MANY have threatened to run off and join the circus, but Stephanie Bates, right, from Corfe Mullen actually did. The 27-year-old aerial artiste performs with the Circus of Horrors and will join the ghoulish collective at the Bournemouth Pavilion Theatre on Sunday evening.

Stephanie also works with hoops and has been performing for several years. She was trained by Willie Ramsey, the head aerial coach for the Circus of Horrors, who also taught Angelina Jolie how to bungee for Tomb Raider.

“I knew training with Willie was the best I could get but when I applied for the job with The Circus of Horrors they explained that a conventional silk act or Ariel hoop act would not be enough & they needed something more unusual,” says Stephanie.

“I scoured the internet until I found an act that no one in the UK was doing and it involved hanging from my teeth in the roof of the auditorium, I explained to Willie what I wanted to do. He thought I was mad but agreed to teach me,” she added.

In previous incarnations the circus has brought Moulin Rouge era Paris and a 19th-century asylum to life on the Pavilion stage. The show has gone on to tour the world, achieving cult status and dragging circus screaming and shouting into the 21st century. The new Bournemouth show at the Pavilion Theatre is entitled The Ventriloquist.

Taking audiences on a journey through 1920s Berlin, the birth place of cabaret, The Ventriloquist will feature hair-hanging beauties, twisted contortionists, flying aerialists, gyrating jugglers, and of course, the ventriloquist.