Circus reaches out

• Circus WA Belle Butler at this years’ Fremantle Festival. Photo by Rachel Circus reaches out

CIRCUS WA has a new fundraiser it hopes will help expand its outreach programs to children living with disabilities and Indigenous youth. 

The Friends of the Freo Big Top event will take place in Princess May Park on October 9 and feature performances from Circus WA instructors and students. 

Performance director Nathan Kell said he had created an immersive experience for audiences. 

“In this show I call Filium, I hope to bring our guests on a transformational journey,” he said.

Artistic director Jo Smith said the physicality of circus skills could be beneficial for people with disabilities or those who’ve had limited opportunities.

“We know about the connection between body and mind and whatever helps strengthen the body will help strengthen the mind,” Ms Smith said.

“Failure is part of the process and because of this resilience is developed and confidence built.”

Forced to move from Old Customs House on Phillimore Street in 2017, Circus WA has called a tent in Princess May Park home since then.

Ms Smith said the hunt is still on for a brick-and-mortar location as operating out of a big top has its challenges. 

“We are exposed to the cold weather and we have break ins, safety standards are harder to achieve and storage is limited but the big top is perfectly designed for a circus and we are more visible to the public,” she said. 

“We aim to stay in Fremantle but if someone else comes to us with a good offer to move, we will take it.” 

Although Covid-19 pandemic hit the circus hard, Ms Smith said the troupe was prepared thanks to a survival strategy developed in 2016 which made it easier secure government and community funding.

“We continued to hold our classes online as we felt a responsibility to our community to keep our classes running and to share our love and support because for the people who are involved, this is their life.”

Ms Smith says for Circus WA to grow it needs to diversify its funding sources and not be so heavily reliant on class fees.

“This is why we are holding our Friends event; to invite people into the magic of circus and to fundraise at the same time,” she said.

“We hope our guests will leave wowed by the power of circus, and motivated to support its ongoing development.”

by CAIN ANDREWS

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