The Rising Star of Social Circus

As a website primarily devoted to circus performance, I have had little to say about the wider field of Social Circus, where skills are used to benefit communities and the disadvantaged – to help people learn, grow and develop as individuals.  This is an ever widening area in which circus trained artists work and is empowering people from all walks of life around the globe.

(Even The Guardian have been writing about it this month, in the wake of circus publicity that followed the branding of the UK’s first National Centre for Circus Arts)

This week The Effective Circus Project has published Studying Social Circus: Openings and Perspectives, a series of articles and research following their seminar on worldwide Social Circus, held at Tampere University last December.

Here you can see Ali Williams, Chairperson of the Circus Development Agency UK and Creative Director of NoFit State Circus, giving a talk in Cardiff earlier this month, about her experiences with Circus Kathmandu  working with young survivors of human trafficking in Nepal.

This week sees the 6th session from Educircation, whose partners are working to improve the quality of circus teaching across Europe.  The 5 days will focus on the importance of physical contact, with a particular emphasis on the development of children through cirkomotoriek technique. Previous sessions have revolved around crossing cultural and linguistic barriers, working with patients with mental health issues or disabilities, and disadvantaged youths.

There is a bountiful history of the arts being used for social change, and the fact that circus skill-sets are also revealing the benefits they can provide to society is a positive sign for a healthy future development of the art.

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  1. Slightly different but worth a mention is Circus Starr. Now in its 26th year, Starr is a 500-seat big top circus that tours 75 venues a year. It uses telesales to sell tickets to local businesses who then donate the tickets to disabled and disadvantaged children and their families. They give away around £1 million worth of tickets every year and donate profits to local charities such as hospices. Definitely a circus doing good work and funded wholly through its own efforts. I’ve just done a feature on them which will hopefully run in The Stage in time for World Circus Day.

  2. Pingback: The Circus Diaries

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