Catherine Daniel

Catherine Daniel (BA BSc) is director and co-founder of Vertical Circus. She is very passionate about the power of circus, music and story telling to transfrom the lives of young people. Catherine has been in the circus industry for the last fourteen years. She predominately trained in Sydney but also in Paris, London and Berlin. She has a wealth of performance experience behind her, having performed with Legs on the Wall, Aerialize, Strings Attched, The Lennon Bros. Circus (in which she experienced living in a caravan), Opera Australia and in her self produced “Catrin” shows. She has performed in countless shows in Australia, India and Europe. Catherine likes to surprise her audience with out-of-the ordinary hybrid performances. She has also worked as a rigger, costume maker, inventor and musician.

Catherine has been teaching circus to young people and adults for the last fourteen years, directing and choreographing numerous student shows at Aerialize-Sydney Aerial Theatre and The Australian Theatre for Young People. She has taught and directed in remote Indigenous communities with Theatre Kimbereley.  Further teaching credits include The Flying Fruit Fly Circus, Flipside Circus and Katakids Circus.

In 2010 Catherine turned her focus to social circus. She ran German/English bilingual circus programs for high school students with behavioural difficulties at the Montessori Gemeinschaftsschule, Berlin.

In 2011, 2012 and 2013 with Vertical Circus’s co-founder John Nyagah, Catherine was project head and artistic director of the "Pale Juu" projects. She trained over 60 Kenyan youths in the aerial arts, performance, physical theatre and show creation. She hosted a short rigging course and a how to promote yourself workshop.

In 2014 Catherine directed and headed the "Circus with Spice" project in New Delhi, India. Leading 21 young people living in a slum through Vertical Circus's unique training and performance program. She then returned to India twice to the Jumbo and Gemini Circuses to engage their artists in a similar program to improve their performance energy and self confidence.

Catherine is now completely inspired to continue on this path of implementing circus to break the cycle of poverty for impoverished youths.

“I continue to work and train in this field building on my existing experiences and qualifications. I strive to bring students, audiences, artists, creative teams and all those with whom I am collaborating, exciting and nourishing experiences of the circus arts.” 



John Nyagah 

John Nyagah (Government Accredited educator) enjoys pushing and bending people to their boundaries so that, they discover new and exciting aspects about themselves, their community and their surroundings.

John is co-founder and  head of development at Vertical Circus. He facilitates one-on-one and  small group discussions to solve any problems or issues which arise in the group or for certain individuals. He runs the social aspect and dynamic group building processes within Vertical Circus’ projects. He imparts knowledge to participants with respect to becoming confident self-employed artists.

John is a studied and qualified pedagogue and social case worker. He has been active as a social worker and educator for the last four years, working with underprivileged youths in around Berlin. With his expert knowledge he develops individual learning models and accompanies youths on their path of self development.

John is well known for his unique projects in art and music which he implemented for mixed behavioural groups, at the Montessori Gemeinschaftsschule, Berlin.

Within the arts he has taken classes in contact improvisation with Alejandro Rolandi and in San Francisco at the ODC studios. He has undertaken basic aerial training. Recently, John employed his carpentry skills for set construction and design in Strings Attached’s “ A Return to the Trees”. John is also an accredited theatre in education practitioner.



Penny Campbell

Penny Campbell (BA BE) is Vertical Circus theatre technician and Supervisor for Light and Sound.

She creates the world’s greatest circus space.

Penny is passionate about performance, design and striving to achieve the impossible. Since graduating with a Design for Theatre degree she has produced, teched and designed many productions from youth theatre to pantomimes, musicals to plays.

Her travels have taken her to the UK as well as all over Australia and fortunately this led her to find circus in a paddock, just south of Margaret River in Western Australia.


Coming to Kenya expanded all here knowledge about engineering in developing countries to many peoples full success. She trains newly skilled students and is able to relate to and create trust in clients, students and team members.

Circus encompasses everything Penny enjoys from teaching, to working with new people in the community, exciting challenges as well as focused and perfecting skills.

Once she got the circus bug it was impossible for her to let it go.