By Niamh Anderson
Roisin McNulty, who grew up in Galway, worked with the Australian women’s rugby team before giving it all up to join Cirque Du Soleil as their top sports therapist
IRISH physio Roisin McNulty says she has no regrets after ditching a career in international rugby to clown around with the world’s most famous circus.
The 35-year-old, who grew up in Galway, worked with the Australian women’s rugby team before giving it all up to join Cirque Du Soleil as their top sports therapist.
But the Irish woman insists a career in the circus is no joke.
She said: “There’s a lot of hard work in it. You see 51 people on stage, but there’s another 50 back stage who are making sure it all comes together and looks amazing every night.
“A career in circus is very viable though, there are a couple of other Irish physios in Cirque working across the world, we seem to be drawn to it.
“A lot of people don’t think of the circus requiring ‘normal’ professions but it requires a lot, like trades. We have carpenters, riggers, lighters, it also requires business people, like accountants.
“It’s a normal job in an unbelievable environment.”
Roisin sought out a career with the world renowned troupe after seeing a performance of their show, Dralion, while she was living in Sydney.
And after pursuing a career in international women’s rubgy as a sports therapist, she decided she needed a change.
She said: “I had won tickets to see a show through an Irish newspaper over there and I was just mesmerzied by it, I thought it was the best thing I had ever seen.
“It was one of those meant to be things. I wasn’t very philosophical on serendipity until I got this job but I really just felt like I needed a change, and I knew in the back of my mind that Cirque hired physios.
“It was fortunate timing. I wrote a letter to the right person on the right day, and three weeks later, I had a contract and five weeks after that, I packed up everything in Sydney and moved to North America where it’s based.”
Roisin’s job is to make sure that all of the artists on stage are in peak physical condition.
And she admits it’s hard to watch when they perform death-defying stunts on stage.
She said: “The nature of what they do is risk take but you have to remember that the reason they are so good at what they do is because they are risk takers and they have minimal fear and they will go and do these crazy things, and so you have to take that with the person. It’s part of them to take risks and so we just have to manage that.”
Last night, the Montreal-based troupe opened their lastest show, Ovo in Dublin’s 3Arena.
The theme celebrates nature and features 51 performers dressed up as bugs and insects who fly and soar across the stage using trampolines, beams and trapeze swings.
Much of her work involves routine tasks such as injury prevention but she admits it’s not like any other physio job she’s had before.
She said: “You always have those moments where you’re in the clinic and you’re treating people dressed as insects with a load of makeup who will come in and and they’ll be getting things taped up or dealt with, and I’ll just be looking around going ‘what the hell, what is this’?
Roisin works 10 weeks at a time and has travelled to over 20 different countries since the show first started touring in 2016 but she always makes the effort to come home when she can.
Cirque Du Soleil’s Ovo runs in Dublin’s 3Arena from now until October 14 and again in Belfast from October 17 to 21 at SSE Arena.