Wednesday, February 9, 2011

ON THE SPOT with Jamie Adkins

Find out more about JAMIE ADKINS, star of Circus INcognitus and audience darling of the circus world not only for his charming and delightful personality, but his exceptional talents on the slack wire, juggling and acrobatics.

Photo: Amanda Russell
New Victory: Where did you grow up?
Jamie Adkins: San Diego, California

NV: Favorite hometown tradition?
JA: Going to the beach

NV: Favorite hometown food?
JA: Great Mexican food!

NV: Favorite hometown haunt?
JA: Growing up I spent many weekends going to Balboa Park and watching the street performers. Then I spent many more [hours] honing my craft by doing my own shows there.

NV: Favorite NYC haunt?
JA: Cafe Gitane for breakfast, then walking around the city and admiring the different architectural flavor of each neighborhood.

NV: When you travel, what do you miss most about home?
JA: I live in Montreal now, [so] in winter I definitely do not miss the cold weather but I do miss my friends. I would miss my family so much but they come on tour with me!

NV: Favorite family activity?
JA: My daughter is 10 months old and our favorite activity is anything that makes her smile.

Balboa Park Juggler
Photo: KyleChx under Creative Commons license
NV: Most memorable theatrical experience as a spectator?
JA: When I was 13 years old I saw a street performer juggling and making people laugh in Balboa Park and I knew that was something I wanted to do. I went home and began practicing that day.

NV: Most memorable theatrical experience as a director/performer?
JA: After 24 years of performing, I have traveled to 22 countries, 48 states (not yet Lousiana or West Virginia) and have had so many memorable experiences it’s hard to choose one that is the most memorable. My next performance is what is on my mind the most, but if I had to choose from the past I would say:
When I began street performing, I was 16 years old. The first time I began my show, I was so bad that everyone who stopped to watch, walked away. It took me many tries before I ever finished the show I had prepared. However, I did not finish it with the same audience I began the show with. It took many months, but the first time I finished a show with the same audience I started with was a great victory for me. I will remember that feeling always.

NV: If you weren't in theater, what would you want to do with your life?
JA: There are many things I would like to do. I am fascinated by people and insects. So perhaps an anthropologist or an entomologist.

NV: Favorite saying or slang term?
JA: "Cool beans!"

NV: Something interesting/unique others may not know about you
JA: I have equal passion for sports and poetry. Clowning is a good combination of athleticism and artistic expression.

NV: Do you do anything else to earn a living?
JA: I am very fortunate to make a living doing what I do.

NV: What is your educational background? Training background?
JA: After high school, I went to college but dropped out to go to circus school. I then dropped out of circus school to go work in a circus. But I have practiced every day for many years to be able to do what I do without a teacher or someone to encourage me. Since leaving school I have never stopped studying or learning.

NV: What is your cultural heritage? Has it influenced your work, and if so, how?
JA: Like many Americans, my cultural heritage is a mélange of many ingredients. Having no specific cultural background has helped because I do not have the comfort of old traditions so I get to invent my own.

NV: Which 3 people have influenced you the most?
JA: My Father, Bugs Bunny and my baby Penelope June

NV: Why do you like performing at the New Vic?
JA: The New Victory is a beautiful theater! The audiences that attend performances there have seen so many great shows at that venue, it is an honor to be a part of that tradition. Plus at the end of the day, when it’s time to leave work, I get to step out into the excitement that is Times Square.

Thanks, Jamie! Circus INcognitus runs at the New Vic from February 11th-27th. Watch the trailer here and buy tickets to this incredible show here.

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