BRAIN FOOD: Matters for the mind to chew on - Unlikely managers - Ringmaster, Zippos Circus

BRAIN FOOD: Matters for the mind to chew on - Unlikely managers - Ringmaster, Zippos Circus - Name: Norman Barrett

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Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

Name: Norman Barrett

When did you become a manager? I first donned the top hat and red coat in the early 1960s and I've been ring-mastering the world over ever since. I've been in the circus all my life - my father was a farmer who used to train animals to do tricks. He then started his own circus, where I was born.

What does management mean to you? Diplomacy and being a good listener. I handle people from all cultures and backgrounds, and I run the ship behind the scenes as well as in the ring. It's really important that everybody is treated equally. It's my job to ensure that everyone is happy and well looked after - animals as well as people - so that they all give their best performance in the ring.

What do you love/hate about it? I love the excitement of performing, even after all these years. I hate the accidents that can happen. It's a risky business and I've seen lion-tamers get mauled and trapeze artists break bones. As ringmaster, though, I have to be prepared to carry on with the show.

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