In late 1998 Joseph had to make the hardest decision of his life. He left his family’s circus (Ashtons) to go it alone. It was difficult because leaving his grandparents was heart breaking for Joseph, but he knew it was the sensible thing to do. You see, the circus had grown so big that the business could not support all the family members anymore. So Joseph with wife Michelle and young sons Jordan and Merrik embarked on a mission to create a new circus.
They made Sydney their base, staying at their grandparent’s property in Londonderry near Penrith. Every day was spent making equipment and fixing up old props. There was a lot of practicing for new acts and sharpening up the old ones, all of this outside, under the trees. To support themselves they would perform their acts around Sydney on the club circuit, and corporate shows.
A break came in 2000 when Joseph was hired by Baz Luhrmann to work on the movie Moulin Rouge. Joseph was technical advisor for Nicole Kidman’s Trapeze work, plus he was also given the task of training eight acrobats known in the film as the Tobasco Brothers. This steady work was just at the right time, it enabled Joseph to buy a second hand tent and truck, combine this with the canteen and old truck his father gave him, seating and bits and pieces his grandparents donated, and the show was ready to hit the road!
By 2001 the show was supporting itself, performing 46 weeks of the year. With his immediate family around him the circus has developed a unique family feel that cannot be duplicated and this is the key to its success!