Stephens Auditorium to host a Circus of Marvels


Maike Schulz

photos courtesy of Baylin Artists Management

Meg Grice

A new circus inspired by American innovation will be rolling into Ames on Monday.

According to their website, Cirque Mechanics: “42ft” is “the American Circus, reinvented in timber, steel and ingenuity.”

Though Stephens Auditorium previously hosted Cirk La Putyka and FLIP Fabrique in 2017, Cirque Mechanics had yet to make a stop until now.

This performance was made possible through a partnership with Student Union Board, allowing Stephens to add an acrobatic element to their 2018-19 season as well as offer student tickets at a reduced cost.

Tammy Koolbeck, the executive director for the Iowa State Center, speaks nothing but praise for the show. With Iowa State being a scientific and technological university, she says this show is a great tie-in to the mission of innovative engineering.

“It’s just incredible to watch them,” Koolbeck said. “[They] look fantastic, so I’m really looking forward to seeing the show.”

Additionally, Koolbeck mentions the importance of showcasing a variety of productions, and Cirque Mechanics: “42ft” is no exception. With a run-time of 100 minutes, including a 20-minute intermission, this show is an optimal fit for families with children. Koolbeck would like to see students finding their way over to Stephens as well.

Koolbeck emphasizes the superb control and physicality of the aerialists and acrobats and says that “42ft” is a marvel of circus elements, mechanical surprise and of course, clowns.

The company contains 12 on-stage performers, including two members from Mongolia and one artist from a circus family from Russia. 

Chris Lashua, founder and creative director of Cirque Mechanics, said he has been a fan of the circus world since he can remember. He recognizes the troubles of the modern circus and wants to pay tribute to the timeless art form through evolution.

The story of the performance centers around a circus hopeful as he attempts to make his mark. Other acts include a Russian swing, telephone poll juggling and Lashua’s act of preference.

“My favorite is a juggling act that is performed atop our mechanical horse as it gallops around the ring … which is the perfect way for us to pay tribute to the animal act that is at the center of what we know as the circus,” Lashua said.

Laura Ernst, a circus artist from Des Moines, will also make an appearance as a pre-show speaker. Ernst won first place at the World Juggling Federation in 2008 and performed on “America’s Got Talent” in 2010.

The show begins at 7:30 p.m. in Stephens Auditorium with doors opening at 6:45 p.m. Tickets for Cirque Mechanics: “42ft” run from $30 to $50 for the general public and can be purchased via or by calling the box office. Student tickets are still available for $25 dollars, and student rush tickets will be available for $10 the day of the performance.