THE LAST time Katie Rogers was in Wantage she was at school.
But on Monday she stormed back into her home town triumphant as the ringmistress of Jay Miller’s Circus.
Mrs Rogers, 25, finally fulfilled her childhood dream of running away to join the circus in March, after graduating from the University of Kent and ending up in IT.
Now she is touring the country with husband Matthew, who she married in April, and who left his job to work front of house for the circus so he could be with her.
Yesterday, she got to show him the town where she grew up as Katie Prior. And tonight she is performing in Wantage.
Mrs Rogers said: “It is definitely weird when you start driving through town, it feels a bit like I’ve never left.”
Circus ringmaster Katie Rogers with King Alfred's statue in Wantage
The circus pitched up in Wallingford’s Kinecroft park last Wednesday, and she said a few old friends had already come along to see her, but she was expecting a lot more in Wantage.
She said: “It’s silly, I don’t get nervous performing in front of a whole crowd of people I don’t know, but when there are 30 people I know in the front row it gets difficult.”
But she said she was “really looking forward to it”. On Friday, Mrs Rogers took some performers from the circus to give a private show to students at her old school, St Helen and St Katharine in Abingdon.
It was there as a pupil that classmates voted her “most likely to run away and join the circus”.
Diabolo master Domonkos Zsolt
Also featuring in the show are “giraffe” unicyclists, Aleksey Bogdan and Vitali Kucherenko, performing feats of derring-do on eight-foot-tall cycles.
Diablo maestro Domonkos Zslot and aerial cloud swing performer Zsufia Jakab will also be showing off their talents at the Big Top.
The Jay Miller's Circus team outside the Big Top in Challow Road, Wantage
Mrs Rodgers applied for a job at Jay Miller’s Circus in 2009, while working in the IT department of a company in Folkstone.
She didn’t hear anything until one day late last year when she got a telephone call inviting her to try out.
She went to an interview where she said: “They pretty much just handed me a microphone and said ‘go’.”
The Giraffe Unicycle team
A few days later, they called her up and asked: “Is there anything keeping you from joining up?”
She turned to her fiancé and said: “I’m running away to the circus, would you like to join me?”, and he replied: “Of course.”
Jay Miller’s Circus will be at Challow Road showfield, Wantage, until tonight. Book tickets