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“A gifted educator”

- Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

Rhys Thomas

Growing up in rural Oregon, Rhys learned to juggle in high school to impress a girl and then lost the girl and juggled to forget.  He went to the University of Oregon and claims to have an M.F.A. (Master of Frivolous Arts). Paying off his college loans as a rain soaked street performer, Rhys created Science Circus to get an indoor gig at Seattle’s Pacific Science Center. This lead to museums in 7 countries and hundreds of school shows. Rhys also created his “tour de farce” of circus tricks called JuggleMania to get on to cruise ships and in to theaters and international festivals in 30 countries. Both shows work on so many levels that they’re often compared to Pixar movies.


Since 1987, Rhys has performed his unique blend of hilarity and dexterity …

  • as Artist in Residence at The Smithsonian Institution (where he once arrived early enough to see them vacuuming the elephant in the foyer);

  • as Best American Act at the World Cup Street Performer Competition in Shizuoka, Japan;

  • on a live world-wide television broadcast from AT&T Bell Labs teaching the mathematics of juggling;

  • on Mediterranean and Caribbean cruise ships;

  • as a command performance at The European Juggling Convention;

  • inside a 4,000 year old Egyptian tomb alongside paintings of ancient jugglers;

  • as the first juggler to win an Oregon Arts Fellowship

  • and at theaters, festivals, museums, schools and banquet halls on four continents.

Highly respected in the juggling world, Rhys is a recipient of the Ben Linder Memorial Award for Inspiration, has twice been profiled in “Juggle” magazine and appears on several DVD’s including “The Jugglers That Jugglers Watch.”


Rhys’ greatest accomplishment was to marry Maria Slayter. Their greatest creations are Isabel and Matilda Thomas who not only juggle on stilts, but act, draw, play music, sculpt, sew, and set fashion goals for the many who admire them.


True or False:

Rhys once had a man die watching his show.

Rhys saved an audience from being trampled by clydesdales.

Rhys holds the record for tallest unicycle ridden on frozen ocean.

Rhys once set ice on fire during a hockey game halftime show.

Rhys was asked to “dumb it down” 3x in a national TV interview.

[T T T F (that was a friend) T]

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