Great Yarmouth teenager Imogene Reynolds shows off aerial skills in new behind-the-scenes TV documentary Circus Kids: Our Secret World

Circus Kids - Imogene in front of big top. Photo:Drummer TV

Circus Kids - Imogene in front of big top. Photo:Drummer TV - Credit: Drummer TV

Every child dreams of running away to join the circus.

Circus Kids - Imogene performing on silks. Photo: Drummer TV

Circus Kids - Imogene performing on silks. Photo: Drummer TV - Credit: Drummer TV

And in a new behind-the-scenes documentary we meet a Great Yarmouth teenager who has done just that.

Schoolgirl turned showgirl Imogene Reynolds twists and tumbles on the aerial silks while her peers knuckle down to their studies.

The 15-year-old hasn't been to school since March - her talent for dance eclipsing any academic ambitions.

For after a brief stint wowing the crowds at Burgh Castle last year she has been taken on full time by Russell's Circus performing in their candy-striped big top all over East Anglia.

Circus Kids - Imogene putting on make-up in caravan. Photo: Drummer TV

Circus Kids - Imogene putting on make-up in caravan. Photo: Drummer TV - Credit: Drummer TV


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From applying glitter to emptying the toilets, the TV spotlight is being shone on all aspects of circus life in the new three part Channel 5 documentary Circus Kids: Our Secret World, which starts on Thursday.

The show follows Imogene as she gets to grips with cooking and cleaning for herself, grapples with homesickness, and deals with first-night nerves.

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Joining the circus means being away from her family in Arundel Road for months at a time and mucking in with all aspects of circus life like selling tickets and leafletting.

But her mother Donna Reynolds said the opportunity was too good to miss for the talented teenager who had dreamed of stepping into the ring since she was ten.

'I thought we might have had a few teary phone calls from her saying she was home-sick but there has been nothing,' Mrs Reynolds said.

'And it was really hard to have a film crew around on their opening night but they handled it really well.

'She is such a brilliant dancer. She just wants to be in the air flying.'

Initially it was hoped her mother could go too but with a younger son Corben and a job of her own as a nursery practitioner at the House of Fun in Gorleston it was too much to juggle.

Seeing her daughter strike out on her own had been difficult but also surprising, Imogene proving more than capable of looking after herself and coping with circus life.

According to the programme makers the series offers 'a unique and honest insight' into a secretive and closely guarded world steeped in hundreds of years of tradition. A spokesman said: 'These kids are professional performers by the time most children start school and enjoy a freedom that other kids could only dream of.

'But away from the bright lights of the Big Top, they live off-grid at an unforgiving pace.

'Constant travelling, limited access to school and non-circus kids, and hard work with no concessions for their young age, are part of their daily lives.'

The show starts on Thursday with Imogene due to appear in episode 2 on July 13.

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