This is the second week of us having our brand new apprentice working alongside our team, Olivia Maxim who has been with us for around 8 years growing up through our youth circus. We are super excited to have Olivia with us and work closely with our youth circus and study on her creative admin course with Burnley College.
All of the new skills and games we did with the group were enhancing their health and fitness levels, including their physical strength and flexibility during warm ups and on the equipment. The group all tried the aerial equipment, one young girl in particular who is currently in foster care was very nervous when first climbing onto the trapeze, however she had invited her Mum to come and see her in the performance and she really wanted to show her Mum what she had learnt, she pushed through the fear and worked with another young girl in foster care, spending every session from then on building her strength, confidence and creating a routine. She has now joined our regular youth circus classes and is continuing to push her fitness levels on the aerial equipment. Another young girl said “I like doing shows, I was frightened and nervous and exciting and my mum thought I was amazing”
So this year is the 250th year anniversary of circus, and we couldn’t let that go by without some celebration, so at the end of the year Skylight will be putting on a performance inspired by a famous circus show poster from Rochdale, that John Lennon took the name for the song ‘For the Benefit of Mr Kite’.
Prior to the show Skylight were lucky enough to receive funding from The Heritage Lottery Fund to research the history of circus in Rochdale, the aim was to make some display boards with the research we have found, a program to look through, find out peoples memories, see the sites of old circus and this could link into our performance. Some of our youth circus and a few Silver circus (over 55’s) have been working hard visiting Touchstones Rochdale and the Fairground and Circus Archives in Sheffield.
So far we have found lots of interesting information about how the animals were involved in the circus, names of acts, the famous Rochdale Black peas that would be served in tin cans! It’s been fascinating to see photographs dating back to the 19th Century of the Hippodrome in Rochdale and Elephants walking down the streets. The project has really opened the eyes of our youth circus, of just how much circus has changed over the years!
We are excited to start bringing the research together for people to see!