Peo­ple of any age can join the cir­cus


CIR­CUS skills and dance are two ar­eas in which the arts and phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity cross over.

In our bor­ough, we are lucky to have two or­gan­i­sa­tions - Sky­light Cir­cus and Can’t Dance Can - which are lead­ing lights in their fields.

I re­cently caught up with Mar­tine Brad­ford of Sky­light Cir­cus to get an up­date on ex­cit­ing projects on the hori­zon.

Mar­tine is de­lighted that the Sil­ver Cir­cus project has been re­funded by Hey­wood Mid­dle­ton and Rochdale Clin­i­cal Com­mis­sion­ing Group So­cial In­vest­ment Fund.

Sil­ver Cir­cus is open to all peo­ple over the age of 55, al­though Mar­tine as­sures me that no proof of age is re­quired!

She ex­plained: “We have had peo­ple in their nineties. We make cir­cus skills ac­ces­si­ble. It is the group that laughs the most.

“Their at­ti­tude is very much, ‘I didn’t think I could do it at first but I did, I did it’.”

Mar­tine is very im­pressed by how fit many in the Sil­ver Cir­cus group are. She added: “They want to do things like trapeze, tight wire, they some­times have a big­ger de­ter­mi­na­tion than younger peo­ple, they are still com­pet­i­tive.”

She is how­ever keen to em­pha­sise that the group is also open to peo­ple who are much less ac­tive.

She said: “It helps with bal­ance, not fall­ing over, not trip­ping up.

“If peo­ple don’t have much mo­bil­ity, a lot of the ac­tiv­i­ties can be done seated. They also meet new peo­ple, be­come part of a group, things go­ing wrong to­gether and things go­ing right to­gether.”

Mar­tine re­vealed that we may have the op­por­tu­nity to see Sil­ver Cir­cus in ac­tion. She said: “If the group want, we would like to of­fer per­for­mance op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“Some of their skills are phe­nom­e­nal - jug­gling three clubs, peo­ple on trapeze, tight-wire bal­ancers.”

Sil­ver Cir­cus par­tic­i­pant Pat Craw­ford said: “What a ter­rific ex­pe­ri­ence, see­ing us all achieve lev­els of amaze­ment, when we all said at the be­gin­ning ‘I can’t do that’.

“Well we did and the fun, ca­ma­raderie and ex­er­cise we had along the way was lovely.”

The ses­sions are held on Mon­days, 11am to 12.30pm, at Sky­light Cir­cus Skills, St Chad’s Fold.

Sil­ver Cir­cus has also se­cured fund­ing for two fur­ther projects, one tar­get­ing groups of young peo­ple who Mar­tine says ‘wouldn’t nec­es­sar­ily get the op­por­tu­nity to take part in phys­i­cal ac­tiv­i­ties’.

The other a project is sup­port­ing #THRIVE, and is de­signed for peo­ple with men­tal health is­sues.

For more in­for­ma­tion, email mar­tine.b@ sky­light­cir­

Par­tic­i­pants from Wood­clough Day cen­tre in Mid­dle­ton tak­ing part in Sil­ver Cir­cus

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