This is my last day as Interim Director of Belfast Circus. Although I’ve completed my tenure I’m still leaving with a sense of regret that I’m unable to see the job finished with the appointment of a new CEO. Nevertheless, that recruitment search continues, getting the right leader is vital.
I’ve really enjoyed my time with Circus and have a deep appreciation and respect for the dedication of our artists, performers and tutors. The staff team has been really supportive and, while challenges still lie ahead, I’m confident that when we work together we can achieve so much. Here is a small reminder of progress made over the last 7 months.
• We recruited 4 new members of staff, Georgia, Noeleen, Hillas and Eimear all of whom have added to the team’s work ethic.
• Our outreach officers have got our outreach work back on track and are developing exciting new partnerships to ensure delivery in future.
• We’ve greatly improved our safeguarding with additional training, Access NI checking, professional practice reviewing & developing new policies.
• We’ve successfully applied for core & programme funding from ACNI & Lottery Funding for Festival of Fools. We brought in additional income from sponsors for Festival and almost doubled our income from our audience.
• We’ve raised grants from Belfast City Council, from TBUC, the EA & most recently won a tender with East Antrim Council.
• Together we delivered a great Festival of Fools, a fitting tribute to its founder, our own Will Chamberlain.
• We’ve begun a European project in partnership with 4 other arts organisations which will culminate in more performances at FoF 2020
• Premiere Circus has increased its overall bookings & we’re planning a marketing event for commissioners in September.
• We’re running more classes across our venues than ever before and making more skills training available in St Martins.
• We’re developing a new strategic plan with Roger Courtney & stakeholders have had opportunities to feed into this.
• A new online finance system has been installed and a new finance administration system will be introduced to staff shortly.
• We’ve introduced new staff training and development opportunites.
• All our tutors, staff and performers can access free up to 6 sessions of counseling support with Inspire.
There is still much more to do to ensure an exciting future for Belfast Circus but I have every confidence that you will meet the challenges ahead.
I’ve prepared a handover document for my CO3 colleague and new Interim Director, Alan Hanna. I’ll endeavor to support Belfast Circus through this transition period. I’m off to shoot my first documentary next week so wish me luck.
I’d like to thank the Board for giving me the opportunity to lead the organization in transition. They give of their time freely and I know the significant additional hours they have been putting in of late.
Finally, I’d like to thank the parents, guardians and the young people of Belfast Circus. We are your faithful servants and seeing young people achieve and succeed is truly inspiring.
When we work together we are unbeatable.
Fergus Cooper OBE
Double Bill - SPIT and Cikada
We are so lucky to be surrounded by so many people of such great talents. We are even luckier to have the opportunity to host some of their work in progress!
Join us on Sunday 24th June, 7.30pm for a stunning display of acrobatics and daredevil antics.
Two acrobats create a world between the harmonious and the absurd. In this world, lines are blurred between human and nature. Ali Stanger and Henrik Gard create a mutual acrobatic language of finesse and honesty. A fun, thoughtful and humorous display of rich imagery and dynamic riveting movement.
Push hard, stand up, and spit back. Stop being hijacked by the consumer culture, by spectacle, by tits and teeth and nipple tassels. This show is a celebration of the fierce and wild. Brutality balanced by beauty. Circus that challenges set ideas of gender stereotypes and female expectations in society. A political and evocative one-woman circus.
These two acts will be demonstrating what they have created so far, on this exploration of physicality and brutal honesty. These pieces are works in progress, so come along and show your support. Plus, get an eye full of some amazing acts before they jet off on their French Tour!
Tickets are £5 and can be purchased on the door, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your space.
Roll up, Roll up! It has come to the time when we will be showcasing the immense talent of our students with our Youth Circus Cabaret!
We will be joined by members of In Your Space Circus, Streetwise Community Circus and Community Circus Lisburn. This cabaret will demonstrate the talent that young performers across Northern Ireland have to offer. These skilled young folk will be showcasing their immense talents, and demonstrating how circus can bring us all together!
This event is part of Circus250, celebrating 250 years since the beginning of life in the ring. This gives us the opportunity to highlight just how inclusive the circus family is!
Come along for an evening of circus madness on Sunday 25th February @ 5pm! Tickets cost £5, and are available to purchase online or by cash at our Gordon Street office.
Tickets will sell fast, so get yours while you can!
Christmas Shows 2017
Christmas has come around again and with it comes another amazing, cabaret style show from the Belfast Youth Circus, this year going with the theme of the Twelve Days of Christmas.
Loved by Adults and children alike this years show promises to be bigger and better than ever but you will have to see it to believe it!
Showcasing the skills and abilities of the highly talented Youth Circus as they perform festive treats in an action packed cabaret format. Featuring a cast of 74 young people who will present a spectacular show featuring juggling, acrobatics, dance, and aerial skills.
There are 5 shows on over the weekend of Fri 15th - Sun 17th December, with one show on the Friday at 7pm and 2 shows daily on the Saturday and Sunday at 3pm and 6pm.
Tickets available NOW priced at £7.00 each, book fast as these tickets will be on sale to the general public next week so they will fly out!
You can purchase through the paypal button on the website here:
Alternatively you can arrange payment via Gocardless, or call in with cash/cheque - sales will only be confirmed upon payment.
Director Will Chamberlain
It is with great sadness that we learned last night of the passing of Will Chamberlain, Director and Chief Executive of Belfast Community Circus School.
This wonderfully charismatic man passed away peacefully yesterday evening, the 19th October, surrounded by his family.
Our thoughts and love are with his daughters Ellie and Bethany, and his great friend and confidante, Cath.
There is no doubt that Will, from arriving in Northern Ireland in the early 1990's was a tremendous driving force behind the Circus School and we would not be the envy of the world without his foresight, drive and ambition for us. Will was also a wonderful friend to us all, inspiring us with his vision, drive and determination and his utter belief that we could achieve the dream.
The work of the Circus School cannot be overstated and the impact it continues to have on thousands of young people today.
The world is a sadder place without him.
He will be missed terribly, but the Circus School will continue to pursue his dreams and work to make them a reality.
Arrangements for the celebration of his life will be released soon.
The Board of Trustees of Belfast Community Circus School,