Once Upon A Circus

Zip Zap Circus

  • Ticket Price: R50.00
  • Duration: 35mins
  • Age Recommendation: All Ages
  • Genre: Circus
  • Language: n/a

This imaginative 35-minute production, entices the audience into a sneak-peek of ‘circus’ life, both behind-the-scenes and on stage, through the lens of an inquisitive and mischievous character, called Trompie. He invites the viewers to explore a wondrous circus world, bringing you aesthetic artistic creations as well as breath-taking action shots, capturing the grace, strength and skill of our circus performers. Once Upon a Circus also symbolises greater values and meaning, as it unveils that our little circus in the heart of Cape Town, is in fact, a microcosm of a true ‘Rainbow Nation’ South Africa. The story reveals the possibility of social transformation and youth empowerment through the circus arts. Trompie, a real member of our circus family, also represents the array of youth whose lives have been transformed through their discovery of our circus magic. This production is therefore based on the true and touching stories of the many kids who have walked through Zip Zap’s doors, daring to dream beyond their circumstances, and who, consequently form part of this colourful circus family.

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Concept and Artistic Director: Brent van Rensburg
Videography, Filming, Producer, Editor: Nic Good
Artists: Jason Barnard, Jacobus Claassen, Aviwe Mfundisi, Phelelani Ndakrokra, Isobel Rossouw, Jemma Nelson, Jade Palmer


Jason Barnard
27 years old
A multi-disciplinary circus performer with a compelling stage presence, Jason started at Zip Zap when he was just 8 years old, for an initial 4 years. After moving to the United Kingdom, he returned when he was 19. He is one of South Africa’s premier jugglers performing the only gravity juggling act in the country. Jason is super talented, was a top achiever in the vocational circus programme and the recipient of awards acknowledging his versatile achievements. He has performed across the globe and currently also teaches and motivates the younger generation.

Phelelani (Ree) Ndakrokra
25 years old
Known as ‘Remember,’ he was born on the streets of Cape Town. Ree is a natural performer and joined Zip Zap in 2010. Subsequently his career in circus exploded at a spectacular pace. Ree has remarkable physicality, blended artfully with intense creative expression, captivating audiences. His first international tour was to the Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain in 2012. He has since performed as one of the leads in all national productions, most notably the Match in Africa #6, hosted by the Roger Federer Foundation. Ree is a powerful, passionate, and dazzling character that radiates to his audience. He is a multi-talented acrobat, his specialties being Cyr Wheel and straps.

Jacobus (Trompie) Claassen
27 years old
Affectionately known as ‘Trompie’, he was introduced to Zip Zap in 2009. Jacobus was attracted to dance, acting and circus as a medium to express himself. This foundation prepared him to expand his repertoire to become the resident clown. Jacobus has flourished as a performer and excelled at circus disciplines unicycle, juggling and tumbling. He’s performed around the world and was also the main character in a Canadian documentary ‘First Man’ for 5 months. He performs hand-to-hand, Cyr wheel, Risley and is a talented acrobat. His sense of fun, comedy and his quirky character makes him an endearing audience favourite!

Aviwe Mfundisi
24 years old
Aviwe joined Zip Zap’s outreach programme in 2011. His rise through the various circus training levels can be defined as ‘meteoric’. His innate skills in ring juggling and acrobatics are exemplary and when fused with his passionate character, he is an outstanding performer. He has performed in Africa, Switzerland, France, and Spain. In 2016 he took part in a circus arts and cultural exchange in Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean. He now instructs and motivates programme beneficiaries. A warm, generous spirit this performer is fueled by determination and infectious enthusiasm. His specialties are ring juggling, Chinese pole, and comedy acrobats.

Jade Palmer
19 years old
Jade has been a dedicated Zip Zap student for over 11 years having started in the beginners programme. An enthusiastic and talented aerial artist, Jade has performed in over 10 productions including her highlight Match in Africa #6 in Cape Town. She’s creative, artistic and an all-round performer on specialties: Scarf, single and triple trapeze.

Jemma-Rose Nelson
20 years old
She started at Zip Zap Circus when she was 10 and is a versatile acrobat and performer. Jemma has dazzled audiences in all of Zip Zap’s local and some international tours, her highlight being the Leu Tempo Festival on Reunion Island in 2017. A dynamic and energetic performer, Jemma specializes in triple trapeze, lyra and single trapeze.

Isobel Jane Rossouw
19 years old
Isobel is a passionate circus performer who has been training at Zip Zap since 2010 when she was just 9 years old. She is an expressive, gracious, and uber-talented performer that mesmerizes her audience with skill, art, and beauty. Isobel has performed in Switzerland, Reunion Island, USA, France, and Namibia. Isobel is also a flute and piccolo player with a love for music and dance. Her circus specialties include: Scarf, contortion,