Changing the World and Other Circus Related Things EP2 - Nettie Lane / by Eliana Dunlap

In this episode we will be speaking with Nettie Lane about her project Count to 12: Finding Our Way Home, an interdisciplinary performance work and community art installation/event - a response to the realities of climate change. Through visual and physical storytelling, and drawing upon theater, circus, puppetry and yarn-spinning, it is a tale of being lost and finding one's way Home.

Nettie Lane was born in Hollywood, Ca. She remembers walking along a chain link fence and peering through the metal diamonds down to a basin of concrete where there was a trickle of brownish liquid and slimy, green algae. The sign on the fence said: LA River. As a little girl, this confusing 'river' made quite an impact.

Now all grown, she has happily landed in Brattleboro, Vermont where rivers run free of concrete. She works for Circus Smirkus as an Artist-in-Residence in schools throughout New England and is on staff at the New England Center for Circus Arts.

In 2013 Nettie began teaching theatrical clowning classes and has had the honor of midwifing over 200 clowns from Vermont to California to Ireland. She firmly believes in the power and humanity of the Sacred Fool as a way of excavating inner wisdom. 

“Joanna Macy writes that until we can grieve for our planet we cannot love it—grieving is a sign of spiritual health. But it is not enough to weep for our lost landscapes; we have to put our hands in the earth to make ourselves whole again. Even a wounded world is feeding us. Even a wounded world holds us, giving us moments of wonder and joy. I choose joy over despair.”
― Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants

If you would like to contact Nettie you can reach her at

This podcast is an initiative of the Circus Action Network.

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