Performance opportunities, professional development and funding for circus and variety arts

Artist Submissions

Bindlestiff is always seeking professional performers interested in being a part of the Cirkus Cabaret Season, summer tours, and various short-term projects. Compensation depends on project.

For over a quarter a century, Bindlestiff Family Cirkus has presented some of the best variety acts working today, including an amazing array of world class entertainers, sideshow marvels, and New York legends. Over 600 artists are a member of our ever growing showbiz family. If you want to send us your material, please do.

Promotional materials can be sent to:
Bindlestiff Family Cirkus
PO Box 386
New York, NY 10009

Email with promotional material, questions or information or let us see it live. Showcase your act at the next Bindlestiff Open Stage Variety Show, first Monday of every month at Dixon Place.

Cavalcade of Youth

Performers under 21 are invited to take the stage in this special circus and variety showcase. Produced twice a year in conjunction with Playful Productions and Coney Island USA, the show is a chance for the stars of tomorrow to take the stage today. Jugglers, clowns, aerialists, magicians, musicians, dancers, acrobats, or other performers, if you’ve got an act, show it off! There is no cost to participate and performers share the proceeds from a hat pass.

To find out more, submit your aerial audition video, or sign up to perform a ground act, please email Viveca Gardiner,

Bindlestiff First of May Award

A $500 to $1,000 development grant for full-length variety arts productions.

For nearly 25 years, Bindlestiff Family Variety Arts, Inc. has been enriching New York City’s variety arts culture by producing and presenting unparalleled circus, sideshow and variety arts performances. In addition to teaching, performing, and producing, Bindlestiff offers the Bindlestiff First of May Award, which will grant $500 to $1,000 to a variety artist and/or group of variety artists to support their development of an original full-length production.

Submissions are now open to solo artists or troupes wishing to apply for this year’s award.

Submission Guidelines:
1. Proposals must include:
• one-page project description
• 1-3 links to videos of past work
• resumés and/or bios of participating artists
2. Proposed productions must be at least 40 minutes in length.
3. Productions may be either solo or troupe-based projects. If submitting as a solo artist, applicant must be a NYC resident. If submitting as a troupe, at least 50% of troupe members must be NYC residents.

By submitting a proposal, applicants acknowledge that if the award is granted, 1) development of the proposed production must begin prior to June 30, 2019; 2) a progress report is due by December 31, 2019; and (3) at least one public performance of the production must be presented in New York City before May 1, 2020 (a work in progress performance and/or segment of complete production is acceptable). If these requirements are not met, the award must be returned.

Submissions must be received before midnight on April 1. Proposals should be submitted via email to Submissions will be evaluated based on artistic merit, originality, and variety arts relevance. The selected grantee(s) will be announced on May 1.

Past Awardees:
2012: Unmasked, created and directed by Lady Aye and Mistress B
2013: Solomon the Perplexer, created and written by Tanya Solomon and directed by Corn Mo
2014: Clown Baggage, created by Matt Wilson
2015: Wacky of Wallabazoo, created by Justin Weber; and Dandy Darkly’s Trigger Happy
2016: TruDee’s “Dances for Lovers” by Deborah Lohse; Adam Kuchler’s Cupcake Show; and Jennifer Harder’s The Wild Party’s Over
2017: Kyle Driggs’ ENSO; Bennett Santora’s Seasons; and Angelo Iodice’s Bronx cowboy memoir
2018: Shane & Collin Miclon’s The Preconceived Notions of Dr. Pellucida; Christopher Scheer’s [n]Gender; and Paris the Hip Hop Juggler’s juggling comedy show.

Bindlestiff Open Stage Variety Show

First Monday of Every Month
Dixon Place, 161A Chrystie Street
New York, NY
Door $12 (suggested donation)
Showtime: 7:30 pm

A First Look at NYC’s Finest Emerging Variety Talents
Circus • Sideshow • Vaudeville • Burlesque • Dance • Music

Come to Dixon Place for a night of variety that will include much more than a simple song and dance. Bindlestiffs Open Stage Variety Show is a non stop variety show experience that may include world famous magicians, gender bending jugglers, circus legends, trained rats, clown bands, aerial artists, wire walkers, sideshow performers, stripping clowns, living cartoons, physical comedy, contortionists, performance artists, emerging burlesque starlets, and more. Hosted by Keith “Bindlestiff” Nelson, the show celebrates works in progress, emerging artists, and professionals trying something new, this night promises many surprises.

If you would like to be on the stage, email Write ‘Open Variety’ in the subject line!