Meet the Morecambe teen who ran away to join the circus

A teenager who ran away with the circus returns to perform in her home town for the first time next week.

By Louise Bryning
Friday, 4th March 2022, 12:30 pm

Caitlin Wright is the new ring mistress for Big Kid Circus which will be entertaining audiences in Morecambe from March 9-13, almost two years to the day since they were stranded in the town during lockdown.

It will be the first time that Caitlin has returned to the area where she grew up since fate intervened and she became a ring mistress.

When Big Kid Circus became stranded in Morecambe, Caitlin and her mum offered help, like many people in the town.

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Caitlin Wright, the new ring mistress at Big Kid Circus. Picture by Julie Wright.

But when the circus heard that the 18-year-old was studying performing arts at Kendal College and that her boyfriend, Josh Clayton, had lighting and sound skills, they were asked to join.

“We couldn’t quite take it in at first but it just felt right and couldn’t have happened in a better way,” said Caitlin whose parents, Julie and Gary Wright, live in Heysham.

Caitlin had designs on being a ring mistress but didn’t think women took on that role, until she met Big Kid’s Olympia.

“She told me all about being a ring mistress and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing as that was my dream role,” Caitlin said.

The Big Kid Circus has been stranded in Morecambe since the lockdown due to Coronavirus came into force. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

Caitlin was interested in performing from a young age, training at NRG Dance Studio in Morecambe and having singing lessons with Victoria Munson.

The circus took Caitlin on as understudy ring mistress in June and when Olympia became pregnant and left, the teenager stepped into her shoes and has been doing the job full-time since November.

It’s been a complete change of lifestyle for Caitlin, a former pupil of St Peter’s School in Heysham and Dallam School in Milnthorpe.

Initially, she was sharing a tiny caravan with her boyfriend and their two dogs until they moved to a much bigger caravan for the new season.

“The lifestyle is taking a lot of getting used to. My sleeping pattern has had to change and it’s interesting to hear so many different languages being spoken around me every day,” said Caitlin.

The couple are the only English members of Big Kid Circus which has Ukranian performers among its troupe.

Caitlin can perform in up to four shows a day and has so far travelled to Scotland and various venues in the North of England.

“I’ve always wanted a job where I could travel and with the circus we get to see so many places but I can’t wait to come back to Morecambe and see all my family and friends. At first, some of them couldn’t believe I was actually joining the circus but everyone has been so supportive.”

Apart from all the glitz and glamour of performing, the ring mistress also has an important time management role behind the scenes, making sure the show runs smoothly.

And that will be particularly important when Big Kid Circus plays to sell-out audiences next week. Some of the performances are free as a thank you to Morecambe for the support people provided during lockdown.

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Behind the scenes with the circus troupe stranded in Morecambe due to Covid-19 l...