‘I ran away with the circus!’ – Town performer stars in travelling show, coming soon

  • Sarah Jane Eyles from Hemel Hempstead, stars in travelling circus
  • Bright performer was a straight A student but chose a life on the stage
  • The 20-year-old trained with a circus school before touring with a company

A former Astley Cooper school student who achieved 12 As in her GCSEs decided the performing life was for her and is now travelling and acting with a unique type of family-oriented circus.

Sarah Jane Eyles, originally from Grovehill, Hemel Hempstead, studied performing arts at West Herts College after leaving school, but said she didn’t find it challenging enough.

She became a street performer in Covent Garden and has also performed as a ‘scare actor’ at Halloween events in Apsley’s Frogmore Paper Mill, where she worked with the director of Chaplin’s Circus.

The company tells the story of a 1920s-based circus which has one performance to survive bankruptcy – although its creditor and show’s ‘baddie’ wants the act to fail.

Now 20, Sarah Jane’s character is the circus owner’s daughter and her acts include the swinging trapeze and slack rope.

Sarah Jane, who has also performed under the stage name SJ Lavelle, said: “I got involved with Chaplin’s Circus through working with one of the

Sarah-jane Eyles gets strapped in to a straitjacket for her shocking stunt

Sarah-jane Eyles gets strapped in to a straitjacket for her shocking stunt

directors at various attractions and Christmas events and the idea for it sounded like a very exciting work opportunity.

“I decided to train with another circus for six months to get a few acts together before setting off with Chaplin’s last March.”

Chaplin’s Circus was set up by former millionaire lawyer turned the show’s human cannonball, the Great Herrmann, aka Gary Stocker. He runs it with business partner and manager, Mark Foot, from Watford and tours southern

England for several months a year.

I decided to train with another circus for six months to get a few acts together before setting off with Chaplin’s last March.

Sarah Jane Eyles, performer

The animal-free show will be at Highfield Park, St Albans, from March 28 to April 7, and will also be offering free circus skills workshops for kids over the school holidays.

Visit www.chaplinscircus.com or email info@chaplinscircus.com for more.

For previous Gazette coverage on Sarah Jane, click here.

Sarah Jane Eyles from Hemel Hempstead, performs with Chaplin's Circus

Sarah Jane Eyles from Hemel Hempstead, performs with Chaplin's Circus

Sarah Jane Eyles can perform a variety of acts and stunts

Sarah Jane Eyles can perform a variety of acts and stunts