After the humble beginnings of a set of fire clubs on street corners around Ireland, Hillas went on to tour the wider world. Formerly to expand his skill base, both formally in school and informally amongst the many friends he has worked with; and latterly to hone the performance of those skills not only on the street but also under big tops, in cabarets and even in prisons.
He considers himself a “jack of all trades”, creating solo street shows from a variety of skills; but primarily working directly with his audience. He has a love of slapstick and farce, enjoying, and influenced by, the stunts and style of many of the old silent movies. While he often works as a solo performer, he relishes the opportunity presented when collaborating on ensemble pieces such as “Unsuitable” (2016-2018) &“Toin Thar Ceann” (2009 – 2011) (with Tumble Circus) or “Cyclope” (2012; 2014) (with PlateauLac/MAAG).
As one of the founding members of Circus Bone Idle, Hillas was involved in many site-specific performances that the company undertook, from celebrating the centenary of Belfast City Hall (Fly Butterfly), and the re-opening of the Crescent Arts Centre to the first site-specific performance commissioned by the pFlasterspektakel in Linz, Austria. Bone Idle also worked on many Carnival parades with the Beat Initiative, a Belfast-based carnival collective, bringing circus arts to the carnival for the first time in Belfast.
Hillas has also worked more recently in Television and Film, as a special extra, most recently in Disney’s remake of Dumbo, directed by Tim Burton.