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Dave Clay

Dave Clay

Dave Clay


Favourite discipline:
Marvelling as an audience member!

Involved with Greentop:
Since 2012 as a volunteer and a Trustee.

Where I am now:
I am working in the education sector, and continuing to volunteer with Greentop on the Board of Trustees.

Favourite joke:
Some people reckon that a giraffe’s neck is ten feet long, but I think that’s stretching it a bit…!

Quote summarising the impact Greentop has had on your life:
Greentop is an incredibly special and unique place for all participants – an hour here is like getting into a familiar and comforting warm bath, plus it’s a place of opportunity and inclusivity as well as a place of learning and growth.

My circus story:
My daughter started circus skills classes in 2012 and she loved it, I would stay and watch and occasionally help out. It was great fun to observe the interaction of the kids with one another and the tutors and to see them learning new skills. As a teacher myself, I loved the way that the tutors engaged with the kids and created a fun atmosphere, encouraging them to try and praising everyone and making learning something good and free from fear of failure. Everyone was encouraged, every attempt, a tentative step on stilts, tumble on the mat or move on trapeze was praised. Education, but without stigma or putdowns, it made learning so like play. In the classes everyone quickly grasps that it’s ok if it doesn’t work first time, it makes them learn not to be afraid to try.

I had first discovered the joys of learning through circus skills in the early ‘90s when I joined a juggling club in Birmingham. I remember, vividly, learning to juggle and to ride a unicycle. It was wonderful. I could almost feel the synapses forming in my brain and I remember thinking, ‘this is like the euphoria I got when I was a kid learning to ride a bike’. It was so good to see the children learn and nice to be part of such a supportive community.  I became a Trustee just to give something back. The whole organisation is full of people giving time and support. The organisation is well structured, but hasn’t lost sight of the main goals of enabling people and making it fun. My daughter started doing aerial classes, trapeze and silks and loved it, so I tried out the adult trapeze classes, it felt so good to learn something new!

The shows that Greentop have put on have been the highlights over many years; it’s electric, everyone is fired up, the adults and the kids learn to do amazing things in a creative and artistic way, a real kaleidoscope of entertainment. I remember, during shows, how moved the audiences are on witnessing something special and the beaming smiles of the performers, both children and adults. The applause, not just for those who had learnt to perform a particularly difficult skill, but also for those who had overcome some personal hurdle, maybe of shyness or fear. What a fabulous community of participants, tutors, staff and volunteers that produce so many wows, laughs and beaming faces. A great place to make friends and to learn something new. Some people may think that circus is not for them… but that’s only because they haven’t tried it yet.