The Island

The Circus helped to establish the Artspace Lifespace project in Bristol in 2005, taking on much of the core responsibilities to regenerate huge semi derelict buildings and then manage them as active creation spaces. We have always believed in putting something back into the community we are part of, we encourage and facilitate the coming together of the creative community as a means of impacting a positive change on blighted and deteriorating areas and buildings.

The most dynamic element of the Invisible Circus lies within it’s ability to take any space and transform it into a living, breathing interactive experience.

The Circus was based at The Island creation station in Bristol City Centre from 2008 – 2011 and the project still houses artists and training spaces on the site.

The Island- Artspace Lifespace C.I.C

Nelson Street, Bristol, BS1 2LE


Facebook: The Island group & The-Island Bristol

Soundcloud: theislandbristol


Relief Support

The Circus have undertaken a number of relief projects and believe in the power of the individual to take action and effect the world around them. We have supported Tsunami relief in Thailand with fundraising shows in London and working on the ground in Phi Phi Island.

We also detoured after Burning Man 2005 to Houston Texas to do fundraising shows and workshops for refugees from Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

We continue to support ongoing causes from saving Tasmania’s rainforests to Circus to Gaza and actively encourage the support of direct response projects working in challenging places and conditions.


Up and Out Network


Up and Out is a collaborative network of creative organisations across the UK committed to supporting the creation and development of work in the circus and street arts sectors. Additionally the network supports cross-over work between these genres and other areas of performing arts.

With the intention of developing and promoting work of the highest quality, with the greatest potential to succeed in the UK and European markets, the Up & Out Network is made up of:
SeaChange Arts, Great Yarmouth | Jacksons Lane, London | The Roundhouse, London | National Centre for Circus Arts, London | NoFit State Circus, Cardiff | Dance East, Ipswich | The Point, Eastleigh | 101, Newbury | Deda, Derby | The Invisible Circus, Bristol

Proposals will be invited on a bi-annual basis to develop both new and existing indoor and outdoor work.  Successful applicants will have access to the partnership and will be offered a valuable package of support which includes creation space, access to partner’s networks, direction and production mentoring, and guidance on funding and creating commercially viable work.

The next call out for applications will take place later in 2015.  Check back here for news.  For further information contact Becca Clayton on 0044 1493 745458 or 


Erasmus+ project



Erasmus+ Partnership Project 2014-1016

“Social Educircation is an international project for social circus teachers. The aim of this project is to improve the quality of circus teaching, and the cooperation of social work in relation to contemporary circus around Europe. During this project we will hold several workshops for professional circus teachers and artists in order to strengthen bonds between circus and organisations focusing on social work and to share skills, information and experience among the network and beyond.”

2012-2014 saw The Invisible Circus participate in the first Social Educircation project with support from the European Union’s Grundtvig Partnership Programme. We learnt a lot about teaching circus to various social groups in this time, and have continued to work voluntarily on a weekly basis with the children at Felix Road Adventure Playground in Easton, Bristol. If you would like to read more about this amazing project, or you are interested in getting involved, please visit . If you would like to read up on the results of this first Social Educircation project as a whole, please visit
2014 saw us successfully move into another 2-year partnership project, called Social Educircation 2. We are now funded by the European Union’s Erasmus+ programme, and are working with 6 other countries. Our partners are Kids in Action based in Thessaloniki, Greece; Valencian Circus Association based in Valencia, Spain; Cabuwazi based in Berlin, Germany; Hungarian Juggling Association based in Budapest, Hungary; Circus in Beweging based in Leuven, Belgium; and Cirqueon based in Prague, Czech Republic.
In this project we have also launched a new section called Joint Staff Training, whereby we are able to send a member of each organisation to one of the other partner’s for a two-week period to work together in learning about how each other’s companies are run. In this way we hope to learn alternative methods of running circus companies, and improve on existing methods all-round.
We have a new and exciting youtube channel showing all of the videos we have made to-date of our social circus experiences. You can find all the videos here:
Leuven Workshop: Circus in Prison– Circus in Beweging started teaching circus workshops in the adult male prison in Leuven in Sept 2013. Every week one teacher works with 6-8 prisoners. The main skills they do are juggling, rolla bolla and stilt walking. If you would like to read more about this project, please visit:  
Prague Workshop: Circus for Children with Physical and Mental Disabilities– A week was spent teaching circus in a school for children with physical and mental disabilities. This was an extremely rewarding process for all parties. If you would like to read more about what we did, please visit:
Thessaloniki Workshop: Circlusion- Creating a show with a social message, based around the term “Migration”- being such a hot topic in Europe right now, we decided creating a show based on Migration was a very worthwhile message to send out to the people of Thessaloniki. A 5-day workshop, including a trip to the refugee border camp of Eidomeni at the Greek/ Macedonian border, culminated in a very powerful show which was performed twice on the final day- once to a group of around 150 school children, and once to a full house of around 400 people in the evening. I was fortunate enough to be able to participate in this project myself, and came away feeling like I had learnt a lot about the refugee crisis and how to develop circus work based on social messages.To read more about this project, please visit:
We are now gearing up for the next workshop which will be held in Valencia in January, and is based around The Voice, and working with Gypsy Women who live in the EL Cabanyal neighbourhood of Valencia. This will be followed on at the beginning of February by the first of a double-workshop about the social circus teachings of Cirque Du Monde. The second half of this workshop will take place outside this project, in Sept/ Oct in Poland. After that we still have a workshop in Berlin about working with refugee children and youths (read more here:, followed by a workshop in Bristol based on Working with Ethnic Minority Children where we plan to learn and develop ways in which to to deal with behavioural issues and obstacles working in open play situations. I am pleased to announce that we have clowning and drama-therapist Holly Stoppit on board again to teach this extremely valuable workshop.
If you would like to read more about our experiences please visit our website at, or follow my blog/ news page at

Thanks for reading! Rada aka Miss Radida, Social Educircation Coordinator

Gruntvig Partnership Project 2012-2014

Progress Report for Social Educircation European Partnership Project 2012-2014

Following on from our hugely successful Partnership Project ‘Educircation’, which took place during 2010-2012, The Invisible Circus was granted further funding by the Ecorys Lifelong Learning Programme to participate in a second Partnership Project called ‘Social Educircation’. While the first project focussed on the education of circus teachers, this second project focuses on Social Circus.

So far we have undertaken one network meeting in Prague in Nov 2012 to discuss the project, and two Social Circus workshops- one in Spain in January 2013, and one in Hungary April/ May 2013.

The Spanish workshop in Valencia took Hobbit and I to a rehabilitation centre for youth to teach circus to children with problematic backgrounds. This was an incredible experience, and the children responded really well to learning circus. Many of them were very capable, and learnt quickly. They all enjoyed themselves immensely, and we the teachers learnt a lot also. We held workshops in many different circus disciplines including acrobatics, juggling (object manipulation), aerial trapeze, hula hoops, rola bola and unicycle. After three days the students were able to perform in a show in front of their teachers and peers, and over 90% of the students chose to demonstrate a newly acquired skill or series of skills.

Each morning we held theoretical meetings with teachers from a circus school in Barcelona, called Ateneu, which began using Social Circus in the 1980’s. We learnt about how to be a good social worker, how to use circus as a tool for social work, and how circus can be helpful in these areas, all very useful information especially at the start of such a huge and important project as Social Educircation. This was a very positive experience for all involved- the teachers who partook in the exchanges, as well as the children at the centre who partook in the workshops we held. We learnt about the importance of learning by doing instead of always being fed the information, and how to facilitate this type of learning.

We learnt how to imbue confidence by always finishing a game on a high note. It is very important for teachers to make students feel confident, especially when working with socially vulnerable groups. With social circus, we try to make a change in society, to integrate a person into the group, and the group into the community. We learnt some ideas on what social circus is, and roles to define a social worker. We learnt that it is important to always be a continual work- so, even when the project is finished, there should be a projection of more/ or where it can go next. We spoke about ethics, and why they are important in social work. We spoke about how important it is to be up to date with what is going on in the outside world and community we are working in.

In the evenings we travelled to the youth rehabilitation centre to put into practise the things we had been learning about in the morning, and teach the children circus. It was a truly rewarding experience for all involved. So incredible to watch the participants learning new skills, and take pride in their newly discovered abilities!

The Hungarian workshop took place only a few weeks ago. Abi and Marianne spent 6 days in Sajokasa, a remote village in NE Hungary, near the Slovakian border, working with Roma Gypsy children. This was an extremely tough project, but a lot was learnt on both sides about patience, perseverance, teamwork, communication, and how to deal with extreme situations, including harassment from audiences and local communities, and extreme living conditions.

Throughout the week, they worked with a group of 15 Roma students from Sajokasa and a neighbouring village. The aim was to teach them circus skills and present two shows in the village and a nearby one over the course of the six days. After a difficult start, the group made positive progress and were able to fulfil the aims of the project. The show was well attended and greatly appreciated.

Currently here in Bristol we have already begun the ground work for our workshop (to be held in Oct/Nov 2013) by creating a new social circus sector of The Invisible Circus, called Invisible Youth. We have been holding weekly circus workshops since Feb 2013 on a volunteer basis at a Council run Youth Centre called “Felix Road Adventure Playground”. The centre is situated in an area of Bristol called Easton, which has a large community of immigrants, and children from many different Ethnic backgrounds attend regularly.

We are making incredible progress with the children there, many of whom have a reputation for being disruptive and un-attentive. It is often these exact children who are the most capable and enthusiastic when it comes to trying out circus skills. I am very excited to announce that we will spend a full week with some of these students in Oct/Nov when we do our Bristol European exchange to allow them to create and perform in their very own circus show!

If you would like to read more about our experiences please visit our website at, or follow my blog on

Thanks for reading! Rada aka Miss Radida, Social Educircation Coordinator

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.

This publication [communication] reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be
made of the information contained therein