My Weekend: In the summer I might not have a day off at all

Michaela Heyer, is a founding member of Cork Circus Factory. Her work performing and rigging sees her travel abroad - but she's looking forward to upcoming performances in Cork this month
My Weekend: In the summer I might not have a day off at all

Michaela Heyer presents “Funky Fi” :Catch Funki Fi at Culture Night Sept 23.

TELL us a little bit about yourself:

I’m originally from Germany but moved to Ireland in 1998. I studied Multimedia in Waterford for two years and then moved to Cork to study Computer Science in UCC. I finished my PhD in 2007, just in time to run away with the circus!

I’m one of the founding members of what is now Cork Circus Factory. I started off working as an acrobat but quickly discovered my love for aerial, especially silks, and shortly after Chinese pole.

In the last couple of years I have also started doing doubles trapeze and I performed my doubles trapeze act at Glastonbury this year, which was a lot of fun. I’m also a fully qualified rigger, and my rigging jobs can be anything from circus and TV shows to concerts and festivals. Both jobs are essentially full-time jobs and I sometimes feel I should give one of them up, but I love both and just can’t choose between them.

I often work abroad for long stretches of time, which can be nice but also quite challenging. When I’m at home and not working, then most of my days are filled with training in Cork Circus Factory.

What is your ideal way to spend a Friday night?

Working in the entertainment industry means that I often work on a Friday night, but when I’m off I like to chill with a book or go and see a show or a play.

Lie-ins or up with the lark?

I like to get up early.

Michaela Heyer presents “Funky Fi” :Catch Funki Fi at Culture Night Sept 23.
Michaela Heyer presents “Funky Fi” :Catch Funki Fi at Culture Night Sept 23.

Does work creep into your weekend at all?

Yep. I work most weekends. To be honest, I don’t really have a concept of weekends as such, it’s just another day of the week. Days off can fall on any day for me. 

Often during busy season in the summer, I might not have a day off at all for a stretch of three to four weeks.

If money was no object, where would you head to on a weekend city break? And who would you bring with you?

Hmmm ... not sure I can pick one place ... so many places that I’d love to visit (or re-visit). I would bring my sister Nicki!

Closer to home, is there some place you like to head to recharge the batteries?

I love going to the beach! Kinsale is a favourite spot, but there’s so many beautiful places in and around Cork. We’re quite spoiled, really!

Do you like to catch up with family/friends at the weekend?

As I work a lot of weekends, I try to make an effort to catch up with friends and family at other times.

Do you get to indulge any hobbies? Even as a spectator?

I try to go to contemporary dance classes with the wonderful Inma Pavon, but with my job it’s hard to commit to anything regularly as I never know when/where I’ll be working.

Michaela Heyer performing.
Michaela Heyer performing.

Entertain or be entertained? If it’s the latter, do you have a signature dish?

I love cooking but not sure I’m very good at the rest of entertaining haha. No signature dish as such, but I also love baking and I make a very good gluten-free vegan lemon drizzle cake!

We have so many places to eat out in Cork — where are your go to spots for coffee/ lunch/ special meal?

I love Iyers for lunch! I’m a bit of a coffee snob to be honest ... in the city 3 Fools and Alchemy would be my favourites for an oat flat white. Eating out can be tricky as I’m gluten-free and vegan, and not a lot of places cater well for both..

Sunday night comes around too fast.. how do you normally spend it?

If I’m not working, then probably either reading or watching a movie or catching up with friends.

What time does your alarm clock go off on Monday morning?

No set time as such ... anything between 5am and 7am is fairly common but if I’m doing a de-rig I might actually start work at midnight or 1am.

Michaela Heyer in action.
Michaela Heyer in action.

Anything else you are up to right now...

Right now I’m working at Creamfields festival in the UK. I’m heading back to Ireland next week as I have a residency in the Irish Aerial Creation Centre in Limerick to create a new Chinese pole/aerial pole act. After that it’s time to get ready for Pitch’d Festival which takes place all over Cork City. 

I’m both rigging and performing at the festival so that will be a busy few weeks, but I’m very much looking forward to it.

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