See here The article printed in Onecoastmagazine.com
Spark Circus is returning to Koh Samui and Koh Phangan in January 2017 for a spectacular tour of the resorts and schools with their immersive dance, fire and aerial acrobatics show! These incredible shows are designed to astonish and dazzle audiences while shining a light on the difficulties faced by refugees in Burma and Thailand.
All of the money raised from the shows in January will go towards funding the one-month long Spark Circus tour of the Burmese refugee camps, orphanages and migrant schools in the north of Thailand, where they will be providing shows, interactive play and circus programs to the children in the surrounding areas of Mae Sot.
Spark Circus has now been touring the refugee camps for 11 years. What started out as a gathering of compassionate fire performers, has developed into a contemporary circus company; focusing more on comedy, hip hop, juggling, aerial and acrobatics. But don’t worry, they have certainly not lost their Spark; the fire will be in full force for their Koh Samui & Koh Phagnan tour!
This year’s tour starts off with a sparkly BANG at W resort, after which there will be an intimate (but definitely still as jaw-dropping!) show at Dr. Frogs restaurant. The team will then be heading to Koh Phagnan for a spectacular collaboration with Haad Rin Resort and Jungle Gym Eco Lodge. Last but by no means least, they will finish in their usual spot, at The Sanctuary, Haad Tien, where it all began back in 2005. ***More locations coming soon, keep up to date via their website sparkcircus.org***
This year, Spark Circus has a new director at its helm; the impressively multi-skilled Charlene Whitehead, we caught up with her to discuss her involvement and the future of Spark Circus;
“It’s my third tour now and I just can’t get enough. To pull up to those schools and camps and be greeted by hundreds of smiles and screams of excitement, is just beyond magical.
As we have been working in the Mae Sot region for 11 years, we would like to take it to the next level. The children are starting to pick up the circus skills that we have been teaching them so we are now providing them with longer, more intensive training.
And this year we have a surprise for them! We are so excited to see the look on the children’s faces when they see the two incredible Burmese performers on the team this year! Not only will they act as performers and teachers, but they will also help us translate and communicate with the children. This is a dream come true for us. It is so inspiring for the children to see people from their own country performing the skills that they are learning, and making a living from it!
A big thank you to Samui Circus school for introducing us to them and letting us take them for a month.
We hope in the future to create a community space in Mae Sot for physical activity and circus skills training for the long term. Hopefully in a few years they will be touring Koh Samui with their own show.”
Social Circus is a phenomenon exploding all over the world as a tool to guide and support young people who are struggling in one way or another. “As I have learned from my own experiences, circus is a wonderful way of overcoming trauma. Circus teaches us to be bold, to take risks and to express ourselves in any colourful way we choose.
Many of these children are very shy and quiet and not encouraged to express themselves. Circus activities provide them with the tools to get into their bodies, play and to communicate with the world in a different way.”
Burma has been in a state of civil war for over 60 years. Hundreds of thousands Burmese, Karen and other tribal ethnicities are living in Thailand in camps along the border. Although the situation on the outside seems to be getting better, there is still fighting in the border regions in the north. Families are still escaping to the Thailand and children are still going hungry and unschooled.
Spark Circus not only provides circus shows, play and toys for the children, they also provide funds for things such as clean water, playgrounds, toilets, blankets, whatever need is expressed Spark makes all attempts to meet it. “It’s our way of saying we see you and we are here for you. As regular visitors of Thailand this is our way of giving back to the community that we so readily take from. My journey in Thailand has just as much been a journey into Burma. We are very happy to be a part of bringing awareness to tourists and visitors in Thailand of the situation of the Burmese in this country.” Charlene Whitehead, Spark’s co-director with Andrea Russell.
Spark Circus is so grateful for the ongoing support from the Samui community! The generous and thoughtful businesses, resorts, schools, and individuals here have been such a huge part of making the work we do with the kids possible. Thank you for your valuable contributions to the project! We can’t do without you!
To show your support you can:
- Go and see a show! To find out about tickets for shows email: [email protected]
- Like them on Facebook www.facebook.com/sparkcircus
- Share their website and encourage people to donate www.sparkcircus.org
- Donate!! https://sparkcircus.org/feed-the-fire/donate/