group of performers on stage

Our Story

The history of Esh Circus Arts


Our Founder

Sable Stewart founded what was then known as Esh Aerial Arts in 2010, as a way to make ends meet while they established their performance career after graduating from the Professional Program at the New England Center for Circus Arts. The immediate enthusiasm and demand for circus classes in Boston lead Sable to partner with fellow NECCA grads Ellen Waylonis and Roger May to offer more classes and better serve the budding circus community. The team of owners worked together through 2018, when Sable departed for a warmer climate and new adventures in the San Francisco Bay area. Esh continues under the leadership of Ellen and Roger, though Sable does come back for visits every now and then!

2010 – 2015

Humble Beginnings

Esh’s first location was in the heart of downtown Boston next to Fenway park. We opened in the back room of an old tire store turned gym, sharing space with rattling HVAC equipment and plants growing through holes in the wall (yes really). Despite the humble surroundings, founder Sable Stewart and their business partners Ellen Waylonis and Roger May were driven to build a home for circus in Boston, and our students were excited to have a safe place to learn.

We soon outgrew our tiny room, and with help from the community, picked up and moved to a larger space within a converted industrial building in Porter Square. It was there we really established ourselves as a center for high quality, inclusive, and safety conscious circus training. Our staff expanded to include coaches with diverse backgrounds in circus, our student base kept growing, and a strong and supportive community took root. In our Porter Square location we launched our youth program, held our first student show, and began to offer training space for local and visiting professional circus artists.

By autumn of 2014 we had run out of room – and out of time. Our landlord let us know that the building had been sold, and we had only three months to find a new home. With a lot of luck, and an immense show of support from our community, we were able to renovate the incredible building that is the home of Esh today. We opened in our current space in January of 2015.

We are so very thankful to our students for the support they have shown us over the years, and we are still astounded by the way this community continues to grow. It really does take a village.

2015 – Today

Esh Today

Today, Esh is a 5,000 sq foot facility located in the heart of Somerville, only a few minutes walk from Harvard and Porter squares. Our facility features adjustable rigging points, padded floors, spotting belts for acrobatics, a dance area, and an on-site treatment room for physical therapy. Along with our sister school the Commonwealth Circus Center, we have become the premiere home for circus in the Boston area.

With a staff of over 30 experts, we offer a large selection of classes in many different circus disciplines for adults and children of all ages. Most of our classes are recreational, and we are proud to be an inclusive circus home for people of all experience levels, genders, and body types. We also offer more advanced training for aspiring professionals through one on one training and our pre-professional programs. Additionally, we support local and touring professional circus artists with residency programs and access to training space.

Follow us on Instagram!