This year has presented many challenges for a celebration of science and creativity based largely on live events but we’ve been bowled over by the resilience and adaptability of all the people and organisations involved.
Today we bring you a good news story from Little Stars Circus in an article written by author Janet Rosina West.
THE SHOW MUST GO ON!
On Saturday, October 31st, when the second national lockdown was announced the students at Little Stars Circus had been preparing for their End of Year Celebration of Learning for 8 weeks. Little Stars Circus offers classes in hoop, silks and trapeze for those aged 4 to adults and every year they celebrate their achievements in front of a live audience of family and friends at the Civic Theatre in Chelmsford. This year, due to the first lockdown, the theatre had to cancel bookings so new plans were made. Their studio would be transformed into a theatre; they would film the show in the middle of November and have it screened at a local cinema with social distanced seating for a small audience during December.
It seemed as if this second lockdown would wreck their plans and ruin the chance of any show being performed at all. But ring mistress of the circus school, Dr Diana Entwistle, refused to let that happen.
“These children and young people have lost so much this year, they have had so little to celebrate and so few opportunities to shine and have fun. I could not let them lose something that they were looking forward to so much.”Dr. Diana Entwistle
But would it really be possible to do anything to save the show when the news broke on the Saturday with just four days to go until lockdown?
Recognising just how important this event was for the students, video company HNE Media and photographer Dan Pluck changed their schedules to enable filming and photography to take place on the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday after school.
When regular Covid-safe classes were over on the Sunday Little Stars staff and helpers set about transforming the studio into a theatre. They worked all night, knowing how much the show means to the performers, and more than ever this year with so few chances to achieve and be proud.
“The transformation was a team effort; we were so grateful to the wonderful parents and grandparents who took costumes home to finish and our amazing teenage circus performer, Amelie, who set the lighting by computer for the ancient stage lights we reclaimed from the skip of a London theatre. Teen performer Alice ran to the studio from school each day to help change the equipment and look after the younger performers”.Dr. Diana Entwistle
On Monday evening the lights were on, the curtains went up and the camera light began to flash as the first group of performers arrived to a performance like no other!
Performers had their temperature checked, sanitized their hands and changed in a dressing room with social distanced spacing. They had crossed the car park to the studio and entered to see the amazing metamorphosis of their training space into a theatre. Performing with their equipment more than two metres apart they danced in small groups with no audience, just a camera, but with joy and smiles that reflected their elation at finally having the opportunity to express their love for performance and aerial dance this year. With three tough evenings of filming the show was recorded and ready for editing during lockdown.
“Yes, we were two weeks away from ‘ready’, but we did it! I teach our performers never to give up and to always fight for what you want because the harder the fight the sweeter the victory. It was tough but our circus family triumphed. I am so proud to say that when it rained Little Stars Circus danced in the puddles.”Dr. Diana Entwistle
Look out for an upcoming suite of resources for educators, designed and created by Little Stars Circus, which blends circus and science to teach national curriculum science concepts. Click here for the first resource, which concentrates on GCSE chemistry.