About Vespertine

“The world they create in their performances, that’s where I want to live all the time. – Yelp Review

Ladies and gentlemen, are you looking for an unforgettable show? Step right up! You’ve come to the right place! We aim to inspire – to rekindle an old magic nearly forgotten, to draw audiences into a curious and unlikely world, full of humor and wonder. The Vespertine Circus performs across the continental United States!

The Vespertine Circus (based out of Oakland, CA) is a small collection of young, ambitious oddballs on a quest to spread joy and absurdity. Our troupe is inspired by both the iconic and small, traveling, family-circuses that first swept across America around the late 1800s; and the theatrical, dance-infused, animal-free, indoor contemporary circus movement. We weave circus arts into the context of narrative theater, with characters you can relate to and stories that focus on personal-growth and human relationships.

We believe that artists are the progenitors of culture, enriching us in mind and spirit by broadening our perspective of the world. Arts inspire innovation in technology, deepen our empathy for others, motivate shifts toward healthier lifestyles, and can grant a kind of indescribable spiritual catharsis. As performers, we are moved to attempt seemingly impossible feats, in the hopes that we may challenge what you believe is possible in your own life.

More than a touch otherworldly, we’re the kind of circus you wanted to run away with as a kid.

bunnyzlotnik

The troupe was first conceptualized in 2008 by director & producer Bunny Holmes [Zlotnik] (pictured left) while she was attending school at UC Santa Cruz, though it did not begin having regular performances until June of 2010 after re-locating to Oakland.

For our first two home-seasons, the troupe produced an all-new 90 minute theme show each month to perform locally. Our first tour was in July of 2011; the Vespertine Circus traveled to New Orleans and back with the show “Absolutely Anything“.

By the end of 18 months in action, the Vespertine Circus had written, rehearsed & performed 13 original narrative & character-driven circus shows*. Through this tremendous learning experience, we’ve honed our story-crafting abilities, and are excited to enter a new chapter wherein we will spend more time developing each show, perfect it thoroughly, and travel with it for long periods of time, as well as continuing to perform locally.

July 2012’s show “A Perfect World” took us on a tour to the Pacific Northwest. Our 2013 show – “Important Business”, which opened in January 2013 and ran for the last time on July 31st, 2013, was an office comedy, juxtaposing the whimsy of circus with the droll monotony of office life.

Between 2014 and 2015, we built a grand, interactive, immersive circus-meets-game production called HiNGE, that invited the audience to join the circus crew as a technician and effect the outcome of the show. HiNGE had an all original score that could be changed & manipulated during the production, elaborate costumes crafted by local designers of international acclaim, an iPhone app for further narrative content & interactivity, a set designed and created by Clody Cates & Gaige of NIMBY fame, a life-sized tiger puppet, and even custom fragrances to accompany our set-dressing.

In summer of 2016 with the help of our friends at the Vau de Vire Society, the Vespertine Circus debuted our first big top circus tent show, Midsummer, and adapted Shakespeare’s classic tale for the circus medium. In September 2016, we got mostly-naked at a very silly, unabashedly sexy rock opera tribute to the cult classic Rocky Horror. Circus director, Bunny Holmes, also produced an intimate and immersive, four-location, short theater piece called Two Houses, which brought small audiences through one night within the play Romeo & Juliet.

Our first show of 2017 will be Charlie and the Chocolate Circus, showing for one weekend only April 20th-23rd.

Auditions are held occasionally on a need-to-cast basis, and are announced on our Facebook Page. Apart from our full-ensemble stage shows our performers book around California at private events & festivals year round.

*Themes for shows included: Slumber Party, Pulp Science Fiction, Super Heroes, Zombie Apocalypse, Chrismahanukwanzikah, Steampunk, Fairytale, and Peter Pan, to name a few.

…And for those curious about our name:

Vespertine:

Adjective

1. (zoology) Pertaining to animals which are principally active at dusk.

2. (botany) Pertaining to plants which open or bloom in the evening.

Past Performances:

2016:

The Rocky Horror Circus Show. Great Star Theater, San Francisco, CA. September 16th-18th 2016.

Midsummer. Tortona Circus tent, Alameda, CA. July 22nd 2016.

Two Houses [Alike in Dignity]. Ghost Town, Oakland.

2015:

HiNGE. The Great Star Theater, San Francisco, CA. Nov 6-8 & 13-15th 2015.

Coast of Barbados. The Vagabond Ballroom, Oakland, CA. 2015.

Rites of May. The Vagabond Ballroom, Oakland, CA. 2015.

2014:

The Saddlerack’s Cirque NYE. San Jose, CA. December 31st 2014.

The Vespertine Circus Garden Party. The Playground CoOp. October 18th 2014.

September Benefit for Hinge! The Vagabond Ballroom. September 27th 2014

Unwoman’s album release show, The Vagabond Ballroom. August 8th & 8th 2014.

The Scarring Party West Coast Tour, The Vagabond Ballroom. May 23rd 2014.

California Water Environment Association annual banquet. May 2nd 2014.

(Appearances at private venues omitted)

2013:

See our “tickets” page for upcoming performances!

A List Events’ Cirque New Years Eve. San Francisco. December 31st 2013.

Convolution 2013: The Goblin King’s Masquerade Ball. The SFO Hyatt Regency. Burlingame, CA. November 2nd, 2013.

Burning Man 2013: Cargo Cult. Black Rock City, NV. September 28th, 2013.

Important Business Tour. Youngstown Cultural Arts Center. Seattle, WA. July 31st 2013.

Important Business Tour. Two-shows. The Aviary. Olympia, WA. July 29th 2013.

Important Business Tour. The Alberta Rose Theater. Portland, OR. July 28th 2013.

Oversocial Review. Anno Domini, San Jose, CA. June 21st 2013.

Important Business. Creativity Theater. San Francisco, CA. May 26th, 27th, 28th, 2013.

Important Business. Dance Mission Theater. San Francisco, CA. March 1st – 3rd, 2013.

Important Business. The Golden State Theatre. Monterey, CA. Feb 9th, 2013.

Cowell Circus College Night. University of California Santa Cruz. January 29th, 2013.

Important Business. California Stage. Sacramento, CA. Jan 25th, 26th, 27th, 2013.

(Appearances at private venues omitted)

2012:

Save Tigers. A silent disco & charity for Rainforest Action Network. The Vagabond Ballroom. Oakland, CA. December 31st 2012.

The Milwaukee Steampunk Ball & Time Traveling Circus Show. Hot Water Warehouse, Milwaukee, WI. October 18th, 2012.

A Perfect World. The World Rhythm & Motion Dance Studio, San Luis Obispo, CA. September 8th, 2012.

Skinny Kitty Teahouse, Burning Man. Black Rock City, NV. August 30th, 2012.

Welcome Home Vespertine Circus! The Vagabond Ballroom, Oakland, CA. August 10th & 12th, 2012.

A Perfect World Tour: The California Stage, Sacramento, CA. July 30th & 31st, 2012.

A Perfect World Tour: Three Meadows, Citrus Heights, CA. July 18th & 29th, 2012.

A Perfect World Tour: Bend Circus Center, Bend, OR. July 25th, 2012.

A Perfect World Tour: OmCulture, Seattle, WA. July 21st, 2012.

A Perfect World Tour: Alberta Rose Theatre, Portland, OR. July 19th, 2012.

A Perfect World Tour: Procession of the Species Studio, Olympia, WA. July 17th, 2012.

Bon Voyage Summer 2012! The Vagabond Ballroom, Oakland, CA. June 23rd & 24th, 2012.

SubZERO Art Festival. With Oversocial Mofo Review, downtown San Jose, CA. June 1st, 2012.

Impossible Bird. The Vagabond Ballroom, Oakland, CA. May 18th, 2012.

Ripon Christian High School’s Jr. & Sr. Banquet. April 27, 2012.

Furrball 2012: Furrlesque. Gold River, CA. April 21st, 2012.

CWEA Presidential Banquet. Sheridan Grand, Sacramento, CA. April 20th, 2012.

Oversocial Mofo Review. Anno Domini / 366 S. First St, San Jose, CA. April 13th. 2012.

La Boutique Obscure: The Grand Adventures of The Vespertine Circus [Steampunk Edition]. The Vagabond Ballroom. Oakland, CA. March 16th & 17th, 2012.

La Boutique Obscure: Fairytale. The Vagabond Ballroom. Oakland, CA. February 17th & 18th, 2012.

La Boutique Obscure: 2012 [Zombie Apocalypse]. The Vagabond Ballroom. Oakland, CA. January 20th & 21st, 2012.

(Appearances at private venues omitted)

2011:

Sea of Dreams New Year’s Eve 2012: Prophesea. San Francisco Concourse Exhibition Center. San Francisco, CA. December 31st, 2011.

La Boutique Obscure [Super Hero!] The Vagabond Ballroom. Oakland, CA. December 16th & 17th, 2011.

La Boutique Obscure [OUTER SPACE]. The Vagabond Ballroom. Oakland, CA. November 18th, 2o11.

Halloween Night! At the Vagabond Ballroom, Oakland, CA. October 31st, 2011.

7th Heaven Yoga Studio Halloween Party, Berkeley, CA. October 29th, 2011.

Poter Halloween Extravaganza, Porter College, UCSC, Santa Cruz, CA. October 28th, 2011.

La Boutique Obscure [Pajama Party]. The Vagabond Ballroom, Oakland, CA. October 21st, 2011.

East Bay Waldorf School Harvest Festival. El Sobrante, CA. October 15th, 2011.

Carny Brat Presents, Pre-Handcar Regatta Showcase: The Last Day Saloon. Santa Rosa, CA. September 24th, 2011.

Burning Man 2011: Rites of Passage. Black Rock City, NV. August 31st & September 1st, 2011.

The Greatest Cocktail On Earth. The Citizen Hotel, Sacramento, CA. August 19th, 2011.

Scott’s Valley Art & Wine Festival. Scotts Valley, CA. August 13th & 14th, 2011.

Club Exotica Presents: A Midsummer Night’s Wet Dream. Healdsburg, CA. July 30th, 2011.

Absolutely Anything Tour! The California Stage, Sacramento, CA. July 29th, 2011.

Absolutely Anything Tour! The New Amsterdam Bar, Dallas, TX. July 21st, 2011.

Absolutely Anything Tour! Neutral Grounds Coffeehouse, New Orleans, LA. July 14th, 2011.

Absolutely Anything Tour! The Mudlark Public Theatre, New Orleans, LA. July 13th, 2011.

Who Said Vaudeville Was Dead? Spiderhouse/29th St. Ballroom, Austin, TX. July 10th, 2011.

Free CircX For The People! Flipside Warehouse, Austin, TX. July 9th, 2011.

Absolutely Anything Tour! Aurelia’s Artspace (in connection with Urban Tribe), Tucson, AZ. July 6th, 2011.

Absolutely Anything Tour! The Trunk Space, Phoenix, AZ. July 5th, 2011.

SLO Rotary Club’s Old Fashioned 4th of July Celebration. Mitchell Park, San Luis Obispo, CA. July 4th, 2011.

Absolutely Anything Tour! World Rhythm & Motion Studio, San Luis Obispo, CA. July 3rd, 2011.

Absolutely Anything Tour! Zami Co-Op, Santa Cruz, CA. July 2nd, 2011.

Berlin Laght Street Festival with Kinder Des Mondes. Berlin, Germany. June 26, 2011.

Bon Voyage Vespertine Circus! The Vagabond Ballroom, Oakland, CA. June 3rd, 2011.

Fanime Con Opening Ceremonies. San Jose Convention Center, San Jose, CA. May 27th, 2011.

Countdown to the Rapture. Vagabond Ballroom, Oakland, CA. May 20th, 2011.

FurrBall 2011, Year of The Rabbid. Gold River, CA. April 16th, 2011.

SF Refresh with the Vespertine Orchestra. San Francisco, CA. April 16th, 2011.

Fetish Ball, Mills College. Oakland, CA. April 15th, 2011.

Enochs High School Cirque Prom. Modesto Center Plaza, Modesto, CA. April 2nd, 2011.

UC Berkeley’s AIDS Dance-a-thon. Pauley Ballroom, Berkeley, CA. April 1st, 2011.

Candyland. The Vagabond Ballroom. Oakland, CA. March 25th, 2011.

VIP-Backers’ Absolutely Anything Preview Show. The Vagabond Ballroom. Oakland, CA. March 18th, 2011.

Red Alert, Benefit for Agent Red. 1015 Folsom St. San Francisco. February 18, 2011.

Vespertine Dreams. The Arlene Francis Center. Santa Rosa, CA. February 11th, 2011.

Peterson Middle School Honor Student Assembly. Sunnyvale, CA. February 11th, 2011.

The Gentlemen Practice Tour, opening for Buddy Wakefield. The Vagabond Ballroom. Oakland, CA. February 5th 2011.

The 8th Annual Cheshire Rock Opera, Checker Stripes: A Looking Glass Ball. Oakland, CA. Jan 27th 2011

The Edwardian World’s Faire. The Regency Ballroom. San Francisco, CA. Friday January 21st, 2011.

Monday Night Sides Speakeasy. The 515 Kitchen and Cocktails. Santa Cruz, CA. January 10th, 2011.

(Appearances at private venues omitted)

2010:

Sea of Dreams New Year’s Eve 2011: GalaxSea. The San Francisco Concourse Exhibition Center. San Francisco, CA. December 31st 2010.

Full Moon Yuletide (with Blind Willies). The Vagabond Ballroom. Oakland, CA. December 21st 2010.

La Boutique Obscure [Irreverent Holiday Edition]. The Vagabond Ballroom. Oakland, CA. December 17th 2010.

Culture Fu*k Dec 11th. The Vagabond Ballroom. Oakland, CA. December 11th 2010.

La Boutique Obscure (Never Never Land Edition). The Vagabond Ballroom. Oakland, CA. November 19h 2010

La Boutique Obscure (Spoooky Edition). The Vagabond Ballroom. Oakland, CA. October 15th 2010.

Culture Fu*k Returns. The Vagabond Ballroom. Oakland, CA. October 9th 2010.

Children’s Fairy Land 60th Anniversary. Children’s Fairyland. Oakland, CA. October 9th 2010.

UNScruz Santa Cruz Decompression. Downtown Santa Cruz. October 2nd 2010.

La Boutique Obscure (Steampunk Edition). The Vagabond Ballroom. Oakland, CA. September 17th, 2010.

Fire Euphoria Fire Conclave. Black Rock City, NV (Burning Man). September 4th, 2010.

WhiteOut Structure Aerials with Circus Mecca. Opulent Temple. Black Rock City, NV (Burning Man). September 3rd, 2010.

Center Camp Aerial Duet. Black Rock City, NV (Burning Man). September 1st, 2010.

Autonomous Mutant Festival XIV. In the woods, past Susanville, CA. July 22nd-26th, 2010.

Midsummer Masked Ball. The Vagabond Ballroom. Oakland, CA. Saturday July 17th 2010.

La Boutique Obscure (Zombies). The Vagabond Ballroom. Oakland, CA. July 16th 2010.

Culture Fu*k. The Vagabond Ballroom. Oakland, CA. July 10th 2010.

Red Hot And Blue.  The Cypress Lounge. Santa Cruz, CA. July 2nd and 3rd 2010.

Space Pirate Shenanigans. Red Circle Schoolhouse. Oakland, CA. June 26th 2010.

Bass Solstice. Vagabond Balloom. Oakland, CA. June 25th 2010.

La Boutique Obscure (dreaming). The Vagabond Ballroom. Oakland, CA. June 18th 2010.

The Vagabond Ballroom’s Grand Opening. The Vagabond Ballroom. Oakland, CA. May 14th 2010.

One Moon In May.  The Cypress Lounge in Santa Cruz, CA. May 13th 2010.

The Isla Vista Juggling Festival. Santa Barbara, CA. April 22nd 2010.

A Fools Delight. The Cypress Lounge in Santa Cruz, CA. April 1st 2010.

What Is Erotic? At the 418 Project. 418 Front Street, Santa Cruz. February 12, 13, 14, 19 & 20, 2010

Masquerade. Le Moulin Noir, 1190 28th St Emeryville, Ca 94608. Feb 6th 2010.

(Appearances at private venues omitted)

2009:

Sea of Dreams New Year’s Eve 2010: Legasea. The San Francisco Concourse Exhibition Center. San Francisco, CA. December 31st 09.

(Avant) Moulin Noir. 1190 28th St Emeryville, Ca 94608. November 21, 2009.

Santa Cruz Decompression. Down town Santa Cruz. October 17th 2009.

SIGIL. Oakland Metro Operahouse. October 10th 2009. ~ www.sigilnight.com

Santa Cruz Fire Conclave. Burning Man. September 5th 2009.

Opening for Beats Antique. The Skinny Kitty Teahouse, Black Rock City, NV (Burning Man). September 3rd 2009.

Rathskeller, Black Rock City, NV (Burning Man). September 2nd 2009.

Autonomous Mutant Festival. South East Oregon. July 2nd and 5th 2009.

West Side College Night. University of California Santa Cruz. May 2009.

Headband. Santa Cruz Veteran’s Memorial Building ~ 846 Front Street, Santa Cruz, CA. April 18th 2009.

University of California Santa Cruz Cowell College Circus Night. February 25th 2009.

(Appearances at private venues omitted)

2008:

Tourettes Without Regrets. Oakland Metro Operahouse. July 3rd 2008.

(Appearances at private venues omitted)