Triton Troupers Circus is a regional/local circus run through Triton College, in River Grove Illinois, near Chicago. Within the school curriculum Triton Troupers Circus is considered a continuing education course. Triton Troupers Circus is populated with cast and crew ranging from circus arts amateurs, to skilled dancers and gymnasts and clowns, to alumni of world famous circuses, in a structure where experienced performers educate newcomers.

Triton Troupers Circus was founded in 1971 by Jeff Austin, the first director.
Rick Wright subsequently became the second director, from 1987-1999.
Terry White has directed since 2000 and participated in almost every year since the beginning.
According to Terry White, at least a dozen marriages (including his own) have resulted from people meeting in this circus. Some Triton Troupers alumni have gone on to professional circus arts careers, possibly most well known being famed juggler Andy Head.

Triton Troupers Circus has been produced annually every year since 1972. The first Circus was performed in the "Temporary Physical Education Building" to a sell-out crowd, despite a record snow fall. The show was then moved to the cafeteria for 1973-1980, and finally moved to the new Robert M. Collins Center Gymnasium in 1981 where it has remained to the present.

Following the 2007 season, Triton Troupers Circus finally developed a website: TritonTroupersCircus.com

Triton Troupers Circus gives infinite gratitude to the handful of dedicated key staff and the many long-term participants who have given shocking numbers of years of their lives to managing and producing and nurturing and coaching this circus.

A nearly complete history of Triton Troupers Circus programs and group photos and posters from the past is available offsite. Also see the collection of press clippings.

More detailed history is posted here.

Detailed History

The following is a historical/biographical press release distributed for the 35th anniversary show in 2006.

35 years of Triton Troupers Circus
We're Back and we're better than ever!

The Triton Troupers Circus began with the gymnastics team at Triton College and their coach Jeff Austin. It was a venue to showcase the talent of the group. The original show included trampoline, high bar, tumbling and parallel bar. The show was held in the original gym at the college, which is now the Maintenance Service Facility. Eventually the performance graduated to the cafeteria so a larger audience would be able to attend. The final home of the event is the Robert Collins Gymnasium. Shows have been performed there for the past 26 years.

The progression into true circus acts was gradual. Jeff Austin was an expert trampolinist. He was a regular on the Bozo Circus Show and began to broaden the scope of acts by networking with other performers. The act list soon included clowns, web rope, man wheel, rolling globe, tight wire, sky swing and trapeze. The original gymnastic apparatus was taken out and traditional circus acts remained.

Jeff Austin held the director's baton for 15 years. Rick Wright, who had been assistant director for 10 years, claimed the baton and continued as director for the next 13 years. He spent those years nurturing performers and promoting the high standards of the show.

The past 7 years have been just as challenging and rewarding for the current director, Terry White. He has been an advocate for the show and delights in watching new members achieve things they never thought possible.

The Cast and Crew - The dedication of the people who are involved in the show as performers and those who work behind the scenes is unsurpassed. This is an all volunteer opportunity. There is no pay involved and members return year after year.

Several original members of the circus are still involved. Terry White, our current director. Steve Hersee, still performing on teeterboard and maintaining photo's of the show. Bart Halleman has taken on the job of publicity and Bob Tardella has transitioned from performer to accountant for the show.

Many members of the circus have gone on to become professionals in the business. Past Troupers have won Golden Globe Awards, performed on the David Letterman Show and attended Ringling Brothers Clown College. Our current lighting director Daric Basson, began by flipping light switches on and off for the circus. He now works for Upstaging Lighting, bringing professional lighting to the music industry.

Our Fans are the Greatest - Throughout the span of the show there has been a loyal fan base. They have realized that the show continues to be the most affordable entertainment in the Chicagoland area. Fans also realize that the expectation of a family show for children and adults of all ages has been a priority for the directors and performers since the show be Join us as we celebrate our 35th Anniversary !!

Awards History


Triton Trouper:
2019 Lynn Zumstein
2018 Elliot Wimbush
2017 Hannah McGinnas
2016 Brian Pohlis
2015 Kari Buckvold
2014 Kevin Haines
2013 Carmichael Washington
2012 Michael Vassar
2011 Harry McCullagh
2010 Jeremy Snarski
2009 Brian Hampton
2008 Debbie White
2007 Robert Sokolick
2006 Guy Stroczynski
2005 Adam McDonald
2004 Linda Johnson
2003 John Scheurich
2002 Karen Kaderabek
2001 Mary Beth Borchers
2000 David Lyons
1999 Jacque Witt
1998 Mike Wasik
1998 Dee Dee McGarvey
1997 Tom Wasik
1996 Steve Borkan
1995 Peggy Eaton
1994 Todd Santini
1993 John Eaton
1993 Christine Fitzgerald
1992 Edison Cadena
1991 Thom Goetz
1990 Steve Hersee
1990 Jonalee Folerzynski
1989 Mitzi Kruppe
1988 William Baunach
1987 Cathy Barry Holbrook
1986 Terry White
1985 Michelle Witt
1984 Bob Tardella
1983 Steve Francis
1982 Jeff Aiani
1981 Don Zasadny
1980 Frank Birdsall
Best Performer:
2019 Sabrina Sabatin
2018 Hannah McGinnas
2017 Jonah McGinnas
2016 Caleb Iler
2015 Kristin Doll
2014 Joie Allen
2013 Leanne Osmanski
2012 Caleb Wimbush
2011 Albia Aye
2010 Gina Orrico
2009 Patti Ummel
2008 Brian Hampton
2007 Bryan Talaga
2006 Darryn Chupp
2005 Antonio Moore
2004 Terry White
2004 Kan Buckvold
2003 Amy Riccio
2002 John Eaton
2001 Kevin Haines
2000 Charlene Numrych
1999 Jacque Witt
1998 Mitzi Kruppe
1997 Craig Amerian
1996 Pam Falco
1995 Todd Santini
1995 Kerry Campbell
1994 Terry Jo Garner England
1994 Marge Gentry
1993 Sylvia Hernandez
1992 Randy Johnson
1991 Linda Johnson
1990 Paula Parat
1989 Cathy Barry Holbrook
1988 Laurie Egan
1986 Michelle Witt
1985 Andy Head
1984 Lester McNeely
1983 Chris Austin
1982 Steve Francis
1981 Frank Birdsall
1980 Don Zasadny
Behind the Scenes:
2019 Alanna Turner
2018 Robert Sendra
2017 Carmichael Washington
2016 John Scheurich
2015 Devin Snarski
2014 Brian Pohlis
2013 Dennis Sendra
2012 Jeremy Snarski
2011 Jill Talaga
2010 Susan Hooper
2009 Kelly Kishel
2008 Bart Halleman
2007 Christopher Gran
2006 Mary Beth Borchers
2005 Guy Stroczynski
2004 Art Borchers
2003 Lynn Zumstein
2002 Debbie White
2001 John Eaton
2000 Robert Sokolick
1999 Rob Pionke
1998 Mike Collins Sr.
1997 Edison Cadena
1996 Hank Witt
1995 Terry White
1994 Tom Wasik
1993 Matt Luparello
1992 Peggy Eaton
1991 Robert Kolh
1990 Michele Witt
1990 Marijo Wimbush
1989 Mike Wasik
1989 Bert Coons
1988 Thom Goetz
1987 William Baunach
1987 Mathew Clark
1986 John Vargo
1985 Tony Maroney
1984 Paula Parat
1983 Sue Austin
1982 Steve Francis
1981 Don Zasadny
1980 Mary Wright
1978 Bob Tardella

40+ Year:
2019 Colleen Tardella
2017 Terry White
2016 Bob Tardella
2014 Steve Hersee

35+ Year:
2017 Michell Witt
2014 Colleen Tardella
2012 Terry White
2011 Bob Tardella
2009 Steve Hersee

30+ Year:
2018 Guy Stroczynski
2015 Linda Johnson
2012 Daric Bassan
2012 Michelle Witt
2006 Bob Tardella
2004 Steve Hersee
2001 Rick Wright

25+ Year:
2019 Dana Tardella Hauk
2019 Robert Tardella Jr
2017 Randy Johnson
2013 Guy Strocznski
2012 Mike Wasik
2010 Linda Johnson
2007 Daric Bassan
2007 Michelle Witt
2003 Colleen Tardella
2002 Terry White
2001 Bob Tardella
1997 Mary Wright
1996 Rick Wright

20+ Year:
2019 Jennifer Andres
2019 Kari Buckvold
2019 Sammie White
2018 Adam McDonald
2018 John Scheurich
2017 Carmichael Washington
2017 Kevin Haynes
2016 Lynn Zumstein
2015 Dave Moore
2015 Debbie White
2015 Kelly Kishel
2015 Michael "Lumpy" Pepe
2014 Bob Tardella Jr.
2014 Dana Tardella
2013 Upstaging Lighting and Transport
2013 Rob Sokolick
2012 Marijo Wimbush
2012 Randy Johnson
2009 Jacquie Witt
2009 John Eaton
2009 Peggy Eaton
2008 Guy Stroczynski
2007 Mike Wasik
2005 Linda Johnson
2002 Daric Bassan
2002 Michelle Witt
1997 Terry White
1996 Bob Tardella
1991 Rick Wright

15+ Year:
2019 Jill Tallaga
2018 Deborah Kaczmarek
2018 Evangelina Whittenburg
2017 Elliot Wimbush
2017 Harry McCullagh
2017 Susan Hooper
2016 Jeremy Snarski
2014 Brian Allen
2014 Jennifer Andreas
2014 Marcia Baron
2014 Sammie White
2012 Belia Gonzalez-McDonald
2012 Carmichael Washington
2012 John Scheurich
2012 Kevin Haines
2011 Adam McDonald
2011 Jo Witt
2011 Lynn Zumstein
2010 Dave Moore
2010 Debbie White
2010 Mary Beth Borchers
2010 Michael Pepe
2009 Bob "Pepe Payaso" Clarke
2009 Kelly Kishel
2008 Robert Sokolick
2007 Marijo Wimbush
2007 Randy Johnson
2004 Jacque Witt
2004 John Eaton
2004 Peggy Eaton
2003 Guy Stroczynski
2002 Mike Wasik
2000 Linda Johnson
1997 Daric Bassan
1992 Terry White
1991 Bob Tardella
1986 Rick Wright

10+ Year:
2019 David Jeselski
2018 Andee Jorgensen
2018 John Policheri
2018 Susan Gottschalk
2016 Andrew Bedno
2016 Christine Haines
2016 Jena Hope Watson
2016 John Talaga
2015 Alex Andres
2015 Brian Pohlis
2015 Cassie Witt
2015 Chris Gran
2015 Joey Grimm
2015 Laura Hill Gregory
2015 Melissa Carlson
2014 Laura Allen
2013 Cindy Russo
2013 Eve Whittenburg
2013 Jill Talaga
2012 Bart Halleman
2012 Gina Orrico-Hensley
2012 Harry "Max" McCullagh
2012 Mark Simpson
2012 Susan "Sweetie" Hooper
2011 Darryn "Harvey" Chupp
2011 Hank Witt
2011 Jeremy Snarski
2010 Deborah Ford
2010 James Simpson
2010 Michael Vassar
2009 Art Borchers
2009 Brian Allen
2009 Jenny Andres
2009 Monica Borchers
2009 Sammie White
2008 Kari Buckvold
2007 Amanda McLaughlin
2007 Beliac Gonzalez McDonald
2007 Carmichael Washington
2007 Charlene Numrych
2007 Kevin Haines
2007 Marcia Baron
2006 Adam McDonald
2006 Barb Petek
2006 Lynn Zumstein
2005 Dave Moore
2005 Debbie White
2005 John Scheurich
2005 Mary Beth Borchers
2005 Michael Pepe
2005 Stephanie Short
2003 Bob Clarke
2003 Craig Short
2003 David Lyons
2003 Emil Kaderabek
2003 Robert Sokolick
2002 Karen Kaderabek
2002 Marijo Wimbush
2002 Randy Johnson
2001 Jo Witt
2001 Kerry Campbell
2000 Matt Luparello
2000 Mitzi Kruppe
1999 Addie Wright
1999 Eric Eaton
1999 Guy Stroczynski
1999 John Eaton
1999 Laura Robare
1999 Laurie Egan
1999 Peggy Eaton
1998 Elliot Wimbush
1998 Jacque Witt
1998 Lisa Ziemba
1995 Linda Johnson
1992 Daric Bassan
1987 Terry White
1986 Bob Tardella
1981 Rick Wright

Want to add some additional content here? We're especially looking for STORIES from Triton Troupers Circus alumni such as: What brought you to join the circus? What was you circus experience beforehand? What did you do in the Triton Troupers Circus? What years were you in this circus? Did you enjoy it? Did you keep it up afterwards? Tell us about it.