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Remembering Circus Flora’s David Balding

Circus Flora

The members of the Circus Flora family were stunned and saddened when their beloved patriarch David Balding passed away on Friday, May 9. One of the members of that family is theater director Cecil MacKinnon who is also known as Yo-Yo, the Narrator. She joined Cityscape host Steve Potter to remember Balding.

MacKinnon has been with Circus Flora since its first performances in May, 1986 at the Spoleto Festival in South Carolina and has worked closely with Balding ever since. She commented on what she believes is Balding’s greatest impact on the company. “It’s David’s vision. What I think drew almost every individual who works for Circus Flora,which is a lot of people, was David’s vision of a theatrical circus and his warmth and generosity as a person and his interest in all different kinds of people. I never heard him be nasty about a person even when he was angry at someone.  He wouldn’t denigrate them.  He would just state his case. That is a wonderful kind of leader to have. We have many different personalities with different interests on the show and David really was the reason each and every one of them was there.”

A memorial for David Balding will be held on Memorial Day, Monday, May 26 at 11:00 a.m. in the Circus Flora tent on the Powell Hall parking lot.

Although it won’t seem the same without their leader in his top hat opening each performance, Circus Flora members will carry on with the show.  The 28th season opens May 30 with “Pawn.”MacKinnon and the new Circus Flora artistic director Jack Marsh will be Steve Potter's guests on May 30 to talk about this year's production and the future of the organization.

For more on David Balding's live and legacy, read Robert Duffy's remembrance.

Cityscape is produced by Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer and sponsored in part by the Missouri Arts Council, the Regional Arts Commission, and the Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis.

Mary Edwards came to St. Louis Public Radio in 1974, just after finishing her Bachelor of Music degree at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She has served the station in a number of capacities over the years. From 1988-2014 she also taught an undergraduate class in radio production at Webster University. Mary was inducted into the St. Louis Media History Foundation Media Hall of Fame in April, 2017 and received the Gateway Media Literacy Partners' Charles Klotzer Media Literacy Award in 2012. Mary retired from St. Louis Public Radio in 2018, but still serves the station as a St. Louis Symphony Producer.