediately preceding Palm Sunday, with an extra Saturday matinee interpreted for the hearing impaired. The date falls variably in March to April. The show is substantial, with professional lights and sound, and a spectrum of classic circus acts. It is held in the Robert M. Collins Center Gymnasium which seats 1400, and is priced to be easily affordable by the local community.
Triton Troupers Circus draws participants from high school and college students with experience or interest in circus arts, dance, gymnastics and other athletics. It also draws alumni from other Circus Schools, as well as alumni from major professional circuses. Triton Troupers Circus educates using a structure where experienced performers teach newcomers, facilitated by several dedicated coaching and production personnel. Triton Troupers Circus actively solicits new performers and is adequately equipped to teach and perform even advanced circus skills such as teeterboard, wire, gymwheel, unicycle, globes, trapeze, etc.
Triton Troupers Circus has been produced annually every year since 1972. The first Circus was performed in the "Temporary Physical Education Building" to a sell-out crowd, despite a record snow fall. The show was then moved to the cafeteria for 1973-1980, and finally moved to the new Robert M. Collins Center Gymnasium in 1981 where it has remained to the present.
Triton Troupers Circus was founded in 1971 by Jeff Austin, the first director. Rick Wright subsequently became the second director, from 1987-1999. Terry White has directed since 2000 and participated in almost every year since the beginning. According to Terry White, at least a dozen marriages (including his own) have resulted from people meeting in this circus. Some Triton Troupers alumni have gone on to professional circus arts careers, possibly most well known being famed juggler Andy Head.
Following the 2007 season, Triton Troupers Circus finally developed a website.
A nearly complete history of Triton Troupers Circus programs and group photos and posters from the past is available online.
Circuses and the Midwest
The U.S. Midwest States Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana are home to a peculiarly rich and dense circus presence. These states contain places where important events in circus history occurred, as well as some of the nation's most significant circus arts resource today. Triton Troupers Circus and more generally Chicago constitute a midpoint of this Midwest circus cluster.
INDIANA - Peru:
- Known as "The Circus Capital of the World".
- Former winter quarters of most top circuses.
- Home of the great ill-fated Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus.
WISCONSIN - Baraboo and Milwaukee:
- Birthplace of Ringling Brothers Circus and historic winter quarters in Baraboo.
- Circus World Museum in Baraboo
- International Clown Hall of Fame in Milwaukee
ILLINOIS - Chicago and nearby:
- Triton Troupers college circus
- Gamma Phi college circus in Normal Illinois
- Showmen's Rest cemetery
- BOZO The Clown
- Zoppe Circus
- Midnight Circus
- Acrofabulous Circus
- Forms In Motion Circus
- Gaonas Trapeze School
- Actors Gymnasium
- Aerial Dance School
- Triton Community College
- Gamma Phi College Circus in Normal IL
- The International Circus Hall of Fame
- "Circus City"
- Circus World Museum
- History of Triton Troupers Circus programs and group photos
- Triton Troupers Circus show photos since 2003