Artist In Focus: Houston Odum

Founder and Director of Activate Entertainment

In October 2020, Activate Entertainment took to the streets to perform a unique 15-minute show titled “Flying Awake”, entertaining audiences across the Triad five times that day. A violinist, contemporary dancer, and perhaps the world’s best hand-balancer comprised the contemporary circus troupe directed by Houston Odum, turning an unsuspecting public into an enraptured audience as the street performances unfolded. “I have never seen anything in my whole life that made me feel what I felt by that performance”, said one attendee, brought to tears by the piece.

This was just the start for Activate. Odum, who is originally from Jamestown, NC, traces his roots in circus to his love of juggling and his exposure to modern circus from a young age. His training as a set designer at UNC School of the Arts fueled a desire to bring contemporary circus to the Triad. He started Activate during the Pandemic as a way to provide work for artists and to bring performance to the public while abiding by regulations. Since then, the company has grown to become a staple in the Triad and beyond, with two full-scale theatrical productions scheduled for February and April of 2024; “Solstice: a Winter Circus Experience” and “Rooted: the Story of Dreams”. “Rooted” marks Activate’s first indoor presentation in Greensboro, with a show that can only be described as “A Living Poem about the South”.

Homegrown and world-renowned; this is the heart of Activate Entertainment. Odum brings together the best of the Triad’s local talent with world-renowned artists, providing valuable experience and exposure while remaining rooted in Greensboro. Local artists like dancer Dom Sebastian, play an integral part in building Activate’s productions, with early rehearsals involving experiential exploration to collectively create, allowing the people behind the characters to bring a sense of tangibility and reality to something playful and entertaining.

As an Artist Support Grantee of The Arts Council of Greater Greensboro, Odum received funding to network and pitch his work in Montreal, QC leading to an opportunity for the company to perform a segment of their show “Rooted” at the 6th Edition of the St. John’s International Circus Festival in Newfoundland, Canada.

Activate Entertainment’s performances draw out a part of the human experience that can only be described as encountering the extraordinary. To see for yourself, visit their website at to learn more and purchase tickets for their upcoming shows.


Winston-Salem, NC: February 16-18, 2024

Durham, NC: February 21, 2024

Hamlet, NC: February 24, 2024


Greensboro, NC: April 2-3. 2024