Mara Macs


Mara has been working as a circus trainer for nearly 20 years, with extensive experience in the Castlemaine/Daylesford region. Mara is a dedicated and active community member coordinating and organising many community events, festivals, and performances in particular involving young people and their engagement in these events with circus.

Mara has a wide range of interests including promoting the arts and cultural activites, tolerance, sustainable practices and promoting a healthy environment. After many years of dedicated training in several acrobatic forms of martial arts (Free Form, WuSu, and Capioera), family life refreshed her focus towards engaging children in physical activity through acrobatics and circus. At first the change was made in an effort to provide an appropriate physical practice for children that offered a wide range of physical challenges, and the Daylesford Community Circus School was born. But soon the potential for the positive ways the children could contribute to their community through performance, and the strong, trusting, creative friendships that were developing between children of varying ages and schools, hooked Mara into committing to providing circus in our communities for the long term.



Eric Jarlaud


Eric was born in France and came to Australia when he was 4 years old. Having a strong background in outdoor adventures throughout his younger years kept him busy with trips to Nepal Mountaineering.

Eric The Red has toured across Australia, New Zealand and France with his original set of juggling tricks and balancing feats. Eric The Red has performed at prestigious art festivals including the Perigueux Mime Festival and Avignon Festival in France and Melbourne and Adelaide Fringe Festivals. Based in Daylesford he lives with his partner and 4-year-old daughter.


Ivo Iliev


A vice world champion in acrobatics by the age of 15, Ivelin Iliev initiated a prestigious career in show business with both performing and teaching. Ivelin’s achievements and qualifications in the world of acrobatics have seen him achieve great success in his two homes in Europe and Australia. Ivelin was the first acrobat in Bulgaria to achieve a press to handstand on one arm, becoming a pioneer in the art of handstands and having a huge influence in the future development of one arm handstand work.

Having  worked in the biggest and best institutions in Australia including Circus Oz, National Institute of Circus Arts(NICA), South Australian Circus Centre, several dance schools and gymnastic clubs in Melbourne, his coaching skills created many medal winning champions.  Having developed his coaching skills of over 25 years into the world of acrobatics and its varied genres, he has the ability to break down a high level skill to one that is achievable. He is a charismatic teacher who makes disciplined training fun.


Sam Thomas

Sam 2

A true international traveller and performer, Sam Thomas has spent many years touring with The Chipolatas and working as an artistic director and creative producer as well as a performer. Sam Thomas has a proven track record in professional and high quality arts provision, committed to inclusion and equal opportunities. His repertoire includes a wide range of educational projects, prioritising the passing on of skills to new generations.

Sam’s work focuses on traditional street theatre, combining it with contemporary movement, original live music, circus imagery and classic comedy. Sam enjoys creating engaging, inspiring and relevant workshops for a wide audience, adapting to, and entertaining people of different ages and cultures by continually evolving his performance and teaching techniques, consistently devising and developing original work.


Mandy Field


Mandy is a producer, director and multi platform artist. After completing a Graduate Diploma in Performance Making in 2005, Mandy has focused on creating cross-platform outcomes, and producing events and initiatives that reflect local identity and place, drawing on a synthesis of physical theatre, visual theatre and interactive video to create live arts experiences for audiences.

Mandy has trained extensively in Butoh and Dance Theatre with Kazuo, Yoshito Ohno and Min Tanaka in Japan; in Physical Theatre and Circus with the Angry Mime, Spaghetti Circus, Theatre of the Ordinary, Brin Prichard and Simon Adams; and Visual Theatre with Sue Giles and Philipe Genty.

Mandy worked for 3 years as Program Manager with Polyglot Theatre (2007-2010), where she managed lengthy creative developments, festivals tours and seasons at the Melbourne International Arts Festival and Singapore Arts Festival, and has directed and produced large scale outcomes for The Village Festival (2005-2013), The Big West Festival (2005), Yalikut Wilam Ngargee Indigenous Arts Festival (2010), The Friendship Djerrip Festival (2007), The Woodford Folk Festival (2001-2006), The Falls Festival (2008-2013), This Is Not Art Festival in Newcastle (2006), The Regional Arts Conference in Launceston (2010), and The Castlemaine State Festival (2011 & 2013).

She has worked as artistic director, creative producer, tour manager, event manager, and has most recently spent 2 years as Creative Producer with Outback Theatre for Young People (OTYP), working with regional and remote communities of Outback NSW. Mandy is currently working as a Director of a new work for young audiences for Outback Theatre for Young People, is Producer on the award winning Marruk Project (Swan Hill, Vic) and The Book of Shadows (Darwin/Indonesia), and is the co-founder and Chair of the newly established Castlemaine Circus Inc (Vic).


Emilie Bloom


In 1999 Emilie trained at worked with Physical Theatre Company, Not Yet Its Difficult with David Pledger. She has trained with the Melbourne Women’s Circus (2006-2007) In 2007 Emilie received funding from The Beyond Nuclear Initiative to tour theatre production Unborn Future, a play she wrote and later went on to direct and produce that showcase in remote Northern Territory and Alice Springs (Watch this Space 2006) Katherine (Katherine Arts Centre 2006) and Darwin (Browns Mart Theatre 2006) Emilie has also been mentored by Theatre Practitioner and Director Toula Filokostas in the Explosion project at Footscray Community Arts Centre where she was funded to produce a play she had written and developed called 2020 Living Under Rocks. In 2009 Emilie was funded to work alongside Co-Founder and Director of Tamasha Theatre Company in London with Kristine Landon- Smith in Directors Mentorship. She was invited to perform in a Master-class with Miss Landon-Smith at the Hampstead Theatre (2008) She went on to work further as her assistant in a Cultural Exchange program at London’s Circus Space. In 2010 Emilie has trained under Eric Davis (The Red Bastard 2010) and was invited to be a participant in a Clown Master Class with renowned London based Comedy Director Cal McCrystal (Mighty Boosch, A Spy Monkey) Most recently she trained under Clare Bartholomew and Derek Ives at a two week Clown Intensive at Dance house. She is a Co-Creator and Creative Director Of Porcelain Punch.


Margaret Kirby

Margaret Kirby

Margaret has 35 years experience in acrobatics, gymnastics and circus instructing. She has performed and taught with Circus Oz and the Women’s Circus. Specialising in trapeze, Margaret has co-devised aerial performances for international festivals and events.

Margaret has taught hundreds of students aged 3 – 83! She is a Graduate of VCA in Performing Arts. A stickler for technique, Margaret also believes ‘wherever you are at is perfect’

Margaret is teaching our Circus Fit classes- body conditioning, pair work, handstands, balances, flexibility and basic tumbling. This class is also tailored to participants preferences.

Michelle Heaven


Michelle is an independent choreographer and dance performer. A graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne University, with a Bachelor of Dance,1992, and Masters of Dance, 2000. Michelle has worked nationally and internationally with many prominent Australian artists as well as creating her own work. Her performance career spans working with companies / directors such as Sue Healey, Phillip Adams (Balletlab), Gideon Obarzanek (Chunky Move), Lucy Guerin, Helen Herbertson, Michael Kantor, Douglas Horton (ChamberMade Opera), Sandra Parker (Danceworks), Tracie Mitchell, Kate Denborough (Kage), Rebecca Hilton, Polyglot, Black Hole Theatre, Leigh Warren and Ben Cobham (Bluebottle). Michelle is a recipient of The Dame Peggy Van Praagh Choreographic Scholarship, The Australian Post Graduate Award (Industry) Scholarship, two Helpman nominations, an Australian Dance Award nomination and several Victorian Green Room Awards. In 2013 Michelle undertook an artistic residency in Kuopio, Finland and more recently at the Banff Centre, Alberta, Canada. In 2014 Michelle toured Fade, a joint project with fellow artist Ben Cobham, to the Beijing Dance Festival, China and has recently returned from performing in Herbertson and Cobham’s  ‘Morphia Series’, as part of PS122’s COIL Festival, New York 2016.

In addition to her own independent choreographic work, Michelle works as a movement consultant, teacher, mentor, director and choreographer for other artists. Award winning works Coop (Black Hole Theatre), Pin Drop and Endings (Tamara Saulwick) and Rebel Elders (Rose Turtle-Ertler) showcase some of Michelle’s contributions.

Freya Bjaaland

Freya has 20 years of experience performing and teaching a variety of disciplines including acrobatics, adagio, aerial arts, yoga, contemporary dance and even the can-can. Freya truly believes in the power of physical activity and am passionate about assisting people to stay active and strong and also to form great relationships with their bodies and their fellow artists and students.

Freya has a diploma in contemporary dance, Cert 4 in personal training and is qualified as a Gymnastics Australia coach.

Freya currently teaches at Jets gymnastics, Zfit aerials studio’s in Bendigo and Sprung Circus Daylesford and is thrilled to be joining Castlemaine Circus and to bring her work into her home community.

Flynn Patrao

Flynn Patrao is a Parkour Practitioner, Instructor and Gymnastics Coach based in Bendigo. Flynn has been practising Parkour and Freerunning for 10 years and has been involved in the Australian  Parkour movement since its beginnings. Flynn is head coach at Jets Gymnastics in Bendigo where he coaches children of all ages in the various gym sports and runs the school’s gymnastics program. Flynn has a passion for movement and educating others in new and creative ways to use their bodies and safely push the limits of their own experience.

Cameron MacLeman

Rachel Valentyne

Rachel has studied most common dance styles since being able to walk and completed Certificate 4 in commercial dance at Dance Factory in Melbourne after graduating from high school. This was a one year full time course covering most dance styles, drama and musical theatre.

After graduating Rachel went on to study at the National Theatre Drama school. From there, Rachel obtained a BA in contemporary dance at Deakin University.

Since her studies, Rachel has performed in a burlesque troupe called The Diamond Dolls in Melbourne for about 4 years. Rachel has been a go-go dancer for Clairy Browne and the Bangin Rackettes, danced for Peaches, toured the Big Day Out and Meredith music festivals, done stage management for a monthly cabaret night called Sweet Jelly Roll and most recently have joined an immersive theatre company called The Boon Companions performing along side People such as Sunny Lunig, Tim Rogers, Marieke Hardy, The Presets, Missy Higgins, Judith Lucy and soooooo many more!

Rachel is the trainer of our youngest students in her Shake, Rattle and Roll classes for children aged 1-3years who attend wth a parent and by all accounts is a ton of fun!


Castlemaine Circus thrives on Dja Dja Wurrung Country

We acknowledge and pay respect to the Dja Dja Wurrung Peoples, their members and their ancestors, who are the Traditional Owners of this land.

The Dja Dja Wurrung have been custodians of this land for many centuries and continue to perform age-old ceremonies of celebration, initiation and renewal.