Social circus brings movement and creativity to people who may not always get a chance to play due to economic, social, political, physical, mental, or other difficult circumstances. It helps to connect people of all ages, religions, and backgrounds regardless of pretty much any underlying issue. Sharing laughter, play and fun with all kinds of people is one of Tink’s passions.
Social circus programs take several approaches:
- Performances by circus volunteers at facilities such as hospitals, care homes, schools, etc. These are rehearsed by the troupe and may have a theme and story or may be a classic “parade of acts.” Social circus includes a lot of audience interaction and many short acts.They generally run under an hour and can be performed indoors or outdoors.
- Playshops let participants enjoy circus games and tricks. A variety of skills can be shared according to the limitations of age, physicality, facility space, etc. For example, a hula hooping playshop for elderly in wheelchairs will be different from one at a women’s shelter, but they will both be equally fun.
- Compassionate visits bring a small number of people to a facility where a performance or playshop would be disruptive. Clowning, blowing bubbles, singing, and small scale, one-on-one connections can be made in an intimate setting such as a hospital ward.
- Training courses teach participants to create their own circus acts and shows. These programs take place over the course of many days or weeks and involve circus training, rehearsals, and act creation theory. Graduates of the training course put on a show and may continue to do circus training and performance. They may even join the troupe.
Benefits of Social Circus to the Individual
- Joy of Play – laughing because circus is fun
- Creativity – sparking new ideas, opening the mind and heart to new concepts
- Physicality – developing new motor skills, improving overall physical health
- Confidence – realising that you do something well reduces depression and anxiety
- Communication – sharing your ideas and complex thoughts
- Teamwork – trusting the people in your act and learning to be trustworthy
- Empowerment – succeeding in the circus is a stepping stone to bigger things
Benefits of Social Circus to the Community
- Happiness trickles up from the audience to their caregivers, parents, and teachers and then into the extended community.
- Reputation of the community as a caring place with lots of positive, creative energy
- Social circus allows all people of ages and walks of life to come together in a troupe with a common goal.
- Creates a stronger connection to the neglected and forgotten members of the community
Spin Matsuri is a member of the Asian Social Circus Association (ASCA) and has participated in projects throughout the area:
International Juggling Festival (2015) in Yangon, Myanmar;
Hillhacks (2014, 2015) in Dharamsala, India;
Spark! Circus (2013, 2016) in Mae Sot, Thailand;
Niko Niko Taishi (2012) in tsunami-affected schools in Tohoku, Japan;
World Hoop Day ambassador since 2010
Always on the lookout for social circus opportunities in Japan and beyond, Spin Matsuri welcomes your suggestions, donations, and assistance.