Devising Circus on the Fly: Lessons from the Plaid Lads - CircusTalk

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Devising Circus on the Fly: Lessons from the Plaid Lads

The Plaid Lads, a duo comprised of Sam Malcolm and Tony Steinbach, are darlings of the fringe world, having performed from coast to coast in North America. They’re both successful touring solo acts –working mostly as jugglers and stand-up comedians — but they also work on duo material when their schedules align. Most recently, they performed at the Edmonton International Fringe Festival with solo shows and their Plaid Lads Mega-show.  (A show they describe as “…an incorporeal mass of comedy… where they [wow] audiences with their off-the-cuff humor and skillful mastery of juggling.”)  In Edmonton, Tony walked away with the “Best Outdoor Show” accolade, and Sam walked away without setting anyone on fire — big victories by any juggler’s standard.
On their way back home,Malcolm and Steinbach were invited to perform at a meet-up of the Cincinnati Circus Company (CCC), a gathering of jugglers, magicians, and entertainers who work under the CCC banner.  They are long-time friends of the CCC management, and decided to tailor a 30-minute show just for them… six hours before showtime. To make things more difficult, they decided not to use their staple discipline( juggling) at all in the show. Instead, they built an entirely new piece based on public safety videos centered around the dangers of learning to perform magic. I’ve known Sam and Tony for the past ten years, and it was surprising to see them skip over their standard material (not e...
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Thom Wall

Thom Wall is the founder of Modern Vaudeville Press, an independent publishing company which produces original works about the circus arts. After completing a five-year tour juggling for Cirque du Soleil's Totem, Wall now resides in Philadelphia where he researches circus history, consults for area nonprofits, and coaches at Circadium: School of Contemporary Circus. He holds a Masters' of Science in Nonprofit Arts Administration from Drexel University (2015), and was awarded La Medalla Crotalus Scholaris by the Mesoamerican University in Puebla, Mexico for his work revitalizing forgotten juggling disciplines. In 2021, the International Jugglers' Association awarded him the Excellence in Education Award.