Our Team

Our Team 2018-11-08T14:33:02+00:00

 Our Team

The CircusWest team is a tight-knit community of artists, administrative staff, coaches, and more. Find out more about the people who run our Big Top.
ALICE BONACINA
ALICE BONACINACoach
AMELIA BURGGRAF
AMELIA BURGGRAFCoach
ANNABEL RAWSON
ANNABEL RAWSONCoach
ALISON WU
ALISON WUCoach
BOB WATSON
BOB WATSONCoach
BRIAN ROBERTSON
BRIAN ROBERTSONSafety & Facility Coordinator
Brian coaches unicycle and trampoline, purchases equipment, and addresses any building concerns. He also coordinates the Ringmasters, Centre Ring, Big Top programs, School groups and Camps. In 1985 Brian was a founding member of Cirkids. In his early 20s he taught in America with Circus of the Kids a traveling circus school. He then came back as a coach to Cirkids in 1993 and the rest is history.
BRIGIT STEWART
BRIGIT STEWARTCoach
Brigit began coaching in 2016, working with the Tigers, Lions, and Cubs. Brigit joined CirKids in 2006 and now trains and performs with the Performance group. Outside of CircusWest, Brigit is involved in musical theatre and filmmaking.
CAMBRIELLE (Bria) SEQUEIRA
CAMBRIELLE (Bria) SEQUEIRACoach
Bria is a new member to the CircusWest team, and has been performing with the CirKids Performance troupe in their May shows since ‘Dream Factory Circus’. Specializing in hand balancing and ring juggling, she wishes to spread her love of circus arts through teaching, and she especially enjoys coaching spring and summer camps.
CAMERON FRASER
CAMERON FRASERProduction Manager
Our production manager, Cameron also focuses on acrobatics instruction, stage design, and acrobatic choreography. A CirKid from 1992 to 2006, Cameron runs his own circus company (Break|Contemporary Circus), as well as a design/digital media company and two clothing lines.​​
CHLOE ROGER
CHLOE ROGERCoach
Chloe joined CirKids way back in 2005, and is now a coach and a member of the CirKids Performance group, focusing on aerials with a specialty in lyra. You can catch Chloe’s performances at events around the Lower Mainland.
CHRIS MURDOCH
CHRIS MURDOCHCoach
Chris teaches prop manipulation, and dramaturges. Before joining CircusWest in 2008, he studied theatre at the Royal Conservatory of Music, Trinity College (London) and SFU. He’s produced 30+ local shows and taught/performed at juggling festivals in Canada and internationally.
COLLEEN YUEN
COLLEEN YUENCoach
Colleen’s a tissu Instructor with CircusWest. From a background of piano and gymnastics, Colleen started learning tissu at CircusWest in 2003, trained with La Caserne aerialists (Montreal), and currently does aerial work with Heath Arts Society and Firebelly Performance Society.
DEBORA LEITE DE OLIVEIRA
DEBORA LEITE DE OLIVEIRACoach
Debora is an aerial silks, trapeze and hoop instructor. Her background is in classical and modern dance and she has trained at circus schools in Brazil, Canada and USA. She is currently finishing her Circus Instructor Program at Montreal’s National Circus School.
DORIS MARS
DORIS MARSFinance Officer
DANIKA OSBORN
DANIKA OSBORNAdministrative Assistant
FRASER COPLAND
FRASER COPLANDCoach
Fraser is a new coach at CircusWest. He has trained as a CirKid since 2005 and is now training with the Performance Troupe. He started with coaching camps, and is now coaching unicycling to Ringmasters during the year as a junior coach. He enjoys challenging himself because the reward of overcoming obstacles is exhilarating.
GRANIA BENNETT
GRANIA BENNETTCoach
Grania joined CirKids in 2015 and now trains and performs with the Apprentice program. Grania mostly works with Tigers, Lions, and Cubs. In her life outside of circus she enjoys making elaborate cakes.
HANNAH GREENFIELD
HANNAH GREENFIELDCoach
Hannah’s been coaching, with a focus on unicycle, since 2016. She’s been a CirKid since 2010, and is currently in the CirKids Performance group.
HOLLIDAY ASCROFT
HOLLIDAY ASCROFTCoach
Holliday has been training circus and aerial arts since 2010. She joined CircusWest in 2016 by attending the Circus Artist Training Sessions (a.k.a CATS). She now teaches aerials, tissu, & unicycling to Ringmaster students.
JAY NUNNS
JAY NUNNSArtistic & Community Development Director
Jay was one of the original CirKids in 1985, and he’s been the artistic director since 1996. Jay has written, directed, and produced most of CircusWest’s productions. Jay also spearheaded the development of the professional troupe in 2007.
JEN YAN
JEN YANPrimary Program Coordinator
Jen’s been a CircusWest coach since 2014, specializing in aerials: silks and tissu. She’s been training since she was a young adult, and is now firmly hooked! Jen occasionally enters pole dance competitions and places in the top three competitors.
JONEL EARL
JONEL EARLPerformance Program Coordinator
Jonel grew up with horses and later found a natural fit with the equine-based circus Voltige, which ultimately became Cavalia. During her time on the project, Jonel built a proficiency with whips that ultimately led to 7 years as a featured performer in the Las Vegas show Zumanity, by Cirque du Soleil.
JULIA DOUGHERTY
JULIA DOUGHERTYCoach
Julia coaches ariels, handstands and pyramids at CircusWest. She has been training at CircusWest since 2014 and joined the coaching team in 2017. She also instructs children’s and adult yoga classes. Julia spends a lot of time climbing trees as well, as she is an arborist here in Vancouver.
KAIA NIELSEN-ROINE
KAIA NIELSEN-ROINECoach
Kaia’s been a coach at CircusWest since 2015, specializing in general aerials with the younger programs. A CirKid since 2006, Kaia is a member of the CirKids Performance group, concentrating on aerial silks. Her circus performances include the May Show with CircusWest and other events.
KATLAN IRVINE
KATLAN IRVINECoach
Kat specializes in juggling and prop manipulation. He began juggling when he was 14 after his father promised him $100 to learn the skill. Kat currently works with several performance companies in Vancouver and is earning a degree in mechanical engineering.
KENT THOMSON
KENT THOMSONCoach
Kent teaches aerial straps, Chinese pole, and strength conditioning. Before coming to CircusWest in 2012, Kent was a former National Team gymnast and a Cirque du Soleil performer, among other things. Kent’s also a stunt performer for films and TV.
LEYNA SHNIER
LEYNA SHNIERCoach
Leyna’s been coaching aerials to Ringmasters, Ensemble, Centre Stage, and Performance groups at CircusWest since 2016. Trained at Monica’s Danz Gym in aerials for 10 years, and contortion and hand balance, Leyna now trains and perform with The Underground Circus.
LIA PAQUIN
LIA PAQUINCoach
LINDSAY HONEY
LINDSAY HONEYCoach
Lindsay teaches Aerials and Acrobatics. Before making CircusWest home in 2007, she was a competitive gymnast, wrestler, graduate of the Doulas College Theatre Program and Flying Trapeze and Aerial Performer and Instructor for Club Med Worldwide. Lindsay has performed, taught, choreographed in many countries and has directed and produced Circus Shows locally.
MACKENZIE CHAN
MACKENZIE CHANCoach
Mackenzie’s been a coach in the CirKids primary program since 2015, focusing on Lions. A CirKid herself, she currently trains in the Performance group. You can catch Mackenzie representing CircusWest in roving and small performances.
MARINA CANT
MARINA CANTCoach
Marina has been performing in different dancing styles for over 20 years. She has co-founded two different circus troupes and currently performs in aerials and acrobatics across North America. She started training at CircusWest in 2014 and began teaching in 2017. Marina is also a body worker, yoga therapist, yoga teacher and ski instructor.
MEGAN MACDONALD
MEGAN MACDONALDCoach
MERLIN MATTHEWSON
MERLIN MATTHEWSONCoach
Merlin’s been a CircusWest coach since 2016, leading and coaching birthday parties. He became a CirKid in 2007, and is now a member of the CirKids Performance group. Merlin also performs at various shows and events throughout the year.
MICHAEL LOCKE
MICHAEL LOCKECoach
As a CircusWest coach, Michael specializes in swing trapeze, double trapeze, and partner acro. Michael has several years’ experience performing partner acro.
MICHELE ROGER
MICHELE ROGERProduction Coordinator
MING HUDSON
MING HUDSONCoach
This is Ming’s second year teaching at CircusWest, where she is the acting coach for Apprentice and Performance Troupe. Specializing in physical theatre and devised creation, Ming splits her time between working as a professional freelance performer and making her own original work. She is the founder of new Vancouver theatre collective ‘At Last Productions’, and was last seen on stage in the 2018 season at Bard on the Beach.
NICOLE DESLAURIERS
NICOLE DESLAURIERSCoach
New to coaching at Circuswest, Nicole is a theatre artist who focuses on teaching, directing, and choreography. With a degree in performance from SFU she has also done training in clowning, puppetry, mask, and dance. For almost 20 years she has worked with children aged 2-19 in out of school care, preschool, community support, workshop, and recreational class capacities. Once upon a time, Nicole took main-a-main and handstand classes with CircusWest. She is excited to be rekindling her love of circus arts with such a wonderful team!
SARAH HIGGINS
SARAH HIGGINSProgram Assistant
Sarah is CircusWest’s program assistant (circa 2016). She handles registrations and payments, liaises with the public, writes the newsletter and gets to decorate the entrance space. A theatre artist and writer with an MFA in Creative Writing, Sarah’s previous admin experience is in the non-profit realm.
SASHA MINES
SASHA MINESCoach
SYLVAIN DROLET
SYLVAIN DROLETRigging & Tools Coordinator
Sylvain specializes in coaching handstands, main a main, and act development. A graduate of the National Circus School, Sylvain has toured internationally and continues to perform all over BC as a member of CircusWest’s professional troupe, Avatar Circus Project.
TIANNA SEQUEIRA
TIANNA SEQUEIRACoach
Tianna has been coaching primary program groups at CircusWest since 2016. A gymnast and dancer before joining CirKids in 2012, Tianna’s a member of the CirKids Performance group. She focuses on aerial silks and isolation hoop.
TIFFANY HUNTER
TIFFANY HUNTERCoach
VIRPI KANGAS
VIRPI KANGASManaging Director, Programs & Operations
Virpi manages the operations of the CircusWest school, and occasionally teaches acting workshops. She studied theatre at SFU and Douglas College, and non-profit management at BCIT. Outside CircusWest, she works with her hands (including silversmithing) and performs (acting, singing, dance).
YUKI UEDA
YUKI UEDACoach
Yuki teaches juggling, which he stared learning in 2006. He’s juggled on streets and in festivals around the world, taught workshops internationally and is a member of Cause & Effect Circus in Vancouver. He’s been at CircusWest since 2011.