New circus finds success with Olympia audience 


A newly formed circus company, Shoestring Circus, just made its Olympia premiere last week. The show opened to a full house, followed by five more shows, three of which sold out. 

Four circus performers formed Shoestring Circus in Bellingham in 2022. After seeing a successful run in Bellingham, the group realized they had a show that people in Olympia would enjoy.  

The group runs an all-human show with a cast of 14 circus performers, all bringing their unique skills to deliver a circus experience appropriate for all ages.  

Audiences can expect a wide variety of circus acts. With four new circus performers this year, the cast includes a tightrope performer, a duo lyra act, and a diabolo juggler. 

Nicole Laumb, one of the owners, said that Shoestring Circus is what one might call a modern circus. 

“Our show is definitely like nostalgic of circus with the tent and, you know, popcorn, cotton candy. All that feels very like probably how people think of circus, but then our show kind of turns it on its head, and it's really fun to watch people kind of taken, you know, [by] our sense of modern circus and what that can look like,” Laumb said. 

One way Shoestring keeps its act modern is by weaving a narrative into the show. While Shoestring likes to keep the circus at the forefront, Laumb said that they err on the side of circus theatre. 

“The difference between kind of, you know, an older style of circus is that you would have like a ringmaster or clowns, and we don't do that. But what we do have is like comedians and character actors, and they're the ones that are kind of taking that spot to bring the humor to the show,” Laumb said. 

“So what would just be like, you know, maybe a pie in the face back in the day is now like a sketch that informs the storyline. And it's something fun for the audience in that moment, but also ties into the overall story of the show,” Laumb continued. 

This year Shoestring has decided to set the show in a medieval fantasy setting called Stringdom. The storyline is about the brother princes of Stringdom as they venture out on an important mission. 

Laumb, who was this year’s creative director, said that acts are chosen to match thematically with the different plot points. 

“We've got a really talented sword swallower, so he plays one of our knights of the Stringdom because that's the way to incorporate the swords into the medieval place. And then we've also got this really beautiful duo Lyra act that they play this kind of mythical butterflies in the fantasy land that we traveled to,” Laumb said. 

For their Olympia shows, Shoestring found it appropriate to feature puppetry in the show, which is why the group partnered with String and Shadow, an Olympia-based puppeteering troupe. 

“We definitely reach out to different art organizations and try to partner, and we just like trying to find local connections. That's definitely one that’s been really special for us this season,” Laumb said. 

Those interested in watching Shoestring may find its tent at Marine Drive and Market Street near the Swantown Marina. 

Shoestring has four shows this week from July 4 to 7, Thursday to Sunday. Thursday’s 5 p.m. show has already sold out, but tickets are still available for the 7 p.m. show.  

Time slots for the other days are listed below: 

  • July 5 - 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. 
  • July 6 - 1 p.m., 5 p.m., and 8 p.m. 
  • July 7 - 1 p.m. 

Tickets cost $32 for general admission and $16 for children ages three to 12. Front-row seating costs $48. The tent can accommodate up to 370 visitors. 


3 comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here

  • TomInOly

    Saw them last weekend and was really impressed! Very good work. If they come back we’ll be there again! (The popcorn, however, could use an upgrade)

    Thursday, July 4 Report this

  • anothername

    I went last weekend and it was really fun and they are so talented

    Thursday, July 4 Report this

  • JulesJames

    I said "Never Again!" after taking my kid to the circus where no one died in their "death-defying acts" and the animals all wished they'd be dead rather than preforming the same stupid stunt show after show. Pleased to see "the circus" modernized. Will try to attend.

    Thursday, July 4 Report this