Down Arts Centre Chosen To Deliver Groundbreaking Project

Down Arts Centre is delighted to have been selected as one of only three centres outside Belfast to be involved in the creation of a new, innovative social circus project with Streetwise Community Circus, Circus Aurora.

Streetwise Community Circus has been awarded a development grant to create its newest social circus project in Northern Ireland, Circus Aurora, which, if successful, will lead to the establishment of three centres outside Belfast, Downpatrick being one, that offer participation in circus groups to the most marginalised groups in society.

[caption id="attachment_58874" align="aligncenter" width="540"]The Aurora project being run at the Down Arts Centre The Aurora project being run at the Down Arts Centre involves a social[/caption]

Downpatrick Councillor Colin McGrath has welcomed the initiative and said: “I welcome this opportunity for funding as it further develops the wonderful programme of activities available at the Arts Centre.

“I hope that the funding is successful and the circus skills’ workshops are delivered. Participating in Circus skills is a wonderful way for people to socialise and get to know others but also develops a great set of skills that are very much transferable into other elements of participants lives.”

Streetwise have a long history (since 2002) of working with adults with learning disabilities and run internationally recognised projects based in Belfast working with this client group. Circus Aurora aims to be accessible to as wide a range of marginalised groups as possible, including participants with physical and learning disabilities. The benefits that can be gained from the creativity, physical activity, fun and teamwork involved in learning circus skills are many and varied, and especially important for those in society who need this form of interaction the most, but are least able to access it.

If the programme achieves three-year funding, Down Arts Centre will host a Circus Aurora group for three 8-week terms a year, giving participants the opportunity to develop performable circus skills. The group will then create their own performance pieces and take part in local events as part of the Newry, Mourne and Down events and festivals programme. By the end of the three-year programme, Streetwise and DAC aim to have a established a circus group that is accessible, active and valued by the local community, and to build on this year on year.

As Circus Aurora is still in the development stage, Down Arts Centre are looking for local groups to participate in taster sessions which are taking place later this month. The aim of these sessions is to demonstrate what can be achieved and to encourage people to come and be part of this very exciting new venture.

If you would like to sign up for a taster session, or have a chat about what’s involved, please contact Denise Griffith, Arts Officer at Down Arts Centre, on 028 4461 0747.