Meet the Team

Lucy Francis-Litton (Company Director, Choreographer, Trainer, Performer)

Originally from Norfolk, Lucy trained as a gymnast and dancer, before specialising in tumbling and sports acrobatics, which she competed at National level for many years. Aged 18, she moved to Leeds to study for a degree in Sport and Exercise Science at LMU Beckett Park Campus, mainly so she could continue her competing in acrobatics. Here she took up high board diving as a side-line and became British Masters High Diving Champion (1998 & 1999). She then moved to London to join the Circus Training programme for the New Millennium Experience Company, which led into performing in the Millennium Dome Central Circus Show during the year 2000. Following on from this Aerial spectacular, Lucy continued learning circus skills and took up Swinging Trapeze and spent a summer season Swinging in Privilege Nightclub for The Good Ship Manumission. In 2002 she had the opportunity to fulfil 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, unfortunately Lucy broke her neck! After a period of forced ‘rest’, Lucy fought back to the Circus world, via the stripping world, and continued to perform and wow audiences all around the World for the next 15 years, focusing on acrobalance, triples trapeze, doubles hoop and fire. Alongside her performing career, with multiple forced rest periods due to motherhood and injuries, already a qualified Gymnastics instructor, Lucy started to train people in circus at the National Centre for Circus Arts from 2001. She was an aerial and acrobatics trainer for the Degree, Adults, Youth, Corporate and Intro Day programmes, before becoming the Head Trainer at AirCraft Circus Academy in 2009. Lucy also directs and choreographs the AirCraft Circus Performance Companies shows. Highlight Credits: Shows: Cirque Du Dix, The Flying Saucers, Sizzling Hot Circus, Showman, Boudoir Circus, Midsummer Circus, Dark Circus Party, Torture Garden, Secret Cinema Moulin Rouge, Royal Albert Hall Carmen, Royal Opera House The Bartered Bride & La Ronnie. Festivals: HowTheLightGetsIn, Underbelly, Wilderness, Download, Glastonbury. Events: London Orbit Grand Opening, London 2012 Opening Ceremony, MTV Awards Frankfurt, Erotica, Wella International, Speedo, Adidas, P&O Cruise: Arcadia Launch, The Box Soho.

Nik Litton (Operations Director, Rigger, Trainer, Performer)

Originally from Manchester, Nik was always a sporty child climbing trees and jumping off them! He spent most of his youth playing and coaching squash, and later juggling on a beach in Kefalonia, renting mopeds for income! Nik found his way to the circus world quite late, at age 32, where he ran away to London to study a degree at the National Centre of Circus Arts. Graduating in 2001, specialising as an aerial cradle catcher and acrobalance base, Nik teamed up with Lucy Francis and joined 'The Flying Dudes' for a summer season of flying trapeze in 2002. Nik also worked as a unicylist and juggling mad hatter with curious company; and as a kids entertainer with Alex Frith. Since Nik spent a lot of time climbing as a youngster it wasn't long before he naturally gravitated towards the technical and rigging side of circus. This committment to circus arts has been maintained ever since, in several disguises. Alongside performing and teaching at the National Centre for Circus Arts, mainly with London Youth Circus and corporate workshops; In 2002, he and Alex Frith co-founded a circus training space in Stratford, called 'The Hangar' 2002-2007. With the Olympicscoming to London it was necessary to relocate this school and the second incarnation became the 'Hangar Arts Trust' 2007-2017 which was co-directed by Alex and his wife Moira Campbell, and now also Lucy. After Alex and Moira departed for a new life in Australia in 2017, Nik and Lucy founded the third incarnation of the school, now called 'AirCraft Circus Academy'; a not-for-profit circus school in 2018. Nik mainly focuses on the technical direction of the building, although still performs his acrobalance act with Lucy from time to time and teaches flying trapeze and juggling. Some career highlights include teaching celebrities Sadie Frost, Penny Smith and Charlie Dimmock to fly on the trapeze; performing acrobalance in front of Prince Charles and Lady Sarah Ferguson at the Golden Jubilee at Buckingham Palace; juggler in Pagliacci at the Royal Opera House; Teeterboard base for Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory; Rigging on Britain's Got Talent; Rigging London 2012 Closing Ceremony; performing and rigging for Secret Cinema Moulin Rouge and circus trainer for Esther Benjamin's Trust in Kathmandu.

Hayley Ingle (Aerial Trainer & Performer) 

Hayley has always loved dance and drama classes and graduated from the University of Wales Aberystwyth with a BA Honours degree in Drama and Spanish. She spent the next 2 years acting in touring theatre shows across the UK. Hayley moved to London to work as an actress and here discovered her love for aerial arts, at AirCraft Circus Academy. Hayley completed the foundation course in 2012, which reshaped her life, as she developed into a professional circus artist. In 2015 she completed the professional course at Gravity Circus Centre specialising in rope. Hayley now 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 AirCraft Circus Academy.

Charlotte Dawson (Aerial & Acrobatic Trainer & Performer) 

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. 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.

Merryn Novelle (Aerial Trainer & Performer)

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 has always had a keen interest in all creative aspects of performance, on and off stage, and during her time at AirCraft Circus developed her skills as both a performer and technician. Since graduating from AirCraft's circus courses, Merryn has enjoyed working with AirCraft Circus in many different roles, and continues to develop her practice and work creatively both onstage and behind the scenes.

 

Yma Ziranek Wilson (Aerial Trainer & Performer)

Yma was born and raised in London, and began training circus at the National Centre of Circus Arts as a member of the London Youth Circus. Initially planning on going away to university, Yma realised that she wanted to pursue her passion for a life in the arts. She began training again on the Foundation Course at Aircraft Circus, in 2016. Once graduated, she joined the Aircraft Circus professional performance company and continuing performing in their shows; both in and out of house with a variety of acts including doubles, triples and dance trapeze, fire and contortion. In 2018, she moved to Portugal for a year where she attended a circus course at Instituto Nacional de Artes do Circo, specialising in single point trapeze. Currently back in London, Yma has been performing in both traditional and contemporary circus, and the cabaret scene. She also teaches a range of aerial disciplines to both youth and adults, in evening classes, courses, parties, and workshops.

Miley Einhorn (Aerial Trainer & Performer)

Miley was born in Argentina, where she started her career as a circus performer training in silks and aerial hoop at the Centro Cultural of Universidad de Buenos Aires.  After moving to the UK in 2017, she joined the Foundation programme at Aircraft Circus. Miley then moved to Bristol and completed the two year FDA degree in Contemporary Circus with Physical Theatre at Circomedia, graduating in 2019. Miley then moved back to London and completed the Intermediate full time course at Aircraft Circus. Miley now specialises mainly on aerial hoop, double straps, physical theatre and silks. She is also highly experienced in most circus areas including rope, straps, partner acro, Chinese pole, petite and grand volant, static trapeze, doubles on verticals and hoop, poi and dance.  She has performed several acts across Argentina and the UK as a solo on hoop and silks and as a duo on straps, hoop, silks and rope. As well as performing she enjoys teaching different circus arts to both children and adults.

Lucy Gould (Aerial Trainer)

Lucy trained at the London Centre for Theatre Studies as part of the Actors Company in 2007. Whilst there she discovered a circus school (Circus Space) just minutes down the road and knew where she would be heading after graduation! She signed up for adult evening classes and has never looked back. She joined the Foundation Course in Circus Arts at Aircraft Circus in 2011 and then went on to start a Foundation degree in Contemporary Circus and Physical Performance at Circomedia in Bristol. Unfortunately, her time there was cut short by the unexpected arrival of a baby! Since then she has continued training at Aircraft Circus and joined the Youth Teacher team in early 2016.  Alongside this, Lucy has been working as a professional Children's Entertainer for the last 10 years, performing solo magic shows and running workshops. 

 

Pete Elins (Aerial Trainer)

Pete was born and raised in Latvia and kept himself fit by wrestling. Since moving to London 20 years ago, Pete pretends to be normal by having a regular job, translating Russian and Latvian into English. However, in his spare time he loves nothing more than flying through the air. Pete developed a passion for flying trapeze in 2012, flying with Gorilla Circus at the Hangar Arts Trust, and has been flying and teaching flying trapeze with AirCraftCircus since 2013.  He absolutely loves doing it and is very passionate about teaching it to anyone who has a passion to fly.  Whatever their level or experience. Pete teaches adult and youth classes, private classes and workshops.

 

Korri Singh Aulakh (Aerial & Acrobatic Trainer & Performer)

Korri began circus training at the age of 12 with the London Youth Circus at the National Centre for Circus Arts (NCCA), where he discovered the art of flying trapeze. Using his experience and knowledge from gymnastics and competitive trampolining, swinging in the air becomes effortless. Korri went on to complete a 2 year professional course at NCCA, now specialising in swinging trapeze. He then moved across the Atlantic Ocean to Montreal, to train at the prestigious National Circus School of Montreal, with the world renowned swinging legend, Victor Fomine. Since graduating from here Korri has performed around the world, from intimate cabaret, large scale circus shows, opening and closing ceremonies, TV and cruise ships; also gaining a silver medal at the 2017 Festival du Cirque De Demain in Paris. Korri also has a high level induce trapeze as well as being skilled in many other aerial and acrobatic disciplines, both as a performer and teacher.

 

Cornelius Atkinson (Aerial & Acrobatic Trainer & Performer)

Cornelius was born and raised in London. He started his circus training with Albert and Friends Circus school when he was just 8 years old. Aged 15 he was one of the youngest students to attend our full time circus arts course here at AirCraft Circus Academy. By 16, Corn was already performing in AirCraft Circus's Performance troupe as part of Madame Pain's Boudoir Circus and Midnight Circus. Aged 18 Corn took a trip across the atlantic ocean to train at the presitgeous Ecole Nationale de Cirque, in Montreal. At 22 years old Corn was signed up with Cirque Du Soleil and became a performer in one of their newest shows 'Crystal'. Currently back in London due to temporary closure of all circus shows, Corn is training and teaching here with us at AirCraft Circus Academy.Corn specialises in acrobatic disciplines, straps and doubles trapeze. 

Libby Shilstone (Aerial & Acrobatic Trainer & Performer)

Libby was born and raised in London. Originally trained as a gymnast from the age of 6, she competed in an international competition in Malta and all over England until she was 14. She then transitioned into acrobatic gymnastics and was part of a women’s trio for 3 years. Towards the end of her gymnastics career Libby completed a gymnastics coaching course and achieved her level one coaching qualification. She started her first job aged 16 and has been coaching gymnastics for nearly 3 years, and has worked at different clubs, gaining valuable experience. Aged 18, Libby started going to aerial straps classes in order to expand her talents and transition into the circus world. Straps has inspired Libby to continue her circus journey and she is about to embark on the full time training course here at AirCraft Circus Academy. Alongside Libby's training, she also teaches here on our youth circus programmes.

 

Ephyra Ana (Aerial Trainer & Performer)

Ephyra Ana is an aerialist specialising in aerial silks. She grew up in Essex and was educated in Ballet and contemporary dance. She decided to save up for an aerial silk after seeing Victoria Chaplin’s Le cirque invisible aged seventeen. She explored obsessively in this medium and travelled taking aerial classes and workshops in many countries, whilst pursuing a pole dance career. Her greatest passion is in finding new movement in her discipline and creating a fluid dance in the air. Now settled in London, Ephyra teaches aerial silk classes for Aircraft Circus amid performing and is currently exploring experimental storytelling with aerial silk, and one day plans to found her own circus company. 

Lily Risely-Pritchard (Chinese Pole Trainer & Performer)

Lily began her journey at a young age training tap, ballet and modern dance. After progressing through the ISTD grades including jazz, she went on to study a foundation degree in contemporary dance. At age 19 Lily discovered circus and was accepted onto the Foundation degree at the National Centre for Circus Arts. Specialising in Chinese Pole, and graduating with a BA Honours degree in circus arts, Lily has become a varied circus performer, infusing her contemporary dance background and movement qualities into her circus disciplines. Not only a performer, Lily has been teaching adults and children circus classes, since she graduated and teaches here with us at AirCraft Circus Academy.

 

Polly Witherick (Aerial & Acrobatic Trainer & Performer) 

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 on hand-balancing and contortion. 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.