* Philadelphia Flying Trapeze Celebrates Your Freedom to Fly – 25 Feet Up in the Air! *

Celebrate your freedom to fly! Philadelphia School of Circus Arts announces the grand opening of Philadelphia Flying Trapeze. Philadelphia’s only permanent outdoor flying trapeze school will offer two-hour outdoor flying trapeze lessons at Circus Campus, 6452 Greene Street in West Mt. Airy – conveniently directly next to the Upsal SEPTA Station. The first lessons take flight this weekend as a preview, with the official grand opening set for Thursday, August 16, 2018 at 10:30am. Lessons will run Wednesdays through Sundays, through October 28, 2018, with weekday lessons running 11:00am to 1:00pm and 6:00pm to 8:00pm, and Saturdays and Sundays at 10:00am to 12:00pm1:00pm to 3:00pm and 4:00pm to 6:00pm. Lessons are $63 each or class cards are also available. Flyers must be six years and older. For more information and to book, visit:

“Since we opened our circus school over 15 years ago, we have always dreamed of having our own flying trapeze rig,” said Philadelphia School of Circus Arts Executive Director Shana Kennedy. “This is one of the most spectacular and recognizable circus disciplines in the world, and involves a lot of specialty rigging and staffing that we couldn’t accommodate before now. Now, with the ample outdoor space we have at Philadelphia’s Circus Campus, Philadelphia Flying Trapeze has become a reality. Anyone in the region can have the experience of flying through the air.”

Philadelphia is ready for another circus first! Philadelphia and circus have a very special history. The city of Brotherly Love was the birthplace of American circus. Philadelphia for many years was also home to one of the country’s only recreational schools of circus arts. Philadelphia is currently home to the first and only school in the country that offers a three-year education program and diploma in circus arts through Circadium School of Contemporary Circus. Now, circus history goes sky high as the city’s only permanent outdoor flying trapeze school makes its grand debut.  Set next to the historic former St. Madeleine Sophie Church, students will ascend the outdoor rig in the beautiful setting that features mature lush trees, expansive lawns and historic architecture.  Philadelphia Flying Trapeze is one of the only schools in the country that is set in an urban setting with such a magnificent view. SEPTA riders already are getting an unexpected birds eye view of the action as trains are arriving just feet from the trapeze rig at the Upsal station.

Adults and children (ages 6 and up) are invited to celebrate the empowerment, confidence and freedom found in doing the unexpected.  Students will soar to new heights during two-hour high-flying class. Students of various ages and abilities will learn the art of flying trapeze on a full-scale outdoor flying rig on Philadelphia’s Circus Campus. Learn all the techniques of the art form – including taking off from the platform, the swing, the transfer to the catcher and the dropping to the net.

“Flying trapeze is perhaps the most popular circus arts for new students,” added Kennedy. “It is exhilarating! And it’s one of the most fun and adventurous experiences you’ll ever have.  And what’s more, it’s extremely safe. Beginner students are always harnessed in with safety belts and working over a net.  It is the easiest way to experience the joy and challenge of circus arts on your very first day.”

Classes are open to students six years and older. Flyers must be at least six years old. The weight limit is 250 lbs. All participants will be harnessed in the air. Some weather conditions may apply – please see any weather announcements day of class.

Philadelphia Flying Trapeze will run under direction of Philadelphia Flying Trapeze Program Director Mary Kelly Rayel. Mary Kelly Rayel graduated from Ithaca College with a B.A. in Theater. Having been fascinated with Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Clown College as a youth, she decided to apply. She was one of 8 women and 31 men to be accepted that year for the class of 1990. This experience was life changing, starting a lifelong career with Circus arts. For the last 20 years, she has been performing and instructing Circus skills and aerial acrobatics.

Philadelphia Flying Trapeze lessons are $63 for a single class, or class cards are available for three classes for $165 and six classes for $315. Private individual and family lessons are also available. Flying trapeze classes are also available for birthday parties, bachlorette/bachelor parties, corporate team building and for other groups.

Philadelphia Flying Trapeze will run every WednesdaySunday, through Sunday, October 28, 2018. Class times vary per day: Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 11:00am to 1:00pmand 6:00pm to 8:00pm, and Saturdays and Sundays, 10:00am to 12:00pm1:00pm to 3:00pm and 4:00pm to 6:00pm. Other times for private and group lessons are also available upon special request.

With the addition of Philadelphia Flying Trapeze by Philadelphia School of Circus Arts, Philadelphia’s Circus Campus now is home to the following circus schools, performers and organizations:

Philadelphia School of Circus Arts – recreational training for adults and kids in lots of disciplines.
Circadium – college-level program for professional artists
Philadelphia Flying Trapeze – flying trapeze!
Airplay Entertainment – agency for professional circus and variety artists
Give & Take Jugglers – performances for festivals and special events
Funicular Circus – wirewalkers, who set up tightwire installations around the world
Innovative Juggler – Greg Kennedy, a modern juggler who travels with full-length theater shows
3AM Theatre – Kyle Driggs and Andrea Murillo, artists in residence who are creating contemporary circus shows

For more information, visit or call 215-849-1991.


Mary Kelly worked for Club Med for three years as a Circus instructor, eventually becoming the second female Chief of Circus. In addition to teaching Flying Trapeze to adults, she put on full circus shows with 200+ kids during peak times. The belief that regular people can learn and enjoy Circus skills was at the core of the program there, helping to shape the programs of today. After leaving Club Med, Mary Kelly toured for two years with Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus performing on the Flying Trapeze. With other aerial acrobatic acts, she has performed in Puerto Rico, Mexico, and all over the southern US.

Moving back to her native Bucks Co., PA home in 1998, she began teaching gymnastics, from Preschool to coaching the Competitive Team. She continued to teach Flying Trapeze for various camps, events, and organizations

Mary Kelly continues to teach and perform during the year. In 2008, Fly School Circus Arts worked with Cirque Du Jour to bring Flying Trapeze to Camp Quality, a nationally recognized Oncology camp, in Arkansas. From 2009-2012, Circus Arts Camp in Westchester, NY included Fly School Circus Arts in their intensive Aerial Week. Fly School Circus Arts was proud to be a Participant in the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts in 2011 and 2013, offering classes and demonstrations in Center City Philadelphia.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s