CREATIVE DIRECTOR & CIRCUS CONSULTANT
One of the uk’s leading creative and technical consultants for acrobatic and aerial performance with 35 years experience.
EARLY LIFE & INSPIRATIONS
Roger was an active child with a passion for magic and the movies. Childhood heroes included psycadelic grand illusionist Doug Henning, Hollywood legends Donald O'Conner, Russ Tamblyn and Gene Kelly. He was also fascinated by the World's Greatest Daredevil, Evel Knievel and for a while Roger dreamt of following in his footsteps spending most weekends as an early teenager riding off-road motorcycles but his true passion (that seemed to combine the performance of the Hollywood movies with the danger of Even Knievel) was Circus.
Growing up through the 70's in Yorkshire and a lifetime before YouTube, the only access to Circus was an annual visit by a traveling tented Circus and an annual Christmas special from The Blackpool Tower Circus with Charlie Caroli and legendary ringmaster Norman Barret. Roger couldn't believe his luck many years later when at the age of 19 got to perform at Blackpool Tower Circus being introduced by Norman himself.
After a very brief attempt at a "proper job" as a trainee surveyor he daydreamed about a life in entertainment and in 1983, at the age of 17 finally "ran off and joined the circus" and as the saying goes.. never looked back.
Roger was recruited by veteran acrobat and great vaudevillian Johnny Hutch MBE. Johnny was credited as being "Britain's Greatest Tumbler" and was credited with having performed at the London Palladium more than any other performer, starting in 1927. Working with Johnny Roger toured the world for 10 years performing with a 5 x man comedy acrobatic troupe in Circus, Variety, Theatre and Television.
The troupe generally spent Spring and Autumn working around the world in Circus, Casinos and revue shows while heading back to the UK in Summer & Winter.
The "end of the pier" style British variety was still going strong and Roger & the troupe appeared alongside the top household names of the day many of which you might not remember unless you've over 40.. Little & Large, Keith Harris & Orville, Bobby Crush, Cannon & Ball, Cilla Black, Dicky Henderson, Max Bygraves, Billy Dainty to name a few.
Performance highlights included a season in The London Palladium Show with Petula Clark at the Royal Alexander Theatre in Toronto Canada, The Royal Variety Performance, "Stars in Der Manege" from the famous Circus Krone, Germany with Hollywood legend Tony Curtis, Blackpool Tower Circus, a "night of a 100 stars" style tribute to Eric Morcombe from the London Palladium (televised by the BBC) in the presence of HRH Prince Phillip and 2 x years touring the United States and Canada with a 3 x ring circus that on occasions played to audiences in excess of 14,000.
Producer & Consultant
In 1992 at the age of 27 and after spending most of his performance career as performer/manager, Roger sustained an injury that forced early retirement from performing. With the help and advise from his mentor Johnny Hutch who was finally hanging up his hat, Roger set up a specialist acrobatic production agency & performer management that soon became Acrobat Productions.
THE CIRCUS SPACE (NCCA)
In 1994 Roger teamed up with The Circus Space (now NCCA National Centre for Circus Arts) where he spent 8 years representing the commercial & professional interests of the Circus Space and its graduates within the entertainment industry and often lecturing students on "the business of being a performer".
Roger now acts as an independent show producer, acrobatic & aerial choreographer and circus consultant for large scale live events, film and tv in the uk and around the world. He's regarded as one of the UK's leading advisors on all matters Acrobatic and Aerial and work has included clients from the Royal Opera House to the Sultan of Oman and from the Commonwealth Games to devising and choreographing for TV shows including How Do They That, You Bet, Record Breakers, countless TV Commercials and pop promos for the likes of David Bowie, George Michael, Kylie Minogue etc as well as the popular BBC Aerial Silks Ident to providing talent and co-ordinating & choreographing acrobatic sequences for Tim Burton's Charlie & the Chocolate Factory.
- Acrobatic, Aerial & Visual Comedy Choreographer/Movement Director
- Circus Consultant
- 'Act Doctor' (Circus act consultant/deviser)
- Prop Designer
Though no longer a performer Roger still has "ants in his pants" and can't shake that nomadic Circus spirit. He loves to travel, to adventure, discover, while indulging in his personal passion of photography & film making.
Personal photography work: www.rogersjournal.com
Johnny Hutch Passed Away in 2006 at the ripe age of 96 and leaves an incredible legacy to British Circus & Variety including the countless young acrobats he mentored over an incredible 70 year career. I'm forever indebted to him, his memory and legacy go on.
* Banner image: Russ Tamblin, Tom Thumb