The Vision: The vision is to bring the joy and healing of PLAY and creative self discovery to disadvantaged groups of children and youth, through introduction and development physical creative skills such as circus and dance, while sharing a profound personal and playful international cultural educational exchange with the students, the teaching team and the communities involved.
The intention is to promote health and well being through the delivery of circus skills courses and workshops. The courses will teach participants key personal skills such as self motivation, creative expression, discipline, team work, planning, organization, fitness and physical co-ordination. Professional circus skills will be taught, such as: circus performance specialties( theatre, clowning, ariel, hoop, staff, dance, poi, juggling, acrobatics and more), choreography, stage and sound management.
Target Group: Workshops will be primarily for disadvantaged and in crisis youth of many kinds– refugees, migrants, impoverished, disabled or ill. However, we will strive to include all members of the local communities who wish to participate and have a passion for circus performance and training. Community engagement is a priority, so we will work in partnership with local teachers and organizations in order to facilitate connection and cultural exchange. A challenging yet joyful goal and energizing creative activity will draw together the diverse ethnic groups, increase a sense of connection to people and place, and develop a sense of successful cooperation that will extend beyond the circus stage.
Goals and Actions: In late 2016 Spark Circus will set up a base in the region of Mae Sot, Thailand. For the last ten years we have offered 1-2 month annual visits to the area, teaching workshops, doing playshops, performing shows and donating circus toys. There has been much support and enthusiasm from the local community. There are many organizations that work with the disadvantaged children in the area, that are excited to work with Spark Circus on a more long term basis, partnering with us to teach “intensives” to interested students over the course many months .
The long-term goal is to train participants to the level of teaching and performance, and for them to become the teachers in their own communities. We would like to see this goal realized by the end of 2018. This will provide professional employment in the performance arts for some, and hobbies or fitness programs for others. It will encourage body awareness, confidence, creativity, local participation and share the joy of circus & street arts in the area. Ultimately we would like to see the establishment of a local circus performance group and training space in Mae Sot.
In addition to the work in Mae Sot Thailand, the Spark Circus team will be participating in several shorter international projects hosted by other social circus organizations, to further our range of experience and foster broad cultural connections. In 2017 we will also begin the planning and fundraising for a social circus program with the disadvantaged and in crisis First Nations youth in Canada, to be implemented in 2018.
Another goal we will be working towards is an “International Social Circus Manual.” This will be a “how to guide” outlining methods and approaches to running social circus programs for in crisis or troubled/remote communities. It will include include video resources demonstrating teaching the various circus skill sets and group games without use of language. It will be a collaborative, interactive , multi media resource for all social circus organizations, large and small. Free, sharable, and open for contributions, so we all can learn from each other, share our resources! This exciting resource will be up and running by mid 2017.
Structure: Spark Circus will seek to employ skilled performers- both international and local (wherever possible)– to teach short and mid length courses each year. We will have two paid directors developing and running the programs and cultivating the long terms vision. The teaching team will be paid in some programs, and volunteering with expenses covered in others. The programs will be funded through grants and international fund raising campaigns and events. Spark Circus will be registered in the UK as a “Not for Profit” NGO agency.
‘It is about working on what seems impossible and try to go over it. Circus becomes a tool to question its own limits, work on self-development, trust, solidarity, social fulfilment… Our actions are not an answer nor a single entertainment, but offer an experience and open a door.’