Inspiring Change through Circus Skills in Myanmar
Social Circus Myanmar is a project to develop social circus in Myanmar. We believe that Social Circus is a useful tool for engaging with children and young adults to support development of their their personal skills, empower them to participate fully in civil society and to spread an agenda of sharing, tolerance, diversity and love through the use of Play and Fun.
Our Values are Diversity, Inclusion, Accessibility, Gender Equality, Sharing, Learning through Play and Fun and Creativity.
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. This project builds on the success of weekly circus skills workshops delivered by Serious Fun Committee volunteers in Yangon over several months during the dry seasons of 2014-15 and 2015-16. More than 250 young people have been trained in regular workshops delivered so far. The workshops and performances have also created substantial interest in social circus activities amongst civil society groups in Myanmar.
The aims of the Social Circus Myanmar project are to:
- Deliver circus skills workshops to existing teams of young people from marginalised communities
- Expand circus skills workshops to other participants and areas.
- Provide tutor training for locally-based jugglers and circus artists so they are able to run regular workshops throughout the year.
- Provide teaching materials, specialist trainers, equipment, monitoring and evaluation to support learning goals.
- Develop the performance capacity of participants and tutors.
- Develop funding streams locally and internationally
- Develop a 5 year plan with Myanmar partners to establish a social circus network and training centre.
- Partner with other creative, educational and civil society initiatives
2016-17 Dry Season Activities
Visiting Circus Skills specialist and Project Manager Jules Howarth returns to Yangon to resume regular workshops with our youth teams and to work with our Yangon coordinator Virginia Henderson, community partners and key supporters to develop a 5 year strategy for the Social Circus Myanmar project. Jules has led the youth workshops in Yangon over the dry season period since 2014, using an international curriculum and best practice to track progress. He’ll join with Yangon-based performers Julien Ariza and Tout Tout Kyaw who are providing regular training for more social circus activities, including Circus4All, a mixed (abled and disabled) troupe which evolved out of a Serious Fun training of trainers for people working with disabled children in 2015.
Resume regular outreach workshops and training for approx. 80 young people for a 14 week programme.
- Thanlyin Boys Training Centre, Department of Social Welfare (Thanlyin)
- Taw Mae Phar hostel, Taung Thu Gone Karen Baptist Church (Insein)
- Eden Centre for Disabled Children (Insein)
- Scholarships for Street Kids, Myanmar programme (Mingaladon)
- Circus4All team
Offer more workshops to
- Helping Hands – young adults
- Mary Chapman School for Deaf Children
Identify new outreach workshop opportunities
Run a weekly drop-in Workshop
2. Training Myanmar Tutors
- Begin formal training for 2-4 Myanmar young adults as Circus Workshop Tutors.
- Provide extra circus skills and circus safety training for them to accelerate their development.
- Arrange Child protection, Civil Society, Gender Equality training for these Trainee Tutors
- Produce hula hoops, juggling balls, flower sticks, stilts locally.
- Bring in more international props to Myanmar.
- Continue to translate circus training material and distribute.
- Make DVDs of modern circus acts to inspire the young people.
- Make a flyer/small booklet that explain in Myanmar languages what Social Circus is all about and distribute.
4. International Volunteer Trainers
- Pilot international circus artist volunteers delivering specialist training.
5. Shows/presentations and PR
- Produce a Day of Fun to bring all participants and friends and supporters together to showcase what we are doing and to promote the project.
- Create a 20 minute show with 2 participants from each of the regular workshop teams and Circus4All. This Show can be used to promote the project. The performers deliver fundraising workshops, displays and stage shows.
- Produce an event for International Social Circus Day 2017
6. Project Development
- Create a local advisory group
- Research options for a Myanmar-based legal identity – a not-for-profit local organisation.
- Engage with potential partners and supporters over the concept of establishing a training centre
- Seek sponsorship and identify potential funders
At the end of this year’s project we hope to have:
- 2-4 Myanmar circus workshop tutors trained so they can continue working with young people year round.
- Established a local advisory board
- A regular weekly drop-in workshop space for informal and social circus training
- Translated basic circus training manuals
- Created a team of young performers who can deliver workshops and shows
- To have made circus props locally so they can be produced locally
- To have found regular funding from Myanmar companies and organisations
- To have explained Social Circus and its benefits more clearly to a wider audience so that the long-term project can gain traction and get more people involved.
By the end of this 4-month programme we hope to have handed over delivery of the workshops and the project management to Myanmar people so that they can continue to deliver it to young Myanmar people. Or, at least we will have begun this process so that it comes to pass as resources and people become available. We are building a framework but in the end, Social Circus in Myanmar is something that must be owned and run locally in Myanmar.