Patrick Tobin hails from a tight knit Boston, Massachusetts’s family. His father is an Engineer, his mother an Elementary School Principal, and his two brothers are studying to be an accountant and engineer respectively.
So naturally Patrick Tobin…or as we call him PT…would end up being a Tight Wire Walker in the circus!
PT was a super high-energy child who loved to perform, his mom always made sure he was enrolled in gymnastics, dance or theater. He was always climbing things, falling, getting stitches and, in true circus fashion, climbing right back up again.
The summer of his eleventh year, his mom told him to do the research and figure out a two-week sleep away camp. PT jumped on MSN search (this being the pre-Google days of 2002) and stumbled upon a circus camp in Vermont, Circus Smirkus. He loved it. Circus combined his love of performing, gymnastics and dance.
Little did he know, this decision would end up guiding his life.
PT came back to Circus Smirkus every summer, learning new circus skills and honing his performing chops (and his chores…lots to do in the circus).
His second summer, at the age of fourteen, Circus Smirkus brought in Jeff Jenkins and Julie Greenberg as the guest directors for that summers touring show. The show was based on Alice in Wonderland and the pre-tour buzz was in the air.
Jeff and Julie were rather well known in the circus world. Jeff had been a top clown, teacher and director with Ringling Brothers and Julie, a well-known actress, dancer, and acrobat herself.
They were also the Founders & Directors of a new and exciting Contemporary Circus Company….Midnight Circus, in Chicago.
PT remembers Jeff and Julie pulling up to Smirkus with their one-year-old son Max, and he had a realization — you can do circus as long as you want, even if you grow up and have kids!
After graduating from high school, PT attempted to take a more traditional route. He enrolled at Salem State University determined to be an English Teacher or perhaps a Journalist.
Well, that idea didn’t last too long. Following his freshman year in college PT visited Chicago to see Midnight Circus and catch up with his circus family, as he called them.
PT’s love of circus and performing came roaring back and he knew that that his English degree and journalism career would have to wait.
PT had to be back in the circus!
He auditioned for L’École Nationale de Cirque de Montréal (The National Circus School of Montreal). Imagine Harvard, but for circus. It really is the premiere circus-training program in the world. Four years and numerous ballet, theater, acrobatic, aerial, juggling and tightwire classes later, PT graduated.
In 2014 he was officially hired as a cast member of Midnight Circus in the Parks. “I immediately felt like part of the family,“ PT noted. “Julie and Jeff hire people they know will care about and love each other. We genuinely have a lot of fun together in the ring. I think the audience can feel that and joins in on the fun with us.”
PT became part of a duo act with Abby on the tightwire. It was an easy fit having met each other as kids back in summer camp at Circus Smirkus.
After his first season, PT moved back to his hometown of Boston. But he couldn’t help but feel it was time to take the next step in his life. Chicago.
PT decided to make Chicago his permanent home. “I just fell in love with the city. The neighborhoods, the feel of Chicago, it’s so open and livable. And Midwesterners are so friendly.”
PT also noted the diverse and well-established community of artists. “Chicago has a lot to offer artists. The resources here of theater spaces and pools of other artists give me the opportunity to do some really unique, interesting things in my career.”
PT is thrilled to be back in 2017 for his third season of Midnight Circus in the Parks and he looks forward seeing the smiles on the young kids faces when he jumps up in the air on the tight wire…it’s the same look PT had when he was their age!