By Laura Stovel
It’s a remarkable thing to take 45 children and within a week have them perform – with confidence – a spectacular circus performance, but that is indeed what Dean Bareham and his colleagues from the Green Fools Theatre Company accomplished in Revelstoke last week.
“It’s been a non-stop high,” Bareham said. Over the course of the five-day circus camp, he and his two colleagues taught 45 Revelstoke children, aged eight to 16, circus skills and gave them the chance to focus on two to three which they then performed for a delighted audience on Saturday. The camp and performance were organized by Miriam Manley, manager of the Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre.
Bareham and his colleagues travel all over Canada and the world, from the Canadian Arctic to Lesotho in Southern Africa. Usually the children perform in gymnasiums or community centres and Bareham noted that having the beautiful Perfoming Arts Centre to teach and perform in “really upped the production value.”
“This was a really active group of kids,” he said. “Very physical and a high quotient of gals,” which isn’t always the case. This physical ability really showed in the performance, especially in the strength of the trapeze and hammock performers, and the balance of the unicyclists, tightrope walkers and rola bola artists.
As beautiful and impressive as the acrobatic acts were, the clowns stole the show. Little Brook Davies ran around the stage dressed as a little devil drawing peals of laughter from the audience. The body language and expressions on the clowns’ faces were priceless.
“We don’t patronize children, Bareham said. “We have the same expectations as we do when we work with actors and dancers.”
The Calgary-based Green Fools Theatre Company emphasizes the “social circus,” he said. “We use the circus as a non-competitive act.” The circus motivates children. It’s showy and exciting and it builds confidence and life skills. “It teaches them how to socialize, be responsible and respectful. That’s why it’s such a powerful tool for youth.”
Here is a selection of photos from the event: