Fire, light and love… we did it!

This year was challenging as Andrea Russell our Spark Circus Director  faced severe health challenges, and our two team leaders, April Mietz and Shelley Poplak become responsible for implementing the 2013 project on the ground while at the same time trying to “download” Andrea’s seven years of experience.

Fortunately, Andrea was able to join the tour in Thailand in person to offer her support and help. This, coupled with April’s circus performance production skills and Shelley’s attention to logistic detail made it possible to even improve our organizational systems.

Our plan to create a “social circus manual” still needs a lot of work but overall the program went amazingly well.

You, our supporters, helped us raise more funds and so had more resources to share than ever, and did some really powerful things with what we had available. Our donations included larger creative kit donation sets for more schools and orphanages and also a wide range of basic needs donations, including (among others) putting a roof on a Karen Herbal Hospital, a fund for those at the Nu Poe hospital who can not pay for food while there, support for the Mae Sot clinic, the children on the dump, fruit for children who rarely get any, a playground for a shelter for street kids and a whole selection of instruments for a migrant school looking to begin a music program. We were also able to retain a positive balance in our Spark Circus accounts, to put towards 2013/14 endeavors.


Our schedule was hectic and intense.

Our last day show at a refugee camp

We reached more children than ever before with our funny day shows and creative playshops, and also began a program to teach the teachers and the workers for the migrant schools, so they can not only experience the joys and benefits of circus play, but also support their students over the course if the year when we are not there.  This workshop program was very well attended , much appreciated and a lot of fun!
Sustainability work, essentially teaching the teachers– is an aspect of the Spark! Circus program we will develop more in the future, doing it earlier in the project schedule, and more often.

Jex shows how to use non-verbal body awareness to memorize a hoop sequence

Dave’s body awareness workshop

Tink sharing some hoop fun

Martin sharing some poi tips with Tina assisting

Our volunteers had a great experience, working hard and learning a lot on the road.

Our fire and light shows were amazing, entertaining, exciting and very well received at all locations.  The audience is very excited by the danger and skill of the fire show!  One issue that arose in regard to our fire show (amongst the team) was concern over the environmental harm of burning large quantities of kerosene for the performances.

We started a ‘carbon tithing’ system by buying 15 fruit trees which were planted at a street shelter One Dream One World – and we hope will provide shade and nurture for many! We decided that in 2014 we will be planting one or more trees at each location we perform a fire show at, as a means of counterbalancing, at least symbolically and hopefully practically, the damage of smoke pollution. That said, we were there during burning season, and the amount of damage from whole mountainsides on fire is surely more significant.
But we decided to be responsible and address at least our own contribution to the problem as best we can. (There is no cleaner fire spinning fuel available in Thailand.)

We are happy and proud of what was achieved in 2013.
Andrea, April and Shelley
Co-team leaders 2013

Please see below for more details of our donations, and we will also be publishing a report including our financial statements in time.

Donations of toys and art supplies made to each school Spark Circus 2013 visited as follows:
20 Jan    Agape
21 Jan    Light School
22 Jan     Hwaykaloke
24 Jan    Chicken School
25 January     Tam Suea (TIger cave) School
26 Jan    Thairakiri school – no toy donation but gave B3,000 for food for joint fun day with 5 different schools
27 January    Future Light
29 January     Nobodaung
30 January     New Day School
30 January     Sky Blue School (evening) + donations of fruit for the children
31 January    Parame School
1 Feb        Namtok school
2 Feb        Hsathoolei school
4 Feb        Mokuthai (Pokra area)
5 Feb        LDF and H’lee Bee
6 Feb        BHSOH
8 Feb        Pyanduang
8 Feb        One dream One World
9 Feb        School in Mae Klok Ki village near Umphang
10 Feb    Unity School (in Karen controlled Burma)
11 Feb    KEDC in Nupoe camp
12 Feb    Donations of toys and art supplies and most of our used workshop tools left with camp education committee and with KEDC to distribute in the refugee camp

Plus, we donated more creative toys like art supplies and musical instruments when we left Mae Sot and shipped additional circus gear from Bangkok




Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.