Q & A with Jason Parlour from the Circus Hub
Mary Weir had a Q&A session with Jason Parlour, the new General Manager of the Wellington Circus Hub.
Q. Tell us a little bit about your new role. A. I’ve been involved with Circus for about three and a half years ever since coming to Wellington. That was mainly as a student, being involved in the RAW performances every three months as the videographer, more recently general hub handyman as well. So I’m here now as a General Manager, which feels about moving the Circus Hub forward. Q. So you mentioned this entrepreneurial spirit, and the energy to drive things forward. Tell us a little bit about your background and what it is about you that gives you this enthusiasm for this new management position. A. My background has been running various businesses in the UK. I went self-employed in my early 20s. Started my first company, and then I ran multiple businesses side-by-side for nearly 15 years. I was told that traditionally one in five businesses succeed in the first five years, the other four fail. So I figured that if I had five, then I’d have at least one that would work. In managing five businesses at once, often one would fall by the wayside because there wasn’t a demand in the market at the time so I’d start a new business or focus on other previous areas. So I’ve always maintained about five active businesses at once.
Q. That’s incredible. Awesome.
A. It kept me busy. It wasn’t five full time jobs of forty hours a week, but I was doing an average of 100, 120 hours a week for quite a few years. Then nearly four years ago I came to New Zealand. I suppose that’s where the entrepreneurship comes from, wanting to make things work, then developing the business to make that work.
Q. So what is it about Circus that excites you and makes you passionate to be a part of it? A. While I was at Uni I was involved with a sports club that was all about juggling. Various other outside tutors would come in to help with that as well. During my exams I found juggling was a way to relax my mind during revision. By my final exams I was teaching myself clubs in my twenty minute downtime every few hours or so. Then from 2006 I started pole dancing for fitness, for a couple of years. That was on the chrome pole, but it integrated a lot of the Chinese pole aspects which I was really interested in. In 2008 I did a Circus intensive in Bristol. That was a two week full time course, much like the summer school here. Then when I made it to New Zealand I became involved with the Circus Hub here in Wellington. I've been doing different types of classes for the past three years: aerials, silks, trapeze, Chinese pole, adagio, hand balance. It's been incredible. I've not really gone down the performance route, possibly I've never felt myself good enough to do that. I've been videoing the RAW performances for years, and I see these people who are amazing at what they do, and I therefore consider myself as somewhat terrible in comparison. Now I'm realizing that I have been developing skills and strengths which I didn't have two or three years ago. I certainly don't consider myself a performer yet, I'm nowhere near these guys that will always be three years ahead of me, who I've loved watching this whole time. Q. I think manager of a Circus probably constitutes being a professional “Circus person”, if not “performer”. A. A Circus Person! Definitely not a performer. I have been doing the performance programme though recently. That's been really great. Q. So you've obviously experimented with a lot of different apparatuses and styles. If you could choose one thing that's your absolute favourite right now, what would it be? A. That's tough. Straps? I've recently just completed an intensive three lesson workshop with Taz. That's been brilliant. Extremely painful, and really hardcore, but that's certainly something that I am looking at learning more of. We've also just bought silks for the boat with my partner. Silks is probably where I'll be focusing on in terms of conditioning myself for the time being.
That's actually quite an interesting personal aspect to your character. You live on a boat? That's right. We were looking for a place to buy. The property market is saturated with buyers, and the prices inflated exponentially. But we could buy a boat and a berth in the centre of town for less than we could buy a bedsit, so it seemed appropriate. Plus we can move our house anywhere on the water. We intentionally brought a boat with two masts, so we can set up an aerial rig between them. Q. Awesome. So would you say you have quite an adventurous spirit? A. I would hope so. Q. That's great. How do you see yourself fitting into the grander ethos of Circus around NZ? A. For me Wellington Circus Hub, as the name describes, aims to be the central hub of circus for this region. We've had some amazing people coming through teaching, and performing. Rosalie and I are really keen to develop that professionalism, while still being accessible to new people as well. We want to help people here strive to a professional level.
I've found when you do something that other people are doing, that if you have a collaborative relationship with them, rather than a competitive one, everyone gains. From that stand point I'm keen to understand more about the other Circus training centres around NZ, such as the The Dust Palace, Flip N Fly, Circotica. I believe the Circus community in New Zealand is still very small in comparison to where it can be. Kiwis have a history of leading the way and pioneer things. I think there's a lot we can do, and I'd really like to be involved with that. You can find out more and take a look at the classes available at Wellington Circus Hub on their website here.