CONTORTION (Photo by Justin Miel)

MELROSE — 18-year-old circus artist, Eva Lou Rhinelander of Melrose, performs in her 8th and final summer with Circus Smirkus, the award-winning traveling youth circus based in Greensboro, VT.

One of the most beloved family arts events of the New England summer, the 2023 Circus Smirkus Big Top Tour opened July 1 in Vermont and took to the road on a 63 show tour that visits 5 states and 14 towns over the summer, including Gore Place in Waltham for 7 shows July 27-30 and Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm in Newbury for 4 shows August 4-5.

Eva Lou auditioned and was selected to be part of the award-winning troupe that has wowed audiences across New England for more than three decades. The 30 budding circus stars in the 2023 troupe are ages 11 to 18 and bring youthful exuberance and polished circus skills to grace the Big Top from regions across the United States. They hail from 12 states: California (7), Colorado (1), Connecticut (1), Massachusetts (4), Maryland (1), New Hampshire (5), New Jersey (2), New York (3), Oregon (1), Pennsylvania (1), Rhode Island (3) and Wisconsin (1).

Eva Lou recently graduated from Melrose High School and is a hula hooper, contortionist and hand balancer. In mid-August, she will head to Ecole nationale de cirque in Montreal for a college degree in the circus arts.


HULA HOOP BALANCE ACT (Photo by Gordon Miller)


“I first started touring with Circus Smirkus when I was 10 and have since spent my summers touring with the circus. While the physical tricks are the most memorable for the audiences, for me, it’s been the friendships, the travel and the satisfaction of working to get the show down the road. I truly love performing and all the effort it takes to be able to do the things that you see in the show. It has been the hardest, the most fun and the most rewarding experience of my life and I will always cherish my time at Circus Smirkus. Come see the show!”

Celebrating its 36th year, Circus Smirkus is the only traveling ‘tented’ youth circus in the United States performing under traditional European-style circus tents, Circus Smirkus troupers delight and inspire audiences of all ages. Note: there are no animal acts in these performances.

This year’s tour continues the tradition of Smirkus’ annual theme-based shows with The 2023 Big Top Tour: A Midsummer Night’s Circus. The show will feature a vast array of circus arts including: aerials, acrobatics, juggling and clowning, a dazzling display of brilliant costumes and many other surprises. The 2023 Big Top Tour took to the road July 1 and travels through mid-August with a tour caravan that requires some 23 support vehicles and 80 people including performers, coaches, cooks, tech and tent crew and a live circus band playing an original score written specifically for this show. The award-winning circus company performs across New England to approximately 40,000 patrons each summer.   

Visit for a complete tour schedule. Tickets for each performance on the tour are available by calling 1-877-SMIRKUS toll-free. Contact for sponsorship opportunities.


ONE ARM HAND BALANCER (Photo by Danny Frank)