Friends of the Circus is a Not For Profit organisation based in the Industrial Estate, Byron Bay that works in collaboration with Circus Arts to provide training, production and performance opportunities for youth in the Northern Rivers.
We are dedicated to providing support and raising the profile for the talented and committed young performers in the “Circus Arts Performance Troupe”. The Performance Troupe has 14 members, between the ages of 9 and 21. The participants are local and attend local schools. They train 3 times a week for approximately 7 hours. They are dedicated and passionate about Youth Circus.
Our Mission statement is as follows
Friends of the Circus inspires to provide circus training, production and performance opportunities to people of all skill levels, ages, abilities, backgrounds and aspirations. In a safe, supportive environment we endeavour to build the skills that bring strength, flexibility, creativity, laughter and joy to individuals and communities, generating connections and transcending social barriers.
We base our ideas on
The pre-teen, teenage and young adult years can be fraught with difficulties; social isolation, alcohol and substance abuse and the stress associated with school and peer pressure. Circus offers young people an outlet that is physical, healthy, suitable for all ages and abilities in an environment that is comfortable and supportive. The ethos of Youth Circus is contra to many of the negative influences that young teenagers are exposed to. There is an emphasis on safety, teamwork and trust which, while being essential elements of circus are also vital life skills and help build confident, self-aware young people who have the ability to make right choices.
To enhance the learning experience and create opportunities for growth through planned achievements in:
- Training (lighting, sound, forklift, coffee, make-up, costuming, etc.)
via fundraising and volunteers.
Friends of the Circus is a non profit organisation.
Incorporation number: INC 99 1266
Friends of the Circus History
The organisation was founded in 2009 and has been working tirelessly to enhance the training of the Performance Troupe and all students who attend Circus Arts. Staff and parents at the time saw the need to provide further opportunities for the students:
- Extra performance opportunities
- Learn production skills – lighting and sound
They recognised the limits that Circus Arts faced around providing these additional opportunities within the set fee structure so a not for profit arm was established to provide more choices for students and to gain access to funding and backing.
We have a constitution which we abide by, a President, Secretary Treasurer and committee as well as other interested parents and community members. We conduct meetings twice a term and run fundraising meetings when planning major fundraising events. We create in conjunction with the Troupe members a wish list from which we then prioritise and fundraise towards these goals.
We have in the past used funding to provide:
- costumes and props
- additional specialised training sessions
- training equipment including a tumble track, teeter board, skipping ropes, hoola hoops, rigging and cabling gear
- trailer for transporting equipment to and from performances
- support for community performances eg. Bluesfest, Splendour in the Grass, Bangalow Billycart Derby, Byron Bay Public School Fair
- performance tools including lighting and sound equipment and a camera.
Collaboration and Partnerships
Our primary partnership is with Circus Arts Byron Bay. This ongoing relationship is integral to the viability and success of Friends of the Circus due to the support they offer in training, industry knowledge and venue access. Circus Arts hosts the quarterly Showcase which is the primary fundraising opportunity for Friends of the Circus.
Friends of the Circus collaborate with other community groups and local businesses. These partnerships are vital to our survival and enable us to achieve our fundraising goals. Local businesses such as these regularly donate raffle prizes for our quarterly Showcases:
- Byron Bay Dive Centre
- Pole Catz
- The Wreck Surf and Street
- Main Street Burger Bar
- Bombay to Byron
We in turn support them through our advertising eg. promotions for upcoming shows, face book, our website and at the Circus Arts centre via posters and visual presentations.
We have an annual roster of community events and festivals for which we provide entertainment:
- Splendour in the Grass
- Bangalow Billy Cart Derby
- Byron Bay Public School
- Cape Byron Steiner School
- Kites and Bikes
- Byron Bay Markets
- Sample Food Festival
- Bangalow Christmas Eve Festival
- Byron Bay New Year’s Eve Soul Street
These help to provide the students with the performance opportunities that consolidate their coaching and training, helping them to build confidence and the flexibility that comes from performing out of their regular training environment.