Two workers hold hula hoops together and peer inside to camera through the circle. Students from the camp can be seen in the background gathered around a large gym crash mat.
CIRCUS FUN: The Civic Theatre and Flying Fruit Fly Circus (FFFC) came together this week to bring a 5-day Circus Camp for local youth to enjoy. Pictured: FFFC Artistic Director Anni Davey and Civic Theatre Venue Assistant Sally Jackson.

Arts & Culture

Leaps and bounds! Students show off their skills with the Civic Theatre Summer Circus Camp

Published: 11 Jan 2024 9:40am

The Wagga Wagga Civic Theatre held a free five-day Summer Circus Camp this week for young people aged 12-18 years, which kicked off on Monday 8 January.

The program engaged with nationally renowned Flying Fruit Fly Circus (FFFC) to bring a team of six trainers to teach a range of circus skills including ground acrobatics (tumble, pyramids, movement), aerials, hula hoop, juggling, and manipulation.

Manager Civic Theatre Claire Harris says the Civic Theatre team identified circus as an ideal creative form for those aged 12-18 years.

“Circus offers every young person an opportunity to enjoy and master difficult skills,” Ms Harris said.

A crowd of young performers stand around an aerial hoop and a silk ribbon extending from the ceiling. Two trainers help youth sit atop the two obstacles.

“Through introducing simple but recognisable circus skills that are easily mastered and celebrated, the trainers increased the degree of difficulty as interest and focus built throughout the week.

“One highlight of the week was a trip to the FFFC Creative Headquarters in Albury to give the participants the opportunity to train in a fit-for-purpose, elite environment, as well as observe the ‘regular’ training and rehearsals of young performers and professionals.

"Circus is inclusive, physically active and mentally challenging, using a teach-through-success approach. It inherently celebrates diversity, like a team sport that is non-competitive."

“Big people stand on the bottom of pyramids and little people stand on top. There is something for all skills and interests from tumblers or dextrous manipulators, to introverted jugglers and extroverted clowns.”

The week wrapped up with a public showing to family and friends on Friday, celebrating the achievements of the participants.

By increasing the difficulty of the skills in the lead up to the performance, participants were encouraged to build an appetite for greater challenges.

In the foreground a young male student balances a disk atop a thin stick, focusing intently. In the background other students can be same practicing the same skill.

Ms Harris stated the performance is a form of engagement that has a lasting impact on the theatre.

“Opening workshops and events to community sparks enthusiasm and interest in other live performance opportunities, which has the potential to benefit the Civic Theatre through expanded audiences and attendance,” Ms Harris said.

The program is funded by the NSW Government through its Holiday Break funding program.

“The funding has also allowed the Civic Theatre to offer this program for free to local youth, which opens it up to those who are experiencing significant community and social disadvantage.”

For more programs and opportunities, visit the Civic Theatre website.

The Flying Fruit Fly team gather around a company banner (6 people in total). One worker holds a position in 'the splits' and another stands atop the shoulder of their colleague.