Queenstown’s special ring for circus performer

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A Queenstowner who ran away to join the circus has come back.

Simon West, 25, last month joined Circus Aoteaora for his first full-time on-stage job. 

This week Circus Aotearoa is installing a big top in Warren Park, beside Wakatipu High, for four shows from Friday till Sunday. 

The job is a dream come true for West, who had his first taste of circus life several years ago with Cirque du Soleil in Auckland and Australia. 

Since Circus Aotearoa started its latest tour in Wanaka late last month, West’s been buzzing about returning to Queenstown, where he lived for 11 years from 1999. 

“I’ve not shut up about coming to Queenstown – it’s a chance to perform for all those people who said I shouldn’t give up my day job.” 

West will be doing some pre-show magic then a spot of club juggling in the second half. 

West left Queenstown two years ago to join the Christchurch Polytechnic circus school. 

After the school was destroyed by the earthquake last February, he resumed studies at the Australian Institute of Circus Arts in Melbourne. 

“This is definitely a full-time career for me,” West says. 

“There’s nothing I’d rather do.”