Arts Council grant boost to offer free circus skills workshops

An aerial acrobatics performer from Leadenham is celebrating securing Arts Council funding to set up a circus company to offer entertainment and free skills workshops to rural communities across the county.

Circus skills workshops ongoing at Leadenham Village Hall with Circus Starlight. EMN-210813-162707001

Nikkiita McClusky is bringing artists together to form a small-scale pop-up circus under the title of Circus Starlight.

Nikkiita grew up in the theatre before joining and touring with circus acts until having to return from touring Australia when the pandemic hit.

“Now I am home, I want to start giving back into the arts and the local communities here,” explained Nikkitta. The new venture pulls together a core team of five performers, trainers and a safeguarding officer, bringing in others when needed to offer opportunities to youth groups and dance schools to work with professionals under the big top. They have a PR company on board and an internationally acclaimed lighting designer.

Circus skills workshops for community groups in Leadenham have been given an Arts Council boost. EMN-210813-162657001

The funding will buy a 26-metre circus tent with a 250 person capacity, suitable for intimate shows while still able to be loaded onto a trailer rather than a lorry.

The Arts Council funding will enable them to forge ahead with free community workshops for young people, going into areas with little or no arts provision or transport links to bigger towns.

“We are initially looking at serving Grantham and South Lincolnshire area but ideally we will do all of Lincolnshire,” said Nikkiita.

“We have got a summer school in motion at Leadenham Village Hall and one of my teachers, Holly, is running that while I tour with the Circus of Horrors.”

Circus skills workshops ongoing at leadenham with Circus Starlight. EMN-210813-162647001

They are planning to put on a covid-safe show on August 29, from 3-5pm at The George Hotel, Leadenham. Book via www.circusstarlight.co.uk.

Free workshops in September and October will teach the basics in trapeze, aerial hoop and silk skills, as well as dance, acrobatics, hula hoops, Poi, juggling and plate spinning. Get in contact at [email protected] if interested in signing up your local group. They already have a local dance company booking sessions and a Scout troop, whose members will work towards a circus badge, plus a charity event for Lincoln County Hospital.

Nikkiita said: “It is really exciting for us to work with kids who want to achieve something, giving them interesting, transferable skills in life.

“I want it to be all-encompassing, taking in minority groups, disabilities, rural areas and inner cities.”

It will build up to a big Christmas show based on a theme of combatting loneliness in the pandemic.