What is Social Circus?
The transformative power of circus connects education, physical art and social development. Social Circus is more than teaching circus skills. It is a tool for transformation, discipline, creativity and artistic expression.
In its modern form, circus has gone beyond mere entertainment: play and circus arts are tools for teaching social skills, overcoming trauma and developing essential capacities and the ability to take responsibility.
Social Circus shows the power of the arts as a tool for human development and social change.
Social Circus nurtures a creative environment where young people can access quality arts training, learn how to share these skills in their own community, benefit from social support, develop their creativity and life-skills.
Social Circus is accessible to all – participants don’t need to have literacy skills to take part and fully engage. It is free at the point of access. It works effectively with the poorest people but empowers them to engage, learn, play, laugh, join a group, share their skills and do things as a team across social boundaries. It feeds back positive energy into their community.
*We have taken some of these definitions from other Social circus groups across the world as they express it so well and we couldn’t put it better!*
Social Circus Myanmar’s values are:
Learning through Play
Social Circus models
Here are just a few examples of Social Circus projects running in different locations. We include a brief description of their activities. Each one is different, reflecting local needs and local resources. The right model for Myanmar will be determined by Myanmar people as it grows over the next few years.
RED NOSE FOUNDATION (https://www.rednosefoundation.org)
Red Nose Foundation (RNF), or Yayasan Hidung Merah, is a non-profit arts and education outreach organization based in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Established in 2008, the foundation works at the grass-root level to help local underprivileged kids build their dreams. By teaching these kids circus skills and other arts while honing their mathematical and English-speaking abilities, we hope they will develop the confidence and courage to accomplish any dream they have for their future.
PHARE PONLEU SELPAK (PPS) ( https://www.phareps.org)
“Phare Ponleu Selpak” which means “the brightness of the arts”, began life in 1986 in the Site 2 refugee camp on the Thai-Cambodian border. A group of 9 of children who took part in drawing workshops in the camp had the idea to form a creative association to help other children express the trauma of war.
MOBILE MINI CIRCUS FOR CHILDREN (MMCC) ( https://www.afghanmmcc.org)
The Mobile Mini-Circus for Children (MMCC) and its local partner, the Afghan Educational Children’s Circus (AECC), together form a cooperative International/Afghan non-profit organization dedicated to empowering young people. MMCC is the supervising umbrella organization under which AECC operates. Activities, however, are run jointly and cooperatively. Both organizations are registered with the Afghan Ministry of Economy.
Established in 2002, MMCC/AECC has grown into a country-wide education program focusing on teaching children to lead. MMCC/AECC’s basic philosophy is that children know best how to communicate with other children. The goal is to give children the tools they need so they can themselves develop creative and novel ways of spreading fun education throughout Afghanistan.
Mission: To take “ordinary” kids (including “youth-at-risk”) and provide them with the resources to develop skills, through the medium of Circus Arts, that will develop them as young leaders, good citizens, ambassadors for South Africa, and make them eminently employable.
To provide innovative cutting edge professional training and entertainment thereby providing opportunities for youth to fulfill their potential and contributing to the growth of a healthy nation.
Cirque du Monde is a social circus program created by Cirque du Soleil and Jeunesse du Monde, which targets at-risk youth. It combines circus techniques together with educational social intervention to help young people.
Social circus aims to help these young people get their self-confidence back, make them realize their strengths and discover their hidden talents. Cirque du Monde is offered by organizations working with at-risk youth.
Cirque du Monde does not claim to be a cure-all for the various social problems, but neither is it some vague pastime that only succeeds in distracting young people from their real situation. It wants to offer young participants, be they from Canada, Brazil, Mongolia or elsewhere, a springboard toward a new stage in their lives.
Celebrated for the first time on 2 April 2016, our Myanmar teams staged one of 59 events which took place around the world with free public workshops and a photo exhibition in Yangon.
If you know of resources or social circuses that we don’t list below, then please tell us about them by using the Comments at the bottom of this page! We are sure there are more great things happening. Thank you.
Links to useful resources
Social Circus Map Social Circus Map – Cirque du Soleil Canada
Social Circus Day 2016 https://www.socialcircusday.org/
https://ghrp.ubc.ca/research/current-research-projects/social-circus-and-health-equity/ Social Circus and Health Equity
Some Social Circus Projects (there are many more than those we list here!)
Circus Kathmandu Nepal
Freedom Matters, United Kingdom/Nepal
Mobile Mini Circus for Children, Afghanistan
Circus in Motion, Singapore
Beyond Social Services, Singapore
Viva Vertical, Hong Kong
KELY Support Group Limited, Hong Kong
Macau Youth Circus Arts, Macau
Hong Kong Social Circus Limited (Formerly Dream Social Circus), Hong Kong
Welcome – Zip Zap Circus. South Africa
One Love Theatre, Ethiopia
Sarakasi Trust Kenya
The Growing Circus and Life Brasil
ONG Artes para la Vida, Chile
El Circo del Mundo – Chile
Cuerda Firme Chile
Circo del Sur Argentina
Circus Harmony USA
Green Fools Physical Theatre, Canada
Circability Trust, New Zealand
Cirkidz Inc, Australia
Flying Fruit Fly Circus, Australia
Vertical Circus, Australia
Westside Circus, Australia
Australian Circus and Physical Theatre Assoc. (ACAPTA), Australia
National Institute of Circus Arts Australia (NICA), Australia
Flipside Circus – Unthink The Impossible Australia
Belfast Community Circus Northern Ireland
Organised Kaos Wales
Let’s Circus, England
Performers Without Borders, United Kingdom
Cirqueon, Czech Republic