Galway Community Circus (formerly Galway Circus Project) was set up in 2002 by a group of circus artists and teachers who wanted to bring the creative, physical and non-competitive art of circus to the young people of Galway. Focusing on the youth circus model, they started hosting mixed skills circus classes for young people, offered opportunities for international youth exchanges so members could travel and meet other youth circus members from circus schools around Europe, and brought the joy of circus to schools, festivals and communities outside of Galway. 20 years later, Galway Community Circus has an annual membership of 400 young people from diverse backgrounds, and still participates in international exchanges and community outreach. Founding members of the Galway Circus Project included Maríosa Hume, Karin Wimmer and Lisa O’Farrell. Lisa is still teaching with the circus today. Strategically funded by The Arts Council of Ireland, the staff team has now grown to twenty including some former youth members who have joined the Circus teaching team in Galway after graduating from professional circus schools in Europe.
Galway Community Circus is a circus school but is also a social enterprise. We exist to not only bring the joy of circus to Galway, but to improve the lives of our local community. Galway Community Circus was created to meet the needs of our local youth by offering a non-competitive, physical and creative activity in a safe and welcoming space. Our philosophy is ‘circus for all’, and we use the circus arts to teach young people, including those who are disadvantaged, at-risk and vulnerable, the tools to develop self-confidence, resilience and social skills while tapping into strengths and hidden talents.
When you choose Galway Community Circus as an activity for you or your child, you are making our community more resilient, inclusive and sustainable. The nature of circus teaches social, personal and life skills, helping the involved youth to become active, self-aware global citizens. Circus is a support network that meets the educational and psychological needs of communities. When you choose Galway Community Circus, you Choose Social – and you directly support our local youth and the future of our community.
“Galway Community Circus has completely changed and impacted my life and future. Circus has allowed me the freedom to see myself in a different light – one where my personality is accepted. It’s taught me about teamwork and how to compromise with others, how to persevere when I fall, and how to not be afraid or ashamed to fall. It’s taught me how to deal with stress and how to solve problems. Circus has helped me to not put limits on myself.” Juliette O’Donnell, Youth Circus Member and Tutor at Galway Community Circus
Our Youth Circus programme is a membership-based circus arts education programme for children and young people ages 5-25. Classes run for around 30 weeks September-June.
We also offer adult circus classes for ages 18+, and toddler and family circus classes that run for around 12 weeks in autumn and spring.
During the summer we hold circus summer camps for youth and adults. Throughout the year we hold specialised circus masterclasses and workshops.
Our Social Circus programme offers accessible and inclusive circus outreach sessions and programmes for schools, youth and community groups to help disadvantaged, at-risk and vulnerable people develop self-confidence and social skills.
Our Artform Development programme is key in supporting the professional development of circus artists and arts professionals in Ireland. We bring international best practice and skilled artists and students to Galway through long-term artists residencies and EU schemes.
We are proud to be funded by Arts Council Ireland, Erasmus+, and Galway City and County Councils.