Ahead of the 2016 International Buskers Festival, Dionne Christian profiles the best in the business

Hannah Cryle from The Big Wheel Show (Australia)

"I perform tricks in something called a German Wheel, which is basically a human-sized hamster wheel. I have to be a bit careful because I'm often working in small spaces so I've got to use all my skills to control the wheel. I've been doing circus since I was 9 years old, though and now I'm 28."

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Photo / Supplied

Illwill from Beat the Streets (Australia)

"I'm from the Bronx but I've lived in Australia for seven years. There's three of us from the States, one from Australia and one from Morocco and we do breakdancing, tap dancing and comedy. How does the tap dancing fit in? Well, that's where some of the comedy comes in. Audiences might be surprised at how loud we are. But I think that's what they like about us!"

Seb Whipits (Germany)

"I'm a sexually ambiguous German whip performer with a relaxed presence and a pleasant personality. Growing up in the small town of Kleinstadt gave me time to perfect his art as the only whip juggler in the world. My show features whip cracking, juggling and an unbelievable duel fire whip finale."

WOODY WOODman (Germany):

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Photo / Supplied

"It's the first time I've visited New Zealand but it's been on my list of places I wanted to travel to so I applied to be part of the festival and I was accepted. It's the most kilometres I have ever covered. I've performed in Thailand and China but never New Zealand. My show is a silent one where I create myself out of a tree-trunk and then set about getting to know the people around me."

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Toni Smith (New Zealand)

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Photo / Supplied

"The main part of my act involves hula hoops, but I also do some jokes. I think people who watch street performers might be surprised to know the variety and talent that's out there. It's world-class entertainment!"

The Mr Spin Show (Australia)

"It's a real challenge to entertain teenagers and young adults when yours is a family show and you're aiming to keep young ones and grandparents amused. If you can get the 5-year-olds saying, 'you're my hero', and the teens telling you you're cool, and older people saying, 'aren't you sweet?' then you've done it! I'm a comedic juggler who juggles baseball bats while riding an 8ft high unicycle, balancing a glass of water on my head.
It's a highly skilled juggling act but I started when a friend taught me to juggle using three rocks; I was about 7 and I've been doing it ever since."

Need to know

2016 International Buskers Festival, Friday January 29 to Monday, February 1; shows start daily at noon.

• Night Shows run on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

• Venues include Aotea Square, Viaduct Basin, Princes Wharf, Downtown Shopping Centre and the Karanga Plaza in the Wynyard Quarter.