Staff Biographies

CircEsteem has grown to such an amazing program because of the countless hours and limitless energy given by circus professionals, curious volunteers, and excited educators, passing on what they know. Our staff has gone on to tour with circuses as acrobats and clowns, gone to public and private schools bringing circus to their classrooms and started outreach programs of their own.

Maribeth Joy – Executive Director

Maribeth joined CircEsteem in 2004 for its 4th Spring Circus as a stage manager, photographer and costume maker. She toured North and South America doing wardrobe and make up for Blue Man Group and has worked as a costumer and photographer with the Hawaiian Islands Community Circus Unity Project. She has led CircEsteem on tours [...]

Monica George – Director of Operations

Monica has grown up attending CircEsteem shows to see her brother Mason’s performances throughout the years. Upon her graduation with two degrees from Oberlin College in spring of 2013, Monica came back to Chicago and was immediately drawn to volunteer at CircEsteem’s HomeWork & CircusWork program. Realizing she had a passion for social circus and [...]

Andrew Tham – Administrative Coordinator

Andrew graduated from Cornell College with a Bachelor of Arts in Music and English. Upon graduating in 2011, he became deeply involved in the new music scene in his hometown of Chicago, serving as an arts administrator and intern for Access Contemporary Music and the International Contemporary Ensemble.  He is also a co-founder of Parlour [...]

Eric Emert – Technical Director

Eric side-stepped into the circus world in the early days of CircEsteem. He started in 2001 with little more then a background in Fine Arts and some juggling skills. Now he can happily add walking on the rolling glob, poi, juggling, and teaching. Eric has almost as much fun learning these new skills as he [...]

Samuel Sake

Samuel joined CircEsteem in 2005 as a refugee from Ethiopia. His favorite circus skills are juggling, walking on the globe, unicycling, tumbling, and the gym wheel. In May of 2009, he traveled to Switzerland to compete in the Gym Wheel World Championship, where he represented Ethiopia. As a graduate of CircEsteem, he coaches gym wheel, [...]

Kasumi Kato – HomeWork & CircusWork Coordinator

Born and raised in Atlanta, Kasumi graduated with distinction from Georgia State University from the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies with a degree in Public Policy and Economic Development. She has been in youth and family circuses since the age of four. She began teaching when she was 16 and performing professionally at the [...]

Mason George

Mason George is a former CircEsteem youth. From his beginning in 2001, Mason’s focuses have been juggling and balance with a dash of clowning. For Mason, Circus is a family both in the sense that he grew up with CircEsteem and in how his entire family works or has worked for the organization at some [...]

Pam Chermansky

Our Circus Tots teacher and most recent summer camp director, Pam Chermansky is CircEsteem’s Clown-In-Residence. Her clown persona, Mme Boustière  was inspired by Marcel Marceau the world’s most famous mime with whom she trained and worked. Pam has worked for Big Apple Circus Clown Care for the past ten years during the week in which [...]

Maegen Bohac

This is Maegen’s first time in the Circus World. She has been a part of the Tumbling and Trampoline world since she was three years old and started competing at the age of five. Within that time she placed at many different competitions, won State and National Champion in tumbling, a gold medal at the [...]

Lizzy Gifford – Aerial Arts, Hoops

Elisabeth Gifford has been swinging, flipping and spinning her way through the circus industry since the age of twelve when the late, great Reg Bolton taught her to walk on stilts and have faith in her own abilities. She has a bachelor degree in circus arts from Australia’s National Institute of Circus Arts, where she trained with Arturo [...]

Tera McBlaine – Aerials

After graduating from University of California- Berkeley with a degree in Anthropology, Tera McBlaine started training at the Circus Center in San Francisco.  She focused on Static Trapeze with some Spanish web, Chinese Pole, swinging trapeze and stretching technique.  A move to New York came with new opportunities to pick up more skills in silks, hammock [...]

Andy Monson – Circus Instructor

Andy Monson is a Chicago artist who has spent years working in theatre and circus.  He holds an acting degree from Roosevelt University where he studied commedia as well as other forms of clowning.  His first exposure to circus came from the Gamma Phi Circus of Illinois State University where he studied and later instructed in [...]

Colin Creveling – Unicycling and Stilt Walking

Colin focuses heavily upon looking at society from an adolescent android’s perspective of the world; an escapist who revels in exploring the art of play. Colin is CircEsteem’s specialist in advanced unicycling and stilt-walking, and whether it be circus, singing, painting, or any number of mixed media, he creates a world of unbridled mischief and desires to [...]

Jamie Olah – Spring Circus Director

Jamie Olah is a Chicago-based theatre artist and educator.  She is the founder of Firefly Storytelling and the co-founder of Grassroots Theatre Project, where she served as Artistic Director.  She is a former company member of DalVivo Theatre and The Moving Dock Theatre Co.  Her training includes red nose clown with Paola Coletto, physical theatre with [...]