But for James (aged 27) this was no passing fancy. Already a proficient juggler, he was determined to gain a greater knowledge of the circus and at the same time develop his skills to turn into a career.
So he quit his rented accommodation, and for a summer season all went according to plan. James joined Circus Ferrel; performed as a trapeze artist and occasionally as a clown, gaining loads of experience and skills along the way.
But the circus life is not a well paid one and at the end of the season James had not been able to save any money and could not afford to pay for private accommodation for the winter.
He had nowhere to go and turned and to Norwich City Council’s housing department to help. They pointed him in the direction of YMCA Norfolk’s Central accommodation next to the bus station. Despite being older that most residents, James was offered a place to stay.
“Staying at the YMCA has given me the opportunity to have a more stable life and develop my love for juggling and my desire to build a business around it,” he said.
James is no ordinary juggler. He juggles not only with balls and clubs but also knives and with fire and even with people.
Staff at the YMCA loved his juggling skills so much that they even asked him to perform at their Annual Celebration held at the Open venue in Norwich, where he was a great hit.
James is also keen to pass on some on his skills to anybody that has a desire to learn them.
Whilst living at the YMCA he has started providing circus skills workshops for vulnerable adults at Under 1 Roof, worked with Hocus Pocus Theatre and the Madder Market Theatre on various productions and is now filming a internet series for Norwich School of Art and Design and RedRam productions to be released later in the year.
He has also been able to focus on building his own business in entertainment, through the Princes Trust business enterprise scheme, which has helped him realise an idea he has been working on for a long time. And bookings have started to come in, including one at the region’s largest wedding show produced by Archant next February.
James said: “Norwich needs a place for performers like myself to use as a spring board to promote themselves and the skills they have; to this end I have created Digby’s Consortium, named after Mark Digby a retired, world renowned acrobat. This Consortium is a collective of performers that work independently and with each other to promote the circus arts in Norfolk and to train and motivate others.”
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