Founded in 2010 by Jefe and Kelly Greenheart, CIRCUS PICNIC is a creative video and entertainment studio that crafts unforgettable experiences and tell real stories to move worlds and grow communities. The vision of CIRCUS PICNIC originated from the Greenhearts' desire to start a company that wove together all their talents and passions. They aspired to carve a life together as artists, to make a real impact, and collaborate with other visionaries. After meeting Jefe and Kelly at the ADDYs, I learned that they were traveling to San Antonio to put on a show for So Live, an organization that provides a way to help treat cancer in a nontoxic. I was fortunate enough to be invited to tag along, so on March 22, 2018 I got dropped off at a house, and hopped in an SUV with two strangers and a couple that I had only met once for an adventure.
Kelly Greenheart's experience ranges from preforming for Cirque du Soleil to producing for CNN to designing interactive experiences for clients. On top of all these skills, she also sews and makes the costumes for CIRCUS PICNIC. At the young age of 15 she took her first backpacking trip, and from that experience, she's been inspired to take at least one backpacking trip every year. Not only is her adventurous spirit shown through her hikes, but also during the time she and her husband, Jefe Greenheart, traveled the world in an RV for two years. Her morning habits routine consists of writing a two page paper essay of her flowing thoughts.
Matt Tardy has been a juggler for practically his whole life. Starting from the age of 13 until now, juggling has been the only professional job he's had. Tardy moved to Austin about 4 years ago to escape the long cold winters of Maine. Interestingly enough, him and his brother are the only two in his family that are in the circus. With his stunt juggling, Tardy has traveled to preform for the Atlantis Resort, Disney, David Letterman, The Early Show, and The White House. Tardy has preformed everything from burning his arm, to juggling a dangerously sharp and small pocket knife from the audience. Tardy met Jefe and Kelly about two and a half years ago at the Austin Maker's Faire. They were all hired as performers for the event, and from there, they started working together. For Tardy, he loves the opportunity to collaborate and hang out with so many amazing and talented performers that are also great people.
Jen McGinnis (left) works as both the Assistant Producer and performer at CIRCUS PICNIC. McGinnis got involved with CIRCUS PICNIC after meeting Kelly Greenheart (right) two years ago. Both were volunteering on 6th Street as stilt walkers for an Irish performance group, Macnas, and became fast friends through the their shared interests. Later that year, Greenheart hired her to work as a stilt walker for a few events, including ACL. As CIRCUS PICNIC grew, Greenheart eventually hired her to help run the events.
Thomas Sommo grew up as a performer in Houston. He started out by studying theater in college, then dropped out to join dance. According to Sommo, "I think [Leila Noone and I] became partners cause we speak a lot of the same movement languages and are both always curious and willing to explore and push the boundaries of our capabilities." Currently, Sommo is trying to become a stuntman in movies.
Leila Noone has done everything from being nationally ranked a level 10 gymnast, to three time finalist on American Ninja Warrior, to founding Bodystrokes (a movement and visual art collective). Recently, she came back from preforming at the Envision Festival in Costa Rica. Leila loves to make people smile, and is currently striving to be the World Guinness Recording for foot archery.
Thomas Sommo met Leila Noone on a dance floor at Indras Warehouse a little over three years ago. Eventually they started performing together and they've been traveling the world as stage partners for the past 3 years. They regularly preform in San Fransisco, have toured with the Lognitas Beer Circus, and did an Oregon Eclipse Festival. Last year they preformed at nine festivals.
Jefe Greenheart (far left) graduated the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelors of Science and Arts in Radio, Television, and Film and English. Jefe met Kelly at the interactive circus gathering she co-founded in Zilker Park. According to Jefe, "the first time we met, she had a camera in her hand, I did a back flip. She was unimpressed. The next week, I came with my big camera and filmed her doing Circus arts. Then I finally got her attention." She invited Jefe to travel with her troop to preform in South America. A couple months passed, and two weeks before she had to leave for her trip, she told him it was his last chance to come. Jefe quit his job, sold almost everything he owned and jumped on a plane with her to Peru. There they spend seven months making documentaries for nonprofits, entertaining at orphanages, and exploring villages and staying with indigenous families.