The 2nd Annual Celebration of American Circus Awards with Evolving Circus Honoree Bill Irwin - Jan 5, 2016

To honor and spotlight the distinguished achievements in the American circus arts, Circus Now together with the Big Apple Circus, in association with Executive Producer and Director Jonathan S. Cerullo, JSC Theatricals, is proud to present the 2nd Annual Celebration of American Circus at the Big Top at Lincoln Center on January 5, 2016 at 8pm. Part ceremony, part performance, the Celebration of American Circus will honor four artists and/or organizations that have been prominent in the circus arts landscape in America, while spotlighting the thriving state of the circus arts across the nation, and will feature Emcee Thom Wall, with performances from a variety of breath-taking acts.  Tickets start at $25 and are available online at

For the second year, the Celebration of American Circus presents a distinguished and impressive roster of honorees, all of which have spent decades furthering the appreciation of circus arts in America.  Sabrina Motley, director of the Smithsonian's Folklife Festival, will present the Community Impact Award to Circus Smirkus Founder Rob Mermin and Ed LeClair, Smirkus's Executive Director.  Duncan Wall of Circus Now will present the Elevating Circus Award to Dominque Jando, renowned circus historian and author.  David Shiner will roast and toast and present the Evolving Circus Award to his fellow clownical artist Bill Irwin. Andthis year we introduce a new award, the Lifetime Achievement Award, will be presented by the legendary Dolly Jacobs (Circus Sarasota) to the legendary Hovey Burgess!

  • Evolving Circus Award, presented by David Shiner


This award is given annually to an individual whose personal and/or professional contributions have made a significant and permanent impact on the circus field in America, with specific consideration of how the recipient's work has influenced the perception of the circus arts by the American public and the arts and entertainment industry.

  • Irwin and Shiner will appear together next in Old Hats. Called "one of the funniest shows of the past few years" by the New York Post, and selected as a Critics' Pick by The New York Times and Time Out New YorkOld Hats will entertain audiences January 26 through March 3, 2016, with a Thursday, February 18 opening night at The Irene Diamond Stage at The Pershing Square Signature Center (480 West 42nd Street between 9th and 10th Avenues). Tickets start at $45. To purchase tickets for all Signature productions, including Incident at Vichy by Arthur Miller and Night is a Room by Naomi Wallace, call Ticket Services at 212-244-7529 (Tues. - Sun., 11am - 6pm) or visit After an extended, sold out run in 2013, Signature welcomes back Bill Irwin and David Shiner in their award-winning, critically acclaimed production of Old Hats. This production reunites the clowns with original director Tina Landau and introduces their new songstress and comic foil Shaina Taub, hailed as "a young Judy Garland meets grown-up Lisa Simpson" by the San Francisco Chronicle. Using music, technology, and movement, Irwin and Shiner combine their inimitable magic and slapstick to create an unforgettable outing that's fun for the whole family.

  • Community Impact Award, presented by Sabrina Lynn Motley, Director of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival
Rob Mermin

This award is given annually to a circus artist or organization that has succeeded in harnessing and demonstrating the power of the circus arts for community engagement and social good, and in bringing diverse audiences together through quality programming. 

Circus Smirkus is Vermont's own award-winning international youth circus. Since 1987, the company has promoted the skills, culture and traditions of the traveling circus, inspiring youth to engage in life-changing adventures in the circus arts.

  • Elevating Circus Award, presented by Duncan Wall, Creative Director of Circus Now

This award is given annually to an individual or an organization who has made a lasting contribution to increasing public awareness about the beauty, artistry, creative potential of the circus arts through their body of work, with particular attention paid to interdisciplinary collaboration or expression.

  • Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by Dolly Jacobs, Founder & Associate Director of Circus Sarasota

This award is given to an individual artist, troupe, or company whose overall contributions to the field and community are substantial, undeniable and significant.

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