The couple behind Ballista, Paul Klaassen and Deryn French, are looking to entertain. Photo: Supplied

For the love and risk of circus


Paul Klaassen and Deryn French walked into a juggling club.

That was seven years ago and now the duo has been creating professional circus shows together ever since.

Deryn is originally from Nelson but they met in Auckland and fell for each other over their mutual love of performing.

“We had this busy life in Auckland and we wanted a bit of space to create our shows,” says Paul.

The pair thrive of creating exciting circus shows for all the family while building a real story around them.

They did a huge summer tour last year and ended up at the Nelson Fringe Festival and then decided on a whim that they liked it so much that they might just stay.

So now that show “Ballista” has been honed and is being put on this Saturday and Sunday at Ghost Light Theatre.

“What we did is took all the ideas we liked the most and built on them and gave it some time to breathe. We created the show that we really wanted to make.”

That show is actually a dramatized version of how Paul and Deryn met. But in this version Paul becomes Pablo Puzzlario – a streetwise juggler, grifting his living off the busy boulevards of the big city.

“Plying his patter and turning his tricks for one coin at a time, Pablo is a survivor. But that’s the problem, he doesn’t want to just survive, he wants to thrive.”

Deryn becomes Popsi Quixotic – a speakeasy delivering sparkling shows that leave patrons swooning in her wake. “But Popsi is a big fish in a small pond, who dreams of swimming in the big wide ocean of the world.”

The pair’s company, 3 Rings Riot, is known for their high level of presentation, multi award-winning skills, and unique and authentic concepts. They present truly entertaining circus shows that have delighted audiences all over New Zealand.

“And while it’s a family show, it’s not just for kids,” says Paul. “There is something for everyone.”

Ballista is on this Saturday at Ghost Light Theatre at 2pm and 6pm and Sunday at 11am and 2pm. Tickets on the door or through