The Paper Doll Militia, led by Rain Anya and Sarah Bebe Holmes, was born over a cup of coffee and a book of poetry by Tim Burton. Their purpose is to enrich the cultural life of the community through dynamic movement, storytelling and education. They seek to create a total visual and emotional experience. In the creation process, they emphasize interdisciplinary collaborations within the larger artistic community. Their educational programs focus on aerial skill building and theatricality, and are designed to instill a sense of discipline, creativity, and empowerment.


Interview with SCC

Shared Culture Concepts got the pleasure of interviewing Rain Anya of Paper Doll Militia to discuss her experience as a circus artist, coach, and business co-owner. We discussed the history and aspirations of Paper Doll Militia, how to keep things fresh with your business, and how to keep creating in the world of circus arts.

“In order for creativity to thrive you have to allow for making mistakes. That’s part of the process of trial and error is that you learn from your mistakes. And it keeps things fresh and new and interesting. And not being afraid of failure. Knowing that it’s part of the process. That’s where you make a lot of your best discoveries is in the failures.”

Balance between business, art, and personal life

Rain explains how she is able to find a balance between her business, creative explorations, and personal life. Despite being a self-proclaimed workaholic, she surrounds herself with people who can pull her out of her intense focus and force her to find leisure time. She also talks about the importance of finding activities that are not related to circus so she can keep balance. 

“I have to create a container that is my leisure time. ‘Don’t work! Rain, don’t work!’… As a freelancer, someone who runs their own business, self-employed artist, you can be on all the time. It’s not a clock in clock out kind of job.”

What’s coming for PDM?

Rain gave us all a little sneak peek of what’s coming from PDM in 2020. She told us about the highly anticipated book Vertical Theatre Method,  “A combination of physical theatre and devising work coupled with aerial.” They will also offer a teacher training intensive, a 30-hour course, to coincide with the book. In the meantime, Paper Doll Militia continue to host teacher trainings and aerial retreats in several amazing locations! 



Paper Doll Militia website:
IG: @paperdollmilitia