A list of Social Circuses listed in the colouring book
‘Everyone needs to have fun’
Location: Yangon, Myanmar
Social Circus Myanmar was started by Jules Howarth, a multi-talented circus performer from the UK. Jules works with at-risk children who live in Yangon, a big city of Myanmar.
The goal of this project is to build a framework for a locally-led social circus network in Myanmar which nurtures and empowers disadvantaged children and young adults, and people living with disabilities.
‘Engage, inspire, ignite’
Location: Mission Beach, Queensland, Australia
It’s Rosie Bee who has put the purpose into the circus and created Mission Beach’s first social circus. Rosie works hard to bring together children from all walks of life,
leading children on a fun and inspired journey towards creative self discovery through the circus arts.
‘Leaving traces of joy’
Location: Ecuador & Colombia
Humor Y Vida was started by two clowns: Patricia Zurita and Shana Cancino. Humor y Vida tours the border of Ecuador and Columbia bringing art and theatre to children in need. Its main purpose is to strengthen educational and training processes that contribute to the empowerment of social values, human rights and cultural identity in the population, promoting social participation, human development and quality of life, through play, art and culture.
“Empowerment, inclusion and growth through circus”
Location: Tucson, Arizona, U.S.A.
Katherine Tesch started the Circus Academy of Tucson in order to ensure there was safe, consistent, accessible, adaptable and positive circus education available to everyone in the Tucson community who wanted it.
Their focus is reaching all the youth in their city that want to circus no matter what and do so by offering adaptive programs and full scholarships to every kid that needs one.
‘Reaching new heights through circus arts’
Location: Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
Circus Up was started by Leah Abel and Kate Mills in 2014 in order to bring circus, an art form that they love, to residents of Boston, Massachusetts, who might not otherwise have access to engage with and learn about circus. Circus Up works primarily with youth from 8-18 in a variety of settings, including after-school programs, summer camps, and community events.
Circus Up uses circus arts to overcome social barriers and build community with people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities.
‘Inspiring young people through circus’
Location: London, England
Albert and Trea’s dedication and endless energy inspired generations of young people to raise their aspiration through participation in the arts: preparing them to face the challenges of the modern world, building their confidence and giving them a sense of belonging to a challenging, exciting and extended family. In addition to weekly workshops, they offered numerous opportunities to young people – some who had never had a passport – to travel worldwide, to participate in International Parades and Arts Festivals.
‘We go where love is needed.’
When Sabine discovered clowning she felt so happy and relieved from all the burden that she was carrying because of growing up in a war zone. She instantly thought, ‘I wanna share this joy and magic with everyone around the world,’ and so started Clown Me In.
Clown Me In is a group of clowns who care about humanity.
‘We love people, we love to laugh, and most of all we love the streets!’
‘A place where you can run, jump, fly and land safely’
Location: Chibolya, Lusaka, Zambia
Circus Zambia is a Zambian non-profit social circus company from a slum called Chibolya in Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia. Chibolya is known for its lack of facilities, high level of poverty, drugs and criminality. Using circus, the company engages vulnerable youth ages 5-21 with an holistic training approach to serve their body, mind and soul.
‘We bring smiles and laughter to disadvantaged children around the world’
Jenny Alexander and Somsak Thongrot (Bow) are the lovely couple that make Balloon Circus possible! Both are performers and love teaching children. Bow is from Thailand and Jenny is from England.
All the children they teach are from orphanages. After visiting 155 orphanages they have only taught in one place that had experienced something similar before they got there. Balloon Circus wants to be an inspiration for children to try and see new things and remember their experience with them for the rest of their lives.
‘We bring laughter where it’s needed most’
Clowns Without Borders was invented by children and they still inspire us today. The UK chapter was set up in 2014 by Ping, a very determined and silly clown (Samantha Holdsworth), and we now share clown shows, games, music and fun all around the world with kids living in refugee camps. This is because refugee camps can be boring and sometimes, scary places. We love it most of all when we make children laugh, like when we met Rima in Turkey. She is 11 and from Syria, and she told Banana the clown, “I laugh soooo much, my face hurts!”
‘Art is a medium of social transformation‘
Location: El Salvador, Centro america
Sombrilla AyCS was born in El Salvador in 2015 with the arrival in the country of Jose Luis Castillo from Ecuador. Starting with just a suitcase under his arm, Jose attempts to conquer the impossible, to follow a path in search of beauty, in which strength, risk, agility , dexterity and mischief are harmonised to get a chill on the spine, a spontaneous laugh or an unconditional surrender. The road has not been easy, but the only possibility is to advance and know that we are becoming more and more eternal dreamers throughout the world in this quest to transform reality. Here in El Salvador the Umbrella opens, everyone welcome, come and play!
Exchanging good practices in social circus for the inclusion of minority groups.
Location: Alicante, Budapest & Napoli.
Opening the Circus Tent is an Erasmus + strategic partnership for youth project with the aim of sharing and developing resources and good practices in social circus for the inclusion of minority groups. This project comes to life thanks to the interest of each of the three European partner associations to improve and acquire resources for non-formal education and best practices when working with youngsters from minority backgrounds in Spain, Italy and Hungary, where we work in peripheral urban districts of poverty and discrimination.
‘Igniting sparks of hope’
Location: Mae Sot, Thailand
Spark Circus grew from an idea hatched in the early 2000’s at beach resorts on the southern islands of Thailand, where many of the staff are Burmese refugees. Awareness of the plight of these refugees and their families began to emerge, and one of the beach residents, Glenna Crawley, was inspired to take action and create the “Laughing for Life” circus project.
In 2007, this casual group morphed into Spark! Circus with Andrea Russell as its ringmaster. Spark Circus now visits the refugee camps and migrant schools every year, working together with the local communities to build moments of magic, wonder and joy.
Location: Londrina, Paraná, Brasil
‘A space for creation and experimentation’
The circus school of LONDRINA has developed for more than twenty years an ample social circus project, providing a better quality of life to all those involved with the project.
“My name is Miguel, I’m 6 years old and I always made circus because my parents always worked with it! What I like most in the circus are the acrobatics, especially the trampoline.”
Founded in 2015, Tejido Circo Social is a network that brings together professionals, projects and people interested in the social circus in Ecuador. Tejido promotes and encourages the practice of the social circus at the national level, connecting and enhancing projects, groups, groups, organizations and individuals, promoting, collaborating, performing tasks that sow the social circus as a tool for the change of society.
‘Spreading creativity, joy, solidarity, love, madness and passion for life’
‘Collaboration, creation and community’
Location: Laconia, New Hampshire, U.S.A.
Erin Lovett Sherman created ARTSFEST in 1999. Throughout her long career in teaching circus and performing arts, she has developed curricula for special needs including autism, ADD/ADHD, Down syndrome, behavioral and social issues and at-risk youth populations. ARTSFEST is passionate about helping people discover and develop their inner emotional strength and self-confidence, physical literacy, and teamwork and leadership skills, for the stage and for life.
‘Education, inclusion and social change’
Location: Reus, Spain
Rafael Arencon started Reus Circ Social with his friends Ayoub and Ahmed. They were members of a scout group and wished to improve and learn new skills to serve the young people in their city. Rafael loves the circus because his father is a great supporter and when he was a child he saw lots of circus shows! Ahmed loves the circus and acrobatics because he is from Morocco and it’s part of his culture. They started Reus Social Circus because they love social justice and to make a better world.
“Join The Magic Share The Laughter”
Ella The Great is a clown with a passion to encourage us to use our imagination and believe in ourselves; exploring our innate joy in discovery.
Working closely with charities, refugee groups, outreach programmes and community festivals, with over 20 years of experience in social circus.
Spreading cheer and smiles, self-empowerment and confidence, and taking silly seriously, collaboration is at the centre of Ella The Great’s clown work.
‘We Take Children and Youth Seriously’
‘If we can’t stop the war, let’s survive it happily everyday with laughter and joy.’
Afghan MMCC was started by David Mason and soon after was joined by Berit Muhlhausen and together they developed it into the amazing project that now exists.
Afghan MMCC has already touched the lives of more than 3,7 million children in Afghanistan since 2002.
‘Believe in laughter’
Clowns Without Borders started in Barcelona in 1993. A group of children in Yugoslavia wrote to their pen pals in Barcelona, expressing that they missed laughter. The Catalan children appealed to professional clown Tortell Poltrona, who went to Yugoslavia to perform.
CWB – USA was founded by Moshe Cohen in 1995. CWB – USA aims to use clown to relieve the suffering of all persons, especially children, who live in crisis situations. ‘We support resilience through laughter, and promote a spirit of global solidarity.’
‘We believe that children are the future’
Locations: Nicaragua, Kenya, India
Performers Without Borders (PWB) was first conceived by Jonny Forbes and Matt Morris in India during the Spring of 2006. Sweltering in the summer heat, they formed the idea to fuse their shared interests in performance and community. Performers Without Borders works towards giving orphans and vulnerable children the opportunity to explore their potential. This magical idea has now become projects in India, Kenya and Nicaragua and inspires hundreds of youth every year to learn, create and overcome social barriers.
April 7 every year – be there!
Initiated by the Asian Social Circus Association, the celebration is open to global circus enthusiasts wishing to create a tidal wave of joy and laughter to local communities everywhere!
Do you have a social circus? Do you like to bring joy to people through play and circus? Register yourself via the website and become part of the global movement.
“life is a challenge, my school is the circus”
Location: Dorado, Puerto Rico
Circo Social Puerto Rico started when the director Jafet Irizarry came back to Puerto Rico in 2013 after he worked in the favelas of Brasil with the Escola Nacional de Circo de Brasil. His sister Lesly who is also a social psychologist saw the potential of the circus as a social tool for youth at risk in the community. ‘Now we are part of this beautiful project in the world!’
Location: Alicante, Spain
Donyet Ardit’s program started in 1997 with a group of friends that wanted to play juggling together. Ten years later a social circus project was born. Based in the suburban neighbourhoods of Alicante, Donyet Ardit works with mixed groups of teenagers from ethnic groups such as the gypsy, Muslim and Spanish at risk of exclusion.
‘Helping children build dreams’
Location: Jakarta, Indonesia
One day, Dan Roberts went to Jakarta with Clowns Without Borders. When Dan made a performance and workshop for the children living in Cilincing, North Jakarta (one of the slum areas), many children asked him to return to teach more circus. Red Nose Foundation, or Yayasan Hidung Merah, was therefore established in 2008. The Red Nose Foundation believes that we can help children living in unfortunate circumstances through the art of Circus. This way the children have opportunities to develop their life skills so they can be a positive contributor to their community and have fun while they do.
‘Circus for everyone’
Location: Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Erin Ball is the passionate circus performer behind Kingston Circus Arts. Erin loves to move and to connect with others through movement and play. She performs and teaches regularly in Kingston and the surrounding areas. Erin teaches all bodies, shapes, sizes and situations. She has worked with amputees, people who use wheelchairs, Autism Ontario, etc. She also teaches her workshop called Flying Footless, a course for coaches working with lower limb amputees.
‘Chicago’s only social circus’
Location: Chicago, U.S.A.
Founded in 2001 by retired Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey clown, Paul Miller, CircEsteem helps youth build self-esteem and create safe and diverse communities through the learning of circus arts. During the first half of 2017, CircEsteem worked with more than 750 diverse youth from 21 Chicago neighborhoods. CircEsteem is Chicago’s only social circus.
‘Regardless of circumstance, every young person has the capacity to succeed’
Location: Prescott, Oakland, U.S.A.
We’ve always said: All it takes to be a clown is a warm heart and a red nose. If you bring a warm heart, we’ll provide the red nose! Prescott Circus Theatre was started by Aileen Moffitt in 1984 at Prescott Elementary School in West Oakland as an after-school clown class for her second grade students. It began as simply something new and fun for students. The program then got bigger and bigger and expanded to other schools. The core multicultural after-school troupe grew to become a well-recognized Oakland treasure. For the past 33 years, the “Prescott Clowns” have inspired thousands of fans at over 50 events each year.
‘Circus with purpose’
Location: Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Modo was created in 1995 by Martin Danziger as a professional theatre company. Over time, it was clear that social circus would engage more young people, so it changed. Modo’s main work is with the most deprived young folk in the area; they currently run a youth café in the town centre where there is a relaxed and safe environment for folk to come along with their friends and try some new and exciting circus activities. This has been a huge success for Modo as anti-social behaviour has dropped significantly in the area and a recent police report shows that since Modo began its work in the town centre crime has dropped by a massive 46% and 30% for the whole town!
‘Engage in development’
Location: Beirut, Lebanon
Cirquenciel was created in 2001. After trainings with Cirque du Monde, Arcenciel’s youth clubs perfected their circus skills and launched Cirquenciel, Lebanon’s first social circus school. Cirquenciel promotes intercultural dialogue and helps at-risk youth get back on track to success in life.
‘Inspiring kids for life’
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Zip Zap was founded by Brent, a South African trapeze artist, and Laurence, a French sports teacher and administrator. When visiting Cape Town in 1992, they saw that circus could help all the children of the rainbow nation become one big family. The programs provide opportunities for young South Africans from very different backgrounds to play, learn and live together using the medium of circus training and performance to model and demonstrate the possibility of true coexistence.
‘We’re just after your laughter’
Locations: Greece, India, Cambodia, Lebanon & Romania
Ash Perrin is the beard behind the Seagull movement. Moved by the plight of the Cambodian people on his travels, Ash decided to sell all his stuff, buy a big van and go to Romania to share Circus and play with underprivileged children. Ash’s passion to help the children of the world is unstoppable and now ‘The Flying Seagulls’ are spotted bringing silliness and fun to refugees all over Europe and beyond.
‘Bringing the best medicine to the undercircused everywhere’
Composed of superhuman circus performers from around the globe, Emergency Circus administers inspirational circus shows and workshops to the hospitalized, the homeless, the imprisoned, & the under-circused everywhere. With Clay-mazing at the helm, Emergency Circus seeks to achieve the seemingly impossible: to replace fear and grief with laughter and joy, if only for a little while.
“Creating New Perspectives”
Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.A.
Calliope Youth Circus Foundation was founded in 2011 by married circus performers Anton VonOstendorf and Jennifer Paxton “to share our love and knowledge of circus arts with the city of Tulsa in order to strengthen and enlighten our community as a whole.
Our mission is to improve the physical intellectual and emotional health of Tulsa’s at-risk youth through world class circus arts instruction and performance opportunities.
Location: Cuenca, Ecuador
Enso was created by 6 people whose professions vary from: circus, plastic arts, stage, psychology and medicine. These disciplines complement a social circus process and form a great tool for social transformation. Enso focuses on vulnerable populations, especially circus for people with disabilities.
Enso is a zen symbol that means in essence an imperfect circle but that is perfect just as it is, with an opening that represents an opening to infinity, it represents simplicity and integrity, an empty space where nothing is missing and nothing is in excess.