Young reporters go behind the scenes at the Chinese State Circus.

The Chinese State Circus is a touring circus where daring acrobatics are interspersed with scenes from Peking Opera, Chinese legends, folk dances and fables. The circus is touring Ireland and is currently performing at the Belfast Festival in Northern Ireland. 

Young reporters Katie Kavanagh and Cathal Bury, both from Enniskerry in County Wicklow, visited the Chinese State Circus during its run of performances at the Royal Dublin Society (RDS) to discover what goes on behind the scenes.

Katie Kavanagh speaks to a woman who works in booking office and also makes popcorn for the shows. She enjoys working with the Chinese artistes and musicians who are away from China for eight months of every year,

They're great they have a really great time.

Between 75 and 80 people are involved with putting on the Chinese State Circus. There are 50 performers and the rest are stage crew and management for the show.

One man’s role requires a wide range of skills from truck driving, setting up the stage, ensuring the performers are healthy and,

At the end of the day putting on a suit and a dicky bow and announcing the start of the show.

The show is based on Chinese acrobatic acts involving hand standing and tumbling. All the performers are trained in the Chinese tradition of Ma Xi.

It takes four or five years to master full basic citrus techniques which are features for the Chinese circus which are quite different from the western circus.

It is vital the performers all carry out warm up exercises for an hour before the show to lessen their chances of injury, but of course,

Practice makes perfect.

'Echo Island' was an Irish young people's television programme on RTÉ Network 2 that was broadcast as part of 'The Den'. It was preceded by 'Jo Maxi' and followed by 'Sting' on Network 2. It first aired in September 1994 with two episodes a week and grew to four episodes a week - two in English and two in Irish - in 1995.

It featured segments such as 'Make and Do', Pet Clinic with Pete Wedderburn, interviews with adults in The Shack, books, film and television reviews, regular appearances by Rocco a Moluccan cockatoo and showcased young Irish rock bands. It ran for six seasons and concluded in June 1999.

The presenters included Dara Ó Briain, Bláthnaid Ní Chofaigh, Alan Hughes, Derek Mooney, Mary Kingston and Carrie Crowley.

This episode of 'Echo Island’ was broadcast on 14 November 1995. The presenter is Derek Mooney.