OCCUPATION: Circus Performer
ABOUT: Shannon and her husband Glenn live and breathe the life of a travelling circus family and have an extremely irregular routine. Every day is different as they travel around Australia in their caravan, which they call home for 11 months of each year.
The circus family consists of Glenn’s mother and stepfather who own the show, four of Glenn’s siblings plus their partners and 13 children, ‘I love living with my family, they are more than just family, they’re also my friends and we are like our own little community.’
Their children have a different life to most kids as they are performers in the circus and their schooling consists of an hour each day with their on-site teacher. The children don’t go to bed until 11.00pm as they are normally too hyper after a show.
The West’s don’t have a weekend like a ‘normal’ family; it’s their busiest time over the weekend performing two shows each on Saturday and Sunday. Sometimes when they arrive in a new town they will head to the local pub for dinner with the children.
WIFE: Shannon (32) ran away from home at 16 to join the circus. The Stardust Circus taught her everything she knows, from handling the animals to performing as a high-flying trapeze artist. The family took her in as one of their own and this is where she met Glenn, who was born into the circus.
‘I love circus life. It’s not nine-to-five, it’s all over the shop and you have got to be prepared to do anything. I don’t like working to a schedule.’
Shannon ensures the caravan is cleaned every day, she is constantly sweeping floors, folding and generally tidying up as the caravan gets pretty dirty, ‘I take care of all the cooking, cleaning, washing and other household duties. I am the main care-giver for the children and make sure they are fed, clothed and schooled.’
Shannon doesn’t have a beauty routine, she’ll only wear make-up if she’s going out or performing in the show, ‘I’m certainly not the sort of person who wears make up to the shops.’
HUSBAND: Glenn (41) is kept busy with circus duties during the day and he looks after the finances. He has quite a few roles in the show as the catcher on the flying trapeze and the springboard act, as well as the back-up for working with the lions. He also has to put up the rigs and the big top when they have to move anywhere. Glenn and Shannon rarely have a falling out, although she wishes he would spend less time at the pub with his friends.
CHILDREN: Memphis (9), Cassius (6) and Pesaeus (1). ‘Our kids are very independent and have grown up a lot faster with them having to deal with the public.’
PETS: 17 horses, four lions, seven monkeys and three dogs who all perform in the show, they also have a riding pony.