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Meet our Ukrainian cast and ‘Private Ketley Arron’ who served in Ukraine
“The war may not be headline worthy news to many in the UK in 2023, But for our Ukrainian performers, it is never far from their minds and they live with this very real fear day in and day out while performing and bringing smiles to UK audience.
- Irina Archer | Owner/Director
With 15 Ukrainian artistes amongst their cast, Circus Cortex are doing more than most to support those fleeing from the war-torn country. All staying in the UK on the HOME 2 UKRAINE Scheme, Circus Cortex has provided a home and a workplace for these artistes and their families.
“Artists are delighted to be able to work and do what they love in these difficult times, many of which have lost friends and loved ones due to the crisis back home”
- Irina Archer | Owner/Director
Circus Cortex are touring the UK with their new show, “WARRIORS”.
The paradox is that despite fighting a battle inside their hearts Ukrainian artists are bringing joy and happiness to families across the UK. These artistes are our True Warriors!
Among the team this year is ‘Private Ketley Arron’, a fully qualified Special Forces, Support Group, Operator-mortar man, who served in the British Army around the World on different missions risking his life for nearly 10 years.
Last year Arron went to Ukraine on a mission to support the Ukrainian Army for 6 months, he trained and fought alongside many Ukrainians but never did he imagine that a year on he would be working and supporting Ukraine in a very different way.
Arron has joined us as part of our technical crew, he has proven himself one of our most responsible and dedicated workers, helping with everything not just technical, but also moral based. We are truly blessed to have him working alongside us this season.
Arron joined the parachute regiment in the British army back in 2013 and went to ITC Catterick for his 32 weeks training. He became P-Company’s (Pegasus Company) Champion.
Out of the 56 people who started the training alongside him, only 6 went on to pass.
Arron went on to join the 1st Battalion Parachute regiment Special Forces Support Group SFSG https://www.eliteukforces.info/sfsg/
He had another 6 months ‘Operator training’ phase, followed by 8 months of Mortar training and was awarded the ‘Best Mortarman’ honour.
In 2021 Arron left the British Army and wanting a quieter life decided to worked on his grandad’s farm, however when news of the struggles in Ukraine where made aware to him, He felt he needed to again, put on his uniform and go help. In January 2022 Arron went to Ukraine on a mission to support the Ukrainian Army for 6 months, training them in a multitude of disciplines as well as being called upon to fight alongside them.
Directed and produced by Irina Archer and Paul Archer, the cast includes 15 Ukrainian performers, adding a layer of poignancy to the show and its theme. The performances are awe-inspiring and, because the show takes place in a smaller-scale big top, it has a surprisingly intimate atmosphere compared with some of the larger big-top shows, allowing the audience to feel closer to the performers. In fact, the cast’s ability to connect with and charm the audience is one of the standout aspects of the show.
TELEVISION COVERAGE 2022
Newspaper Articles 2022
NORWICH EVENING NEWS 13/07/2022
THE STAGE REVIEW 11/07/2022
THE STAGE 28/06/2022
SUNDAY MIRROR 12/06/2022
THE DERBY TELEGRAPH 05/06/22
THE YORKSHIRE POST 01/06/22
THE STAR 30/05/22
THE STAR 26/05/22
THE EXAMINER 25/04/22
BBC NEWS 11/04/22
Television Articles 2022 Links
Press Release June 2022
‘FROM WAR TORN UKRAINE TO A CIRCUS RING IN BAKEWELL’
Circus Cortex has the largest percentage of Ukrainian cast members of any Circus in the UK, 16 in total, all of which have been successfully brought to the UK under the 'Homes for Ukraine scheme. They all would like a chance to share their story.
Each and every one of them has spent the last 3 months hiding from Russian forces, seeking shelter from bombs going off, going days without proper food or sleep and walking through the night in the hope that they could reach safety.
We are a very unique circus. We would love an opportunity to share our story
‘BEHIND THE SMILES’
Circus artiste ‘Tetiana Lotiuk’ was caught in Kharkov when the war broke out. Separated from friends and family for nearly 3 months, she left the bombings and travelled for days going without sleep and food to reach the safety of Circus Cortex.
"I decided that I could be killed on the first day of the war, I accepted it. it can happen I just accepted it, like I was living everyday just hoping to wake up tomorrow"
Speaking of her home country Tetiana said, " it's quite hard to go on stage and to have a big happy smile and entertain people because my mind is of those in Ukraine and so is my heart "
‘IT VERY NEARLY DIDN’T HAPPEN’
Due to restart back up this April, everything had to be put on hold when Irina (owner& director) awoke in late February to the news the world was dreading. Russia had invaded Ukraine. The cast had contacted Irina as soon as troops set foot, recounting the sounds of the missiles exploding and indeed of how very scared they all were.
From that moment on,
Irina made it her mission to get as many acts and their families on the move and bring them safely to the UK, with 80% of the cast being Ukrainian this would be no mean feat.
‘CIRCUS CORTEX STANDS WITH UKRAINE’
Circus Cortex has beaten the odds and we are thankful that we have managed to put together a wonderful cast and crew in such a difficult time.
IRINA ARCHER | Director/Owner & Producer Circus CORTEX
Tel: 07967 178785
PAUL ARCHER | Director & General Manager
Tel: 07494 255579