Streetwise is Ireland's foremost “Social Circus”. We use circus to benefit disadvantaged groups and individuals throughout Northern Ireland. Our team, including some of Ireland's most experienced circus tutors, deliver workshops tailored to individual needs including under 18s (Youth Circus), over 55s (Age-ility Project), people with learning disabilities, mental health issues (Evergreen Project) and unemployed (Hat-trick Project). We are currently piloting a programme for people within the justice system. Have a look below to find out more about projects we're currently running, see the What's On section for information of times and venues. See you there!
Tailoring Circus to the Needs of People Living with Disabilities or Mental Health Issues
Since 2002 we have been delivering circus projects to a wide range of abilities across Northern Ireland. Streetwise Community Circus is proud to be the first circus-based arts organisation in NI to have developed disability outreach programmes. Over the past 15 years, we have built up strong relationships with individuals, community groups and health trusts, as well as developing a talented team who are able to engage and create a fun, safe and supportive environment for teaching circus skills. We are currently running two projects. These are:
Started in 2002, this core programme runs on Thursday evenings three terms a year, making circus skills accessible to adults with learning disabilities or mental health issues. The pinnacle of this annual programme is our two-week summer school which produces a stage show giving participants the chance to work with an international director and perform as part of Belfast’s Bounce Festival. Additional outreach programmes constantly reach out to new groups to offer this opportunity to new individuals.
Streetwise are the only participatory arts company in Northern Ireland to be awarded funding from the “Spirit 2012” Challenge fund. This has enabled us to set up 3 year programmes, in partnership with the new councils. Causeway Coast and Glens, Newry Mourne and Down and Fermanagh and Omagh. These programmes are developing new groups in each area that will participate in local events allowing inclusion for older people, people with disabilities and mental health issues. These three centres in addition to regular programmes in Newtownabbey and Cookstown means that we are offering meaningful opportunities throughout Northern Ireland for marginalised individuals to get involved and enjoy the benefits of circus.
Started in 2015, this programme offers an open free “drop in” rehearsal session on Wednesday mornings, opening our doors to anyone who is out of work to come and develop their own skills. These free sessions running throughout the year give the opportunity for anyone to learn circus skills, developing confidence which could open the door to a wide range of employment opportunities both inside and outside the arts sector.
Streetwise Youth Circus is an initiative that we've been building on since 2013. It focuses on building skills and performance for outdoor and indoor events, such as the annual Belfast international Festival of Fools, our own cabaret shows and various public street events through Northern Ireland. This is an opportunity for young people to switch off their electronic devices and get plugged in to hands-on skills. Increase your confidence, express yourself and make new friends!
Started in 2014, meeting on Friday mornings, this programme creates a space for older people, (currently ranging from 55 to 95) to enjoy learning a full range of circus skills, in a safe and friendly atmosphere. In two years this programme has taken on a life of its own, with constant media coverage, members participating in our 20th anniversary cabaret and a second independent programme now running in Whitehead. New outreach projects with the Alzheimer’s Society offers new opportunities to expand this project into new areas of social benefit.