Aurelia Cats, France
Aurelia Cats was born in Ares, France. At the age of eight years, Aurelia enrolled in the children's programme of Annie Fratellini’s "Ecole Nationale du Cirque" in Paris. By the age of ten, she had already won the "K d’Or" (first prize) at the festival "Première Rampe" in Monte Carlo. She was trained in every discipline related to the circus – from acrobatics to horse vaulting.
Aurelia made her professional debut as an aerialist in 1993, when she was fourteen years old, working in Annie Fratellini's shows. 1995, she won the gold medal at the "Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain" in Paris, and at the "Cirkus Prinsessan" festival in Stockholm.
Aurelia Cats resides in Switzerland. Together with the award-winning juggler Viktor Kee, she is manager of "Art Vision Production", a production and talent agency. She was a juror at the "Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain" 2005 and the "International Circus Festival" of Monte Carlo 2008.
Oleg Izossimov, Russia
Oleg Izossimov, one of the greatest classic hand balancers of his generation, was born in Chelyabinsk, Russia. He started studying at the State College for Circus and Variety Arts in Moscow in 1986, where he graduated in 1990. In 1996 Oleg won the prestigious Silver Clown at the Circus Festival of Monte Carlo and 1997 the first prize at the International Circus Festival of Enschede, Netherlands. Oleg worked in some of the best varieties and circusses of Europe, for instance the Tigerpalast Frankfurt, the Wintergarten Berlin and the Lido of Paris. He has directed several circus and variety shows and was member of the Jury of the World Circus Festival in Paris in 2009.
Johnny Klinke, Germany (Jury Spokesman)
Johhny Klinke was born in Berlin, and moved to Frankfurt/Main at the age of ten. After his studies and five years of preparation, he founded the "Tigerpalast Varieté Frankfurt" in 1988, together with Margareta Dillinger und Matthias Beltz. Numerous international circus artists have performed at the Tigerpalast since then, which developed to one of the most famous variety theatres in Europe.
2007 he and Margareta Dillinger were awarded with the "Goethe-Medal" of the State of Hesse, the highest honour of the Hessian Ministry for Sciences and Arts. Since 1992 Johnny Klinke is spokesman of the Jury of the European Youth Circus in Wiesbaden.
Liz Arratoon, Great Britain
Liz Arratoon was circus correspondent for the UK newspaper "The Stage" from 1993 to 2014. She has interviewed and written articles on hundreds of circus artists in the past 18 years and was the first journalist from a national UK newspaper to cover the Monte Carlo International Circus Festival. She interviewed Princess Stephanie in Monaco by special invitation.
In 2012, she was jurywoman at Phillip and Carol Gandey's first Edinburgh Circus Festival, and last year was jury at the UK’s first circus competition for young artists, Circus Maximus, in London. Liz has been a member of the marking panel for the degree students at the National Centre for Circus Arts (formerly the Circus Space) in the UK.
Heinrich Gasser, Switzerland
Heinrich Gasser, Director of the "Circus Starlight", was born in Basel, Switzerland. He was named after his great-grandfather, who founded the "Circus Gasser" dynasty. At the age of nine years he started performing in the ring. He became well-known as a tightrope artist (with a motorcycle as well) and later was member of the artistic trio "Sonianas". With Jocelyne Gasser-Christe (she became his wife later) he worked together as "Duo Starlight", performing a risky knife-throwing act on the tightrope. In 1987, he founded the "Circus Starlight" with Jocelyne. The couple’s three children are successfull artists themselves.
Teresa Ricou, Portugal
Born in 1946, Teresa Ricou, Portuguese circus artist, attended several European art schools. After living in France and England, she returned to Portugal, where she still lives today, and in 1980 created her well-known and recognized clown character "Tété". As a circus artist, she dedicated part of her artistic career to the youth in the most vulnerable neighborhoods, alphabetizing and teaching the circus arts. She decided then to develop an alternative by creating Chapitô in 1981, a non-profit non-governmental organization that favors, through circus, arts and crafts, the social integration of these youngsters.
Lisa Rinne, Germany
Weightlessness, thrills and, despite all the vertiginous turns and flying acrobatic feats, incomprehensible joie de vivre – all this is exuded by Lisa Rinne in her aerial artistry on the trapeze and rope ladder. After she completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Circus and Performance Art at the ACaPA in Tilburg, Holland, in 2011 she quickly made a name for herself on the international artistry scene. From January 2012 she subsequently wins – among others – the Silver Medal at the "Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain", Paris, the International Circus Festival, Moscow, and at the Wuqiao Festival, China, as well as the Gold Medal at the European Youth Circus in Wiesbaden.