Did you know…that the Guinness world record holder of plate spinning lived in Ireland?
In 1991 David Spathaky and Sue Broadway set themselves a challenge….to become Guinness World Record breakers… spinning plates in Tokyo live on television. They spun 91 plates. This record has only been beaten once in 1996 – again by David, this time assisted by Debbie Wooley in Bangkok Thailand where they spun a phenomenal 108 plates. The record stands to this day!
David was born in Portadown, Co. Armagh and after travelling the world decided to settle down in Castletownbere, on one of West Cork’s most rugged peninsula’s. He was a natural innovator, a maverick, an agitator and a subversive. All these traits made him a radical pioneer in circus which he used as a way to influence change. In 1984 while working at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe the seminal contemporary circus troupe ‘Ra Ra Zoo’ was born. Founded by Sue Broadway, Stephen Kent, David Spathaky and Sue Bradley together – ‘Ra Ra Zoo’ was motivated by a desire for change – political & social. ‘Ra Ra Zoo’ sought to do more than create circus which entertained – one might say they sought to instigate.
They called this version of circus ‘Neo Circus’ or ‘New Variety’. Now it might be referred to as ‘Contemporary Circus’. This influential circus troupe spawned many new circus artists over its lifetime including ‘Gandini Juggling’, ‘La le les’, ‘Gravity & Levity’ among others.
David Spathaky sadly passed away in February 2023 and this ‘Circus Explored’ project aims to honour his legacy as the world record plate spinner and to inspire the circus artists of the future, both North and South of the Irish border. Change is always possible.