CircusWest was founded in 1984, in south Vancouver, as a small, non-profit circus school in a gym. Inspired by circus performances at the Vancouver Children’s Festival, this school was called the Vancouver Children’s Circus Society and it thrived. It filled a niche in the Vancouver circus community, and it grew. Having outgrown its little gym, it moved in 2003 to the PNE Garden Auditorium at Hastings Park in East Vancouver, and subsequently changed its name, becoming the CircusWest Performing Arts Society. This now reflects a much wider and more comprehensive organizational mandate that continues to grow, frequently offering new classes; expanding our community presence with workshops, outreach opportunities, and performances; constantly updating what we teach and how we teach it to better address our students’ needs. The story isn’t over yet. Stay tuned for the further adventures of CircusWest or, better yet, come be a part of them!
The cast of Fireflight – Supernatural Circus has been working together since 2017 in the development of original and compelling circus shows and performances with CircusWest.
Steph van Dyck - Hummingbird
Handstand Specialist, Dance Trapeze
Steph Van Dyck is a professional circus performer working with Underground Circus, Vancouver Circus School, Circus Lab, Neezar Productions and CircusWest. She is a contortion and hand balancing specialist performing throughout Canada, USA,& Australia. Initially trained as a dancer, she pivoted to circus to explore physical storytelling. Steph is also a professional film actress and Radio host/announcer.
Kasha Konaka - Salmon
Aerial Net, Contortion, Aerial Hoop
Kasha Konaka is a Japanese-Canadian circus artist and contortionist based in Vancouver, Canada. Kasha specializes is contortion, hand balancing, aerial net & hoop. She has performed at many corporate events, weddings, and productions locally and throughout North America.
Kasha loves the beauty and otherworldly nature of contortion and moving her body in interesting ways. Kasha is also a producer & a performer of digital circus productions including Locked Upside Down and Pause. Shift. Rebound.
Sidonie Adamson - Mountain Lion
Cascorde, Aerial Hoop
Sidonie Adamson is an international aerialist and circus performer living and creating on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish peoples in Vancouver, BC. She has performed around the world in cabarets, touring shows, cruise ships and festivals including the Transform Cabaret Festival (2019) and the St John’s International Circus festival (2018/2019.) Sidonie specializes in aerial hoop, a unique to her apparatus called Cascordes, and also frequently dabbles in silks, unicycle and duo aerial acrobatics. This fall she is making her debut as a co-producer/director with the digital circus show Pause. Shift. Rebound.
Marley Skye - Kermode Spirit Bear
Main a Main, Spinning Staff
Marley Skye is a freelance Canadian circus artist who works with multiple circus companies in Canada and internationally including Cirque du Soleil Events. He also is a director of Circus3, a Vancouver based non-profit circus company, and is the founder of Acro Caribbean, and Sweet & Salty Burlesque.
Alison Wu - Eagle
Main a Main, Aerial Straps
Alison Wu is a graduate of CircusWest and has performed for local circus companies at community and corporate events throughout Western Canada. Alison specializes in aerial straps, main a main, and acrobatics. Alison is also studying to be a speech pathologist while continuing to follow her circus passions.
Jay Nunns - Director
CircusWest Artistic Director
Jay Nunns is the Artistic Director of CircusWest Performing Arts Society. As such, Jay has produced and directed CircusWest shows and original productions since 1993 for theatres and venues throughout western Canada.
He also created the Avatar Circus Project troupe which performed as part of the Vancouver Cultural Olympiad in 2008-2010. Subsequently, Jay developed CircusWest's professional circus arts division 'VERVE Inspired Circus' creating compelling circus productions for theatres, corporate & community events including Red Sail Circus, Cupid - A Love Story, and Fireflight - Supernatural Circus.
Jay is a trained broadcast journalist, filmmaker, actor, and experienced circus & theatre director/creator. He was an Artistic Director for Ailanthus Achievement Centre from 1997-2004 inspiring youth at risk through theatre and circus performance and was as a specialist instructor with Stratford Hall School from 2005-2017. Jay also acts as a creative consultant and director on theatre and film projects with his CoastStory Creative company.
Jay was a founding member and performer of CircusWest in 1985 when it was then known as Cirkids. You might say he ran away and joined the Circus and never looked back!
Vern Griffiths, Principal Percussion, conductor, composer and host
Percussionist Vern Griffiths is one of the prominent players in Vancouver’s musical community. He joined the Vancouver Symphony as Principal Percussionist in 1997, and is also a member of the award-winning contemporary music group Standing Wave. Vern has appeared as soloist with the VSO several times on various concert series, including the world premiere of Nicole Lizée’s percussion concerto “Perxploitation” at the 2019 New Music Festival. He can be heard on recordings with the VSO, Standing Wave, CBC Radio Orchestra, Turning Point Ensemble, as well as soundtracks for Disney, Imax, Universal, ABC, PBS, EA Sports, Lionsgate, and Dreamworks.
Vern has appeared as soloist with the VSO, Victoria Symphony, Calgary Philharmonic, Edmonton Symphony, Winnipeg Symphony, and Toronto Symphony for dozens of performances of his kids show Wall to Wall Percussion. He also made his VSO main stage conducting debut in 2019, leading a Magic Circle Mime show and the Holly Cole Christmas concert.
Originally from North Vancouver, Vern has degrees in Music and Commerce from UBC, and a Master of Music from the Manhattan School of Music. A committed educator, he has taught at UBC since 1997, and has directed the Percussion Ensemble since 2005.
Vern is very proud that the Principal Percussion chair is endowed by his friend and generous patron of the arts, Martha Lou Henley.