Circus Fun on Campus!

Hello all! Hope you’re having a fabulous end to your week!

This time last week, there was something super exciting happening on campus for all those interested in performance, and especially circus! We were lucky enough to be joined by the wonderful Circus Sensible to create a show that would be seen by 4 varying audiences. Students within the Performing Arts department took part, however, some had not even done any performing, such as some of the design students! The Circus Sensible crew made sure everyone found their confidence onstage though and gave us all the guidance we needed to make sure the crowds responded the way we wanted them to.

There was a 2 hour workshop before the week of fun actually began, which involved a member of the team named Jon showing us some simple yet cool circus tricks. He taught us the basics of juggling, diabolo tricks, devil sticks and spinning plates to name a few. I was nervous upon arriving to the workshop, but Jon was lovely and made sure everyone felt comfortable, and I learnt more than I expected myself to be able to do! Circus skills can be hard and can take years of practise to get to a professional standard, but I realised that starting off with the basics can take you way further than you’d even think!

After this workshop, we were set with the task of creating a small performance piece to show the rest of the Circus Sensible crew getting involved in a couple of weeks. I knew that I wanted to use the new diabolo and devil stick tricks I’d learnt, and could already juggle from my Performance Skills module on the BA (Hons) Performing Arts course, so I came up with a short piece that joined these tricks by using clowning. When the day came to show this, everyone had a little thing prepared which we would develop through the week with the help of Jon and the other members of Circus Sensible that joined us throughout the week; Kyle, Clive, Neil, Pete and a few others.

Before showing these mini-performances however, we had to get the big top up! We were helped by the Circus Sensible guys, but we were ultimately shown how to put up this specific big top for if we were to be working with it ever again. This involved cleaning, something maybe not so luxurious as showbiz might seem but necessary… and a little bit of muscle and hitting objects with sledgehammers (I just watched this bit for the safety of myself and those around me…). But once it was up, it was up for the week, and definitely a beautiful addition to the campus.

Not only was this experience great for students like me wanting to learn about circus performance and get some live experience, but it also gave us all something we could take forward into our careers or even just hobbies. For me personally, I learnt a lot about confidence and interacting with an audience. I had done theatre before, but nothing I’d done before was quite like this circus intensive!

Another way in which this was amazing is that we were told what to expect going into such a line of work. It’s given me not just the experience of a performance, something which will always be useful to performers in terms of prospective employability, but has also helped me to understand what it is like to be a freelance performer, and more importantly taught me that you can do it for a living (something many a person has told me and probably any performers reading this “isn’t possible”)! It’s given me the confidence to follow my performer dream really!

If you are interested in Performance and even want to pursue a career in Performance, the chances that Edge Hill offer like this are absolutely incredible and something that make your CV have that flair no one else’s has. I’ve changed so much after just one year here and I hope anyone coming in September or applying in the future will have a similar experience!

I just want to end this post with a few thank yous. HUGE thanks to the Circus Sensible crew for teaching us the ways of the circus and helping us get what we want from the experience, thanks to Barnaby King, my course leader, for making this experience happen, thanks to Cathy, Celia and Gemma at the Arts Centre for helping facilitate the intensive, and big thanks and congratulations to those who joined me onstage; Alice Chilton, Crystal Quinney Barella, Dan Thomas, Heather Anne McMahon, Renaud Verbiest, Tom Brown, Vicky Podemska and Zoe Taal!

2 Replies to “Circus Fun on Campus!”

  1. Great to read about your perspective on the circus intensive, Rhiannon. I’m so glad you enjoyed it, but also really pleased that you saw the value in these kinds of experiences in terms of enhancing your potential as a professional artist in the future. It was wonderful having you on board!

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