The Role Queer Circus Plays - CircusTalk

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The Role Queer Circus Plays

“Hey!” I hear from behind me. I turn around. A queer person is running down the stairs from the spoken-word performance piece I have just watched in a Unitarian church in Portland, Oregon. The person sports a rainbow-glitter beard. They are pointing at me. “Cupcake! You are Tiny Cupcake?” Three other people hear his call and turn around, expectant. “Uh, well, yeah,” I answer awkwardly, not quite sure what do to with the four strangers looking at me with genuine excitement and….gratitude? “Oh, wow!” the person says. “I saw your show last weekend, and it was wonderful! It meant a lot to see a circus company that was completely queer.” The other three strangers nodded. “Could I give you a hug?”And so, in the middle of a church, never exchanging names or pronouns, I hugged four strangers who came to me with opened arms and a ‘thank you’ on their lips.
This past April I played the part of Tiny Cupcake, a dumpster-diving handbalancer who lives in the fantastical(ly) queer world created by Sir Cupcake, aka Jack Stocklynn. My participation in the show lead to a search for other queer circus companies in the United States. I found several larger companies that identified as ‘queer’, but only two were able to give me full interviews. While I know that two companies among the possible hundreds (in the United States, let alone the world) make for a small showcase of what the world of queer circus has to offer, I found both interviews beautiful, and wanted to share them with others, if only so their voices can be heard. Sir Cupcake’s Queer Circus is from Portland, Oregon. Topsy Turvy Queer Circus is based out of San Francisco. Both arose from a need within the queer communities and communities of color within these cities to have a space to express their...
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Zoe Zou Stasko

Performer, Writer USA/CANADA Born in Portland, Oregon, Zoe Zou Stasko graduated from L'École de cirque de Québec in 2017. She majored in aerial straps and minored in handbalancing. When not training, she can be found reading science fiction, singing to herself, or writing blog posts for her blog Cirquespiration, found at