Big top dreams become business reality

Antrim woman starts her own circus company

  • Sara Greene of Antrim practices for her upcoming circus season. Staff photo by Ashley Saari

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, June 20, 2016 6:55PM

To the crowd under the big top, the circus is all about effortless magic. Behind the scenes, it’s all effort and coordination.

Sara Greene of Antrim has felt a pull to the circus since her early 20s, when she first met and started training with a street troupe in Europe. Her fascination is so strong, in fact, that is has led to her starting her own big-top venture, Granite State Circus.

“From the beginning, the big top was this magic thing to me,” said Greene. “It’s something where I can be physical and work with animals and be creative. It’s really a perfect combination of work. It just made wonderful sense to me.”

After more than a year of preparation, Granite State Circus is set to have its debut summer season, opening July 2 through Sept. 5 at Weirs Beach in Laconia with their show “Dream, Baby, Dream.”

“It’s about all different kinds of dreams,” said Greene. “The dreams you have when you’re asleep, daydreams, the American dream, inventor dreams, ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream.’”

Though this will be the circus’ first official summer season, Granite State Circus has come together to hold two benefit shows in late December for the past two years to benefit a local cause – first the family of the late Rick Davis, a circus educator from Temple, who was at the time fighting brain cancer, and last year to benefit local youth circus programs.

Greene’s troupe will be practicing independently before coming together to perform the show together this summer. Greene herself has been practicing her animal and aerial acts at her boyfriend’s farm in Amherst in preparation.

“A lot of people told me that it’s impossible. You can’t do the big company show here,” said Greene. “But I don’t think that’s true. I think you have to be this size to be successful and survive.”

Greene said she’ll be running her circus under a more European model, where the company works collaboratively to both perform and run the behind the scenes and day-to-day workings of the circus, such as putting up the big top and selling tickets and concessions.

Greene, who has worked professionally with Big Apple Circus, said she has always known that was the model she wanted to work with. When she worked for Big Apple, she said, she was working on managing the big top, but not able to use all of her performance skills. While writing, managing and performing in her own show is an exhausting endeavor, she said, it combines all of the things that first made her fall in love with circus.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 and asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.