Life really is a circus for the stars of Bravo New Zealand’s new reality series.
The Webers consider themselves an ordinary family, but to viewers, they seem anything but. The stars of Bravo New Zealand’s new reality show are a family of 10 who live and work together, travelling the world to entertain audiences with their famous Weber Bros. circus show. Parents Marie and Harry (a seventh generation circus performer) run the circus operations, while their four eldest children Kiarrna, Kaleah, Dylan and Dalton perform in the show.
The Circus follows the Weber family as they begin a 10 week show run in Auckland. By day, the Webers enjoy a glamorous lifestyle of television appearances and superyacht parties, and by night, they perform death-defying circus stunts. It’s a slickly made Bravo reality show that feels a bit like a Kiwi version of The Kardashians, but with someone being fired out of a cannon every night.
Filming for The Circus began in November last year, and the second season recently finished filming in Queenstown. It’s an unusual achievement for a New Zealand reality show to produce a second season before the first has gone to air, which suggests there’s plenty of action hiding inside the tent. Having already launched a YouTube channel about her family’s life, mum Marie knew the behind-the-scenes drama of a family circus would be perfect for a reality TV show.
“There’s always something happening,” Marie says. In the debut episode, performers leave before opening night, new acts are thrown in at the last minute, and the organised chaos of running a travelling circus never quite goes to plan. Whatever happens, the show must go on. “People are going to see the hard work that goes into the show, but at the same time see the glamour that goes with being on stage,” Marie says.
As well as following the Webers, The Circus introduces viewers to memorable characters like Puerto Rican stuntman Martin, who does everything from driving trucks to performing on the trapeze. Marie considers her employees as extended whānau. “The circus is a very multicultural society,” she says. “We have many people from many different countries, and we all come together.”
Eldest daughter Kiarnna agrees. “That’s what makes this show so amazing. It’s not just about our family, it’s about the 50 other people around us that live with us day to day. There’s so many storylines that come from that.” Like any family, the Webers have their moments. “I think when we get sick of each other, we go to our own rooms and don’t see each other for a few hours, until we need food. And then we’re best friends,” says daughter Kaleah.
The Circus also gives an insight into the appeal of a modern circus, with Weber Bros. relying on spectacular physical performances and high-risk stunts to entertain the audience. “It’s evolved over time, and we’re just catering to what people want to see,” Kiarnna says, and acknowledges her work isn’t without risk. “I stand inside the Globe of Death, and that’s a really dangerous act. They’re riding around on motorbikes in this tiny little metal cage, so you expect [dangerous] things to happen. You try to prevent them, but it’s a part of the risk of the job.”
Circus life isn’t all hard work, and the series captures the Webers’ glamorous lifestyle away from the big top. Marie says the helicopter rides and superyachts aren’t just a bonus of appearing on a Bravo TV show. “We travel around and work very hard, so if we can enjoy the luxuries of being able to go to all these different towns, then we do that as well,” she says. “It’s not just my kids and my family, but our whole circus family, we like to treat them to fun things as well.”
It’s a unique way of life for the Webers, one that is now broadcast nationwide on Saturday nights. “We think our family is ordinary because that’s all we know. We know normal life too, but what we do day to day is circus,” Kiarnna says. “I think what’s going to draw people in is seeing how our family interact with each other and how the whole circus is one big family, and that there’s so much to offer, from doing tent work to partying on yachts to helicopter rides. We really get a variety of everything.” Like a stuntman flying out of a cannon, The Circus promises an unpredictable ride.
The Circus premiered on Bravo on Saturday 22 May and is on Three Now.