Circus News

Creative Finance: Life’s a Circus for Montreal’s Shana Carroll

Montreal has long been a hub for creative innovators, entrepreneurs and artists. In this column, Brendan Kelly offers a snapshot of individuals pushing the boundaries of their field, looking at how they’ve managed their relationship with money in order to “make it” in their chosen domain.

Name: Shana Carroll

Occupation: Co-founder and co-artistic director of the Montreal circus company Les 7 doigts de la main

Length of career so far: 30 years into circus career

Savings: Yes

Assets: Carroll drives a 1993 Pathfinder. She, her husband and several of the other 7 doigts founders bought an old convent in St-Henri, where they now live.

Seed money
Toiling as an aspiring actress in her hometown of San Francisco at the age of 17, Shana Carroll didn’t make much money, which is why her dad, well-known San Francisco Chronicle columnist Jon Carroll, suggested she take a job with his buddies at the Pickle Family Circus.

She got an office job with the quirky hippie-ish circus company, making $1,000 a month doing group sales, being house manager when the shows were running and most everything else. The salary was fine in 1988, since her expenses were low. She drove a 1976 Toyota Corolla and had two roommates.

At the office, in an old church, she sat next to an 18-year-old trapeze artist. (The artist was Sky de Sela, sister of the late Montreal-based singer-songwriter Lhasa de Sela.) Through exposure, she realized she could love the circus arts, an art form about “ordinary people doing extraordinary things.”

“All of a sudden it just seemed like the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen, just seeing it in that context, and I feel that’s one thing that influenced the founding of the company, was wanting other people to have that recognition,” Carroll said…


Read the Full Article at Montreal Gazette

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