It’s a way of life and a com­mit­ment

The People's Friend Special - - HERITAGE -

IWATCHED in awe as Chris and Phoebe from the Bul­lzini Fam­ily walked the tightrope, high off the ground, at Wad­des­don Manor in Buck­ing­hamshire. They’ve cre­ated a fab­u­lous fam­ily show, in­clud­ing amaz­ing feats by Baby Bul­lzini!

I caught up with Chris and Phoebe a few weeks later to talk about their unique act and how it all be­gan.

Chris had an in­ter­est in per­form­ing from an early age, so at the age of nine­teen, fol­low­ing his mum’s pass­ing, he threw four jug­gling balls into a ruck­sack and went in search of his for­tune.

“I didn’t come back for twelve years,” he ex­plained. “I trav­elled to twenty-eight coun­tries and learned five dif­fer­ent lan­guages. I earned money from street per­form­ing, jug­gling, fire per­for­mances, and ly­ing on a bed of nails.

“Then fif­teen years ago I met a girl in Greece. She was a rope walker who taught me the first few steps. I’ve never looked back. I got tu­ition from masters in Bel­gium, France, Kaza­khstan and Cuba.”

While per­form­ing in Bris­tol, he met Phoebe, and there was an in­stant con­nec­tion.

“I was al­ways in­ter­ested in the cir­cus grow­ing up, but I thought you had to be born into it, so I didn’t start out as a per­former,”

Phoebe told me.

“I was a cos­tume maker and I vol­un­teered to help out in a cir­cus in Bris­tol called Carny-ville. It was put on by the In­vis­i­ble Cir­cus, and they had this amaz­ing show of dif­fer­ent acts.

“That’s where I met Chris. We clicked, and af­ter that Chris taught me rope walk­ing, but I’ve also been to BBel­giumli andd SS­paini for f train­ing, and we went to Kaza­khstan to­gether.”

I won­dered, with all this train­ing un­der their belts, whether they were the best rope walk­ers in the UK.

“We’re try­ing to cre­ate an artis­tic and en­ter­tain­ing im­age which plays homage to the tra­di­tion of a no­madic per­form­ing fam­ily,” Chris ex­plained.

“We like to tell sto­ries, touch hearts and souls. So we’re not aim­ing to do the high­est walk or the long­est, but to cre­ate our own unique style and tell sto­ries as we go.

“It’s a way of life and a com­mit­ment: it’s my job. I’ve never done any­thing else for money in my adult life. I think that makes me un­em­ploy­able!”

They cer­tainly have no short­age of book­ings.

“Last year we were booked for Cirque du Soleil and for a part in a Dis­ney

Susie Kear­ley dis­cov­ers how the Bul­lzini Fam­ily be­gan their tightrope­walk­ing jour­ney.

The Bul­lzini bike!

Tak­ing time out on the tightrope.

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