While his high school classmates were prepping to start their college careers at places like Murdoch University, Curtin or UWA, Damian Syred was busy planning his circus.
The young man from Western Australia dreamed of becoming a classic circus owner. It’s a goal he achieved in 2007 and one he’ll continue to realize when the Big Top comes to Katherine for three shows only on June 25 and 26.
“It’s like going to work and playing for two-and-a-half hours,” Mr Syred, 31, said.
Although he’s a first-generation circus owner, Mr Syred grew up a dreamer.
As a toddler, he loved watching circus shows on television, and frequently play-acted being a circus star. His parents and grandparents and several other Syred-family members all lived near Perth. Dad, Murray played football in the Perth league.
After selling hot dogs and show bags during school holiday stints at circus shows visiting Perth, young Damian set about teaching himself some serious money management skills via a short career at Bank West.
Investments in the share market and paid work experience in touring shows in New Zealand led to him buying the established Circus Royale in 2007.
“I made a pretty good chunk of change as a student selling show bags,” Mr Syred said. "So I knew there was serious money in owning a large circus. My grandparents Natalie and Peter Syred are farmers and I was always playing circus with their animals as a kid.”
Mr Syred said he loved everything circus from his first smell of the sawdust and grease paint.
“I love the travel,” he said. “We travel by road – there are 40-plus people that travel in my circus plus horses, baby camels, llamas, and dogs. It’s just great the stuff that you get to see out your truck window as you travel Australia.”
What Katherine locals will get to see when Circus Royale pulls into Katherine Showgrounds on June 25h and 26 is what Mr Syred says is “the best circus yet.”
The show includes all new acts for 2013.
A world class high-wire motor bike act featuring John Fossett from the famous UK circus family.
There are some fabulous acrobatics from the Miller Duo who make high speed spinning and staying upright on fast moving roller skates look ridiculously easy - the colourful Mexican Family Reyes give traditional slapstick a modern make-over and have great fun with the audience.
From the genteel display of ponies, llamas and dogs to the thrilling fast juggling - this show will have your kids sitting open-mouthed in wonder.
And at its very heart will stand the former dreamer, now, the new custodian of Circus Royale, ringmaster Damian Syred.
“Growing up, I did all the things kids do. I tried to have a cool haircut and wear cool clothes,” he said. “As ringmaster I get to seriously dress up, I love that. No less than 20 costume changes per show.”
WANT TO GO?
What: Damian Syred’s All New 2013 Circus Royale
Where: Katherine Showgrounds
When: June 25, 7.30pm and June 26, 4pm and 7.30pm
Cost: $15 to $40