Meet the Team

Lucy Francis-Litton (Company Director)

  • Professional Aerialist & Acrobat, Head Trainer, Creative Director & Choreographer of AirCraft Circus Performance

Before life in the Circus, Lucy spent numerous hours either upside down, cartwheeling or leapfrogging literally everywhere!  Aged 12 years old, Lucy’s passion of gymnastics grew to obsession.  Transferring over to Sports Acrobatics so she could specialise in Tumbling and group Acrobatics, she soon became a member of the National squad and was a National competitor for many years.  Aged 18, in order to continue her training, she moved to Leeds Metropolitan University (Beckett Park Campus) to study for a degree in Sport and Exercise Science. The opportunity arose for Lucy to take up High Diving as a side-line hobby!  Her obsessive nature and determination for perfection, led her to become British Masters High Diving Champion in 1998 & 1999.  This gave her a great grounding to become an all-round International Circus Acrobat and Aerialist. 

In 1998, after auditions, Lucy was selected to participate in the Circus Training programme for the New Millennium Experience Company, which led into performing in the Millennium Dome Central Show during the year 2000.  Following on from this Aerial spectacular, Lucy learnt Swinging Trapeze and went off to Ibiza for a summer season Swinging in Privilidge Nightclub for The Good Ship Manumission.  In 2002 she had the opportunity to realise one of her life-long ambitions, the Flying Trapeze.  After performing in front of The National Theatre and spending the summer flying around in the air, Lucy broke her neck and had to be pinned back together with a metal plate!  Not to be put off by this forced ‘rest’, Lucy fought back to the Circus world, and went on to amaze audiences all around the World with her spectacular and daring acts. Her mains acts are acrobalance, triples trapeze, doubles hoop and fire poi. A unique performer, in a league of her own.

Alongside performing, Lucy has 20 years experience as a circus trainer and is now the director of AirCraft Circus Academy and AirCraft Circus Performance company. She continues to wow audiences around the globe with new and exciting acts and shows.

Highlight Credits Include: Sizzling Hot Circus 2019, The Greatest Showman Performances 2018, Boudoir Circus & Midsummer Circus at Howthelightgetsin Festival 2018, The Last Supper 2017 at GCF, Boudoir Circus at the Underbelly Festival 2017, Dark Circus Party Halloween Ball 2017, Torture Garden Halloween Ball 2017, Secret Cinema Moulin Rouge 2017, Midsummer’s Night Circus 2016, New Years eve “Parade” 2015 Doha, HowTheLightGetsIn Festival 2015, London Orbit Grand Opening 2014, Wilderness Festival 2014, The Box Soho 2014, London Olympics Opening Ceremony 2012, MTV Awards 2012 Frankfurt, Download Festival 2011, Wella International 2009, Erotica Show Olympia 2005, P&O Cruise: Arcadia Launch Circus Show 2004, Royal Albert Hall 2002, Royal Opera House 2001-2004, Speedo Stage Show 2002, The National Theatre Flying Trapeze 2002, The Good Ship Manumission Ibiza Swinging Trapeze 2001, Adidas Stage Show 2001

 

Nik Litton (Operations Director, Rigger, Performer)

Nik came late to the circus world.  In 1999, at the age of 32, he moved to London to study on the Circus Space's first BA degree in circus arts.  It was a transformative experience, which paved the way for a life within the UK circus industry.  Nik followed on from his degree, as a catcher with The Flying Dudes, for 2 seasons, as an Acrobalance base with his now wife, Lucy Francis-Litton, & as a unicycling/juggling Mad Hatter with Curious Company.  Throughout the early noughties, to make ends meet, Nik mixed performing work with teaching work at the old Circus Space.  Until 2008, Nik was a regular teacher for The Circus Space (now NCCA); on their adult evening programme, youth circus, & corporate programme & for 2 years was also a 2-day/week Facilities technician & occasional duty manager.

In 2001, Nik also started working with Alex Frith on a kids' clown show.  Using all of their combined equipment & skills, it soon became evident that they needed a space to train/rehearse.  In April 2002 Nik & Alex co-founded the original Hangar to meet these needs.  This commitment to circus arts has been maintained ever since, in several different guises.  First, from 2002-2007 as a live/work space called The Hangar.  Second, from 2007-2018, as the charity Hangar Arts trust; and now the third incarnation of “The Hangar”, known as AirCraft Circus Academy, which opened in 2018, with Nik & Lucy at the helm.

Nik is primarily focused on the rigging of circus.  However, he still performs with his wife Lucy to this day.

Some career highlights include; Sizzling Hot Circus 2019, Submersion at the Royal Naval College 2018, Boudoir Circus at the Underbelly Festival 2017, Secret Cinema Moulin Rouge 2017, 'Parade' show New Year's Eve 2015 Doha, Howthelightgetsin Festival 2015 & 2018, Canary Wharf Spiegaltent 2014/15, O2 Arena World Skills 2011), Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, Village Underground, National Theatre, The Hippodrome, London, acrobalance in front of Prince Charles (2004) & Lady Sarah Ferguson (2018) & at the Golden Jubilee at Buckingham palace (2002), teaching flying trapeze to celebrities; Charlie Dimmock, Pennie Smith & Sadie Frost, performing as a juggling/unicycling clown in Pagliacci, at the Royal Opera House (2003), rigging & performing at Download festival (2011), Teeter-board base work for CGI-effects in Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory (2007), rigging work on Britain's Got Talent (2014), London Olympics closing ceremony (2012), running a circus skills pilot training scheme for Esther Benjamin's Trust in Kathmandu (2010).

 

 

Hayley Ingle (Aerialist & Trainer) 

While growing up Hayley loved dance and drama classes and later graduated from the University of Wales Aberystwyth with a BA Honours degree in Drama and Spanish.  She then went on to work as an actress in touring theatre shows across the UK for the following 2 years.

After moving to London, Hayley worked as an actress and entertainer and discovered her love for aerial arts. She first embarked on her circus journey at AirCraftCircus Academy, where she trained on the foundation course in 2012, a move that completely reshaped her life.  She continued her acting career with the addition of her new circus skills and developed into a professional circus artist.

In 2015 she completed the professional course at Gravity Circus Centre specializing in Rope. Hayley performs multiple aerial acts including Rope, Silks, Hoop, and Static Trapeze as a solo artist at festivals, cabarets and corporate events; and as part of duos and triples trapeze with AirCraftCircus Performance Company. Hayley also teaches aerial arts to children, adults and professional artists here at ACA and other circus venues.



Daisy Vincent (Aerialist & Trainer)

Daisy started her gymnastics and acrobatics training at age 6 back in Switzerland, competing at regional and national level. She then turned her training towards rhythmic gymnastics and later, martial arts and dance.

It is only after moving to the UK that she decided to go back to her original training, took up tumbling again and then discovered her passion for aerial circus arts. She started learning aerial hoop in the Aircraft Circus Academy adult program, later adding vertical rope and aerial silks to her set of skills. Due to her gymnastics background, Daisy tends to favour the dynamic side of the apparatus and quite enjoys spinning and swinging sequences!

She first performed on aerial hoop at Aircraft Circus Academys’ very own Greenwich Circus Festival and has been performing ever since on aerial hoop, rope and straps all over the country. Daisy recently decided to join the floor circus family by learning Cyr wheel.

Outside of circus arts, Daisy regularly performs across the UK as a flamenco dancer with Escuela de Baile Londres. She has been teaching at AirCraftCircus Academy now for the past 4 years and teaches the youth, adults and professional students in acrobatic and aerial disciplines.

 

 

Adrian Martel (Aerialist, Contortionist, Trainer) 

Also known as Andromeda Circus, Adrian originally trained in Ballet, Contemporary and Modern dance.  His circus training began with Stilts and Fire performing in 1999, and silks training in 2006.  In 2007, Adrian graduated in Physical Education at Las Palmas de Gran Canaria & Barcelona University, before moving to the UK in 2008, where he joined us at AirCraftCircus Academy.  Here he developed other skills, such as aerial net, hoop, rope, web and straps. 

In 2012, Adrian started taking contortion classes with Iona Luvsandorj (Guiness Record Winner) to improve his flexibility, but his enthusiasm and focus soon took him to a performance standard and now he is performing this skill around the world.

Andromeda began teaching in 2000 as an Activities Leader at camps in Spain. In 2006 he started teaching dance in Valsequillode Gran CanariaDance and Music Council School. And in 2008 he started teaching PE at schools in Spain.

Andromeda has been a member of AirCraftCircus Company since 2009 where he was  performing and teaching a variety of circus skills alongside his “circus family”.

He just moved back to London from Australia where he taught contortion and aerial on regular basis in pole and circus schools (PDA, Love Pole, Miss Fit, Umbilico) and stretching/conditioning in dance schools (Village on Broadway, Dance Central) along side workshops.

 

Merryn Novelle (Aerialist & Trainer)

Merryn completed the Foundation Course in Circus Arts at AirCraft Circus Academy in December 2017, and having fallen in love with circus, decided to complete the Intermediate Course; which she graduated from in June 2018.

Merryn originally trained in dance and drama from a young age, and after deciding she wanted a future career as a performer, she joined an award winning dance troupe, and went on to perform with them for four years.

Moving to London to study at AirCraftCircus Academy gave her a new direction as a performer and she hasn't looked back since! She loves being part of the teaching team, and since her graduation from the course she has enjoyed performing as part of AirCraft Circus Performance.

Merryn is now a trainer at AirCraftCircus Academy specialising in Dance, Act Creation and Performance.

 

 

Michelle Zahner (Aerialist & Trainer)

Michelle started learning static trapeze with Vulcana Women's Circus in Brisbane in 2008, when she (mistakenly) assumed that starting university would leave her with spare time to pick up a new skill. She was wrong about the spare time, but she was right to start learning, as static trapeze has now been her first and main love for 10 years. She soon began teaching and performing with Vulcana appearing in shows including Grave Tales of Notable Women, String Theory, Tipping Point and Fluid. 

Michelle has branched out with her training over the years; adding some acro-balance, hula-hoop, tightwire, aerial hoop and the odd bit of juggling to her repertoire. She particularly enjoys creating circus acts with unusual objects or pairings, her favourites so far have been a Static Trapeze/Hula Hoop mash up (Tra-poola-hoop), and an acro-balance routine on a step ladder. 

Michelle also works as an actress and has recently completed a tour of her first one woman show "A Modern Guide to Heroism and Sidekickery" through Australian and UK fringe festivals. In her spare time she works on a small city farm in Waterloo and is learning stage combat. She admits that she may not really understand the concept of spare time!

 

 

Polly Witherick (Aerialist, Acrobat & Trainer) 

After years of competing as a high level acrobatic gymnast Polly found her way into circus when she successfully auditioned for the National Centre for Circus Arts youth circus program. She initially specialized in tightwire and soon after joining she realised she wanted to turn this new passion into a career.

Polly then went on to study Contemporary Circus and graduated from the National Centre for Circus Arts’ degree program in 2017, with her main discpline being Cyr Wheel. Whilst training, Polly continued to develop her acrobatic and aerial skills in a technical and creative manner, as well as furthering her theatre and dance experience. Alongside her cyr wheel training Polly also focused greatly on hand-balancing and contortion training, two disciplines she’d carried forward from her gymnastic training.

Since graduating Polly has been performing with an array of disciplines and acts all around the world in a variety of different shows and events. As well as performing she has also spent her time teaching circus and gymnastics to all ages, including workshops in local schools.

 

Charlotte Dawson (Aerialist, Acrobat & Trainer) 

Charlotte is originally trained in elite gymnastics, contemporary dance and musical theatre, before diving into the circus world, graduating from the National Centre of Circus Arts in 2014.

When Charlotte was tiny- though not much bigger than she is now... She has always been into sports such as basketball, tennis, running and generally keeping active. There was no stopping her climbing trees, kicking high past her shoulders, twirling around the front room, playing football or bouncing from one trampoline to another trampoline- and sofa to sofa! This is probably why her mum sent her into more constructive activities! With a supportive family behind her, she chose to do a degree in circus arts which has led to her career as a circus artist and trainer.

Specialising in straps, hoop, dance and acrobatics, Charlotte has performed around the world including Australia (2016) with the all girl circus troupe Les Femmes Circus. She thoroughly enjoyed performing in Sizzling Hot Circus with Aircraft Circus Performance 2019; as part of Greenwich Circus Festival 2018; Citrus Arts performing ‘Ceirw-Savage Hart’ 2015-2018; ‘Come Fly with Me’ Brighton Festival 2016; Brighton Festival 2015; Wilderness Festival 2015; and the  Royal Variety Show in 2012.

Charlotte has been teaching circus skills and gymnastics to all ages from 2014. She has been part of the Aircraft Circus teaching team and performance company since 2016. She trains adults, youth, and full time students. There is no denying that Charlotte feels ‘at home’ while she teaches and performs.

When Charlotte is not teaching, performing or training, she spends time with her family, cooking and trying to bring her feet back to the ground.