Circus Incognitus: Feel free to fling fruit

Jamie Adkins gives his audience oranges. "That way, if they don't like the show, they can throw them at me," said the travelling circus artist and clown.

Jamie Adkins gives his audience oranges.

“That way, if they don’t like the show, they can throw them at me,” said the travelling circus artist and clown.

Adkins, who is bringing his one-man show, Circus Incognitus, to Whitehorse next week, actually encourages the audience to throw oranges.

It’s part of a routine he does with a fork and a grape.

Somehow, with the fork in his mouth, he also manages to spear the oranges.

This career choice came to Adkins early and suddenly.

“I was 13 and saw this juggler performing on the street,” he said.

It was the first live performance he’d ever seen.

“And I knew right then that’s what I wanted to do with the rest of my life,” he said. “I wanted to be a street performer.”

The street performing lasted about five years.

“And that’s when I realized I didn’t want to be a street performer for the rest of my life,” said Adkins, with a laugh.

“It’s a good way to start a career, but not how I wanted to end it.”

With his juggling and unicycle skills, the circus would have been a perfect fit.

But traditional circus shows didn’t turn his crank.

“It just didn’t touch me as an audience member,” he said.

Then Adkins saw the Pickle Family Circus in San Francisco and that all changed.

Performing in a theatre, instead of under the big top, the Pickle Family put its emphasis on people.

“There was lots of feeling and emotion on an intimate level, rather than those big ‘ta-da’ moments,” said Adkins.

There were also no animals.

“I prefer those smaller shows where you get to know the artist,” he said.

It’s like music.

Adkins would much rather see a small act in an intimate venue than a mega show like Lady Gaga, “all smoke and lights,” he said.

After training with the Pickle Family, Adkins ended up in Montreal with Cirque Éloize, another small company.

He also did a stint with Cirque du Soleil in New York, but given the choice, he’d much rather stick to his one-man show.

However, it’s actually not a one-man show, he added.

“As a clown, you always have a partner,” said Adkins.

In this case, it’s the audience.

“We find each other during the show,” he said.

And the audience helps shape the show, making every performance unique.

“As a juggler if you drop the ball into the audience, it’s a tragedy,” said Adkins. “But if you drop the ball as a clown, it’s an opportunity – there are no mistakes.”

Adkins is not a puffy-haired, white-faced clown with big shoes.

“I don’t really wear makeup at all,” he said.

It’s more about the physical performance and the relationship that’s forged with the audience.

And while kids love the show, it’s not a kid’s show per say.

In fact, Adkins often has fathers or mothers come up and say they came to the show for their kids and ended up enjoying it more than their children.

His own mother is a different story.

“I think she still hopes I’m going to grow out of it,” he said.

Circus Incognitus is performing at the Yukon Arts Centre Feb. 21 and 22. The shows start at 7 p.m.

Contact Genesee Keevil at

Just Posted

Silver rules out HST, layoffs and royalty changes

Yukon’s financial advisory panel has released its final report

City of Whitehorse budgets $30M for infrastructure over four years

‘I think we’re concentrating on the most important things’

Yukon community liaison for MMIWG inquiry fired

Melissa Carlick, the Whitehorse-based community liaison officer for the national Missing and… Continue reading

Yukon man holds no grudge after being attacked by bison

‘The poor guy was only trying to fend off someone who he knew was trying to kill him’

Straight and true: the story of the Yukon colours

Michael Gates | History Hunter Last week, I participated in the 150th… Continue reading

Get ready to tumble: Whitehorse’s Polarettes to flip out at fundraiser

‘There’s a mandatory five-minute break at the end, just so people don’t fall over’

Alaska’s governor goes to China

There are very different rules for resource projects depending on which side of the border you’re on

Yukon survey shows broad support for legal pot

But there’s no consensus on retail and distribution models

Yukon government releases survey on the territory’s liquor laws

Changes could include allowing sale of booze in grocery stores

Get family consent before moving patients to other hospitals: NDP critic

‘Where is the respect and where is the dignity?’

Bill C-17 passes third reading in House of Commons

The bill, which will repeal controversial amendments made to YESAA by Bill S-6, will now go to Senate

White Pass and Yukon Route musical chugs on without director

The cast and crew of Stonecliff are pushing forward without Conrad Boyce, who went on medical leave

Most Read