Performers for the 2018 National Folk Festival
Red Trouser Show
photo courtesy of artist
Wilton, New Hampshire
The Red Trouser Show is a never-before-seen combination of precision acrobatics paired with daring feats, such as knife and fire juggling, and a breathtaking final act that ends high in the air. Based in the centuries-old tradition of street performance arts and busking, the Red Trouser Show features Tobin Renwick and David Graham.
Street performance and busking traditions date back millennia, having likely existed as long as there have been cities with streets. Tobin and David have been friends since first grade, when they bonded over a love for the circus. Their elementary school gym teacher was their first instructor in the basics. A professional mime, she knew some circus skills, like juggling and unicycle, which she included in her classes. Every summer since eighth grade, the two boys participated in a program run by the acclaimed international youth circus, Circus Smirkus, and joined the circus full time after high school. They further mastered their craft by studying with members of Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus, the Big Apple Circus, and the Moscow State Circus.
When between circus gigs, Tobin and David ventured into street performing. Enjoying the freedom it gave them to make their own schedule, they haven’t looked back. The Red Trouser Show appears regularly at such street performance hot spots as Boston’s Faneuil Hall and Mallory Square in Key West, as well as busking festivals worldwide. Asked why they call their act the Red Trouser Show, they explained, “We used to call ourselves the Flash, but of course, that name was already taken by a superhero. A friend used to call us ‘the red trousers’ simply because we wear red pants wherever we perform. We thought it had a nice ring to it and from there, it kind of stuck.”
Audiences find themselves unable to turn away from the non-stop action. Tobin and David have been called “amazing acrobats” by ABC News, and “a spectacular and unique act” by the Midnight Circus. These brilliant performers who have taken their show throughout the United States, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, now bring the delightful Red Trouser Show to the 78th National Folk Festival.