Circus has been described as Opera for the Eye and, the Greatest Show on Earth, and can be found in your local park, in comedy clubs and festivals or on your street corner. Circus is one of the fastest growing physical and creative activities for both children and adults. Circus is non-competitive, highly expressive and there’s no such thing as failing.
Over the last 30 years, circus has emerged as an engaging artform with significant social benefits. Greentop Circus Centre promotes and enables learning and creativity in schools, offers space for circus artists to practice, classes for complete beginners and experienced performers, adult and child programmes and opportunities for performance.
Circus is hugely engaging for people, especially those who experience unequal opportunities due to systemic barriers, negative attitudes and exclusion by society, including those that are neuro-diverse. At Greentop Circus Centre, we aim to make Circus accessible for everyone.
“By turning you upside down, we teach you to stand on your own two feet. By dropping objects, we teach you to catch them.
By having you walk all over someone, we teach you to take care of them. By having you clown around, we teach you to take yourself seriously.”
– Robert Sugarman, Circus for Everyone.
Why circus works
Circus activity builds confidence, trust and discipline and is a great way to improve fitness and have fun. Greentop improves young people’s resilience and self-belief by providing a safe space where it’s ok to fall and fail, and even better to get back up and try again.
We think Circus participation improves children’s readiness to seize life chances, growing happier, healthier, creative young people who are achieving their potential.
Why Children Enjoy Circus Participation
We associate it with fun and it’s enjoyable to learn – with such a range of activity that there is always something to succeed in, often with very low thresholds to success, growing competence and therefore confidence as well as physical literacy. Circus is where sport and arts intersect and so provides a route to performing through the development of skills (even for introverts).
Circus has roots in many cultures so people from most backgrounds can relate to it in their way. It works well across gender and all body shapes: Research from the University of Manitoba5 of comparative primary age PE classes compared to Circus classes shows it to be gender neutral – as appealing to girls as boys.
Also, circus offers a safe space to be inventive and different – its history has been in the margins and has a creative tradition of trying things differently and not being as expected. Circus is risk-friendly – exploring risk in a controlled environment. All generating the following outcomes:
- Physical wellbeing: agility, flexibility, body awareness, fitness, balance, coordination, progression;
- Mental wellbeing: confidence, happiness, resilience, freedom to fail, sense of achievement, being present/focused; creative expression;
- Social development: trust, inclusion, teamwork, understanding risk, performance, cross-cultural.
- Learning: promotes a growth mindset amongst young people involving engaging with other people, persistence, reflective skills and personal goal setting.