Circus: 250 years young

By Luc

published Friday 14 July, 2017

Innovative new project funded by Heritage Lottery Fund Cymru takes Youth Circus members back to where circus all began.

NoFit State Circus has been awarded funding through the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Young Roots programme to take members of its Youth Circus on a creative exploration of circus history, as part of 250th anniversary celebrations of modern circus in 2018.

Circus: 250 Years Young is a 9-month-long creative heritage project, led by NoFit State Circus, working with its talented Youth Circus community members who are all aged between 5 and 18 years old.

The project will look at the unique Welsh contribution to the development of circus over the past 250 years and will culminate in a final performance as part of the UK-wide celebrations marking the 250th anniversary of circus.

Working with heritage partners Glamorgan Archives, NoFit State’s youth circus will explore and discover Wales’ lost circus history; scouring the archives, taking talks from circus experts, and even experiencing practical workshops in forgotten circus skills. 

They will also have the opportunity to experience real circus life under NoFit State’s iconic Big Top Tent, taking part in creative workshops and talks while the professional company works on the creation of its new show in Cardiff in the Autumn. 

All this will form the inspiration for a public performance by the Youth Circus, set to take place in December 2017. 

Working with creative organisation ProMo-Cymru, NoFit State’s budding young performers will learn the skills to document the project and create captivating video blogs about their experience, with a final documentary film created and screened as part of the public celebration of the 250th anniversary in January 2018.

Olga Kaleta (Head of Youth Circus, NoFit State): “We’re thrilled that Heritage Lottery Fund has agreed to fund this exciting opportunity for our Youth Circus to explore the heritage of modern circus, in particular the role of Welsh circus over the past 250 years. 

“With the perception of circus changing dramatically over recent years, this innovative project will not only give our young community members amazing new skills and experiences, but an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of their artform.”

Richard Bellamy (Head of Heritage Lottery Fund Wales): “We are enthusiastic about giving young people the chance to learn about heritage. Thanks to National Lottery players our Young Roots programme helps them to bring fresh ideas and energy to the task. 

“Circus: 250 Years Young is an excellent example of how they can get involved, take decisions, develop new skills and interests, connect with their communities and have fun.”

Susan Edwards (Glamorgan Archivist, Glamorgan Archives): 'We're delighted to be working in partnership with No Fit State on this project, which will introduce members of the Youth Circus to the wonderful stories of circus past found in our Collection, from early maps of Cardiff showing the location of the city's permanent circus, to the tragic tale of 'balloon girl' Louisa Maud Evans.  We can't wait to see what they'll produce as a result!'

Arielle Tye (Communication and Media Manager, ProMo Cymru): 'In today's world digital skills are hugely important for a young performer. Learning how to tell stories, promote themselves and use video as an art form will help with their development as artists. It is great to be working with NoFit State on such an exciting and innovative project that uses new techniques to explore the past'



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