Paul Stanton, Scruffy and Killer will perform in Circus Ringbarkus this weekend.
Paul Stanton, Scruffy and Killer will perform in Circus Ringbarkus this weekend.

Dog act is real circus

IMAGINE a life in which you did not have a fixed place of residence. You pack up your family, work a few nights a week and travel the country.

You have no fixed address, no responsibilities like a mortgage or showing up to work each day at 8.30am.

This is not an imaginary situation for Ruth and Paul Stanton and their three children, Ollie, Julia and Michael.

The five are nomads and have been on the road for the past 12 years with Circus Ringbarkus, which opened in Warwick last night.

It is a quirky circus, a feast of magic acts, amazing acts of balance, clowning and, of course, the feature – the stars of the show, dogs Sparkie, Scruffy, Killer and Lulu.

If you take into account how long lifetime performers Ruth and Paul have been on the road before the kids came along, it puts them into more than 20 years on the road.

When asked whether she wanted to continue in the circus industry, 18-year-old Julia responded immediately with a nod – she loves the circus life.

Ruth outlined the history of the show, which is in Warwick tonight and tomorrow before heading to the Melbourne Comedy Festival.

“It all started with Paul in the 1980s. He worked as a solo clown,” she said.

“I met him in Perth in 1988 and it went from there. We got dogs, got kids and went on the road.”

The first dog, Buster, is no longer with the show but 11-year-old Scruffy, who was the second dog purchased, lets you know he’s the man.

“Scruffy is now getting a bit old ... he was a little bit miffed when we dropped a few of his more physical acts,” Ruth said.

“We have always had a policy that if a dog gets old and doesn’t want to do it anymore, we don’t make them.”

Even during the interview under the “little big top” parked at the Warwick and District Rugby Union Club grounds at Queens Park, Scruffy showed he was still the man of the tent, standing on an equipment box wagging his tail and barking whenever someone got out of hand.

Ruth said having such a good first dog in Buster was the key to the show’s success.

“We were lucky we had Buster, the other dogs were able to learn the tricks from her,” she said.

Michael, 16, and 11-year-old Ollie will wow the crowd tonight and tomorrow with their magic tricks and unbelievable balancing skills.

Paul will control most of the dog acts while Ruth will announce them and Julia will show off her hoola hoops.

While they combine as a great family unit in their Vaudeville variety extravaganza, the Stantons insist it is all honky dory off the stage too.

However mum Ruth, who also doubles as teacher for home-schooling, admitted with a grin that things sometimes became a bit terse in the classroom.

The Warwick and District Rugby Union Club will team up with Circus Ringbarkus to put on a huge evening of entertainment tonight.

From 5.30pm there will be activities for kids, including a jumping castle before the family-friendly circus kicks off at 7pm. There will also be kebabs and the bar will be open, with Super 14 matches screened live.

Circus tickets are $15 and the ticket office will open an hour before the shows at 7pm tonight and tomorrow, and 4pm tomorrow. Alternatively, phone 0412 101 815

{% load video %}{% video_inline 1306 normal %}



GREAT SNAPS: Warwick soldiers read local rag on battlefields

GREAT SNAPS: Warwick soldiers read local rag on battlefields

Newspapers give a little piece of home to soldiers

BEFORE THE DAWN: Thousands gather to honour our Anzacs

BEFORE THE DAWN: Thousands gather to honour our Anzacs

The sun rose as residents remembered soldiers past and present

'Tsunami' heads for our health sector: We're obese, anxious

premium_icon 'Tsunami' heads for our health sector: We're obese, anxious

Darling Downs' obesity epidemic will strain future health resources

Local Partners