Big Top Circus

lights on® learning school projects Nov 01, 2018

When speaking to members of the audience after each show, typical comments I heard were “Inspirational”, “Fantastic”, “Unbelievable”,  “Hugely Impressive” and even “In Awe”.

The Great Justinino – Ringmaster (Volunteer Parent)


Seeing the impact our combined creative efforts had on the children was the first major source of inspiration behind Explorium.

Julia Black

In 2009 a group of volunteer parents combined their skills, talents and time and gave all 104 pupils at Butleigh Primary school the chance of a lifetime – to run away with the circus. This was a hugely ambitious project, which mobilized ordinary parents to stage an extraordinary experience for their children and have a direct impact on their education. 

A core team of parents worked with the children for six months training them in juggling, unicycling, clowning and performance poetry, among other skills. Then a dedicated Circus Week kicked off with a colourful Circus Parade through the village, led by the school’s newly formed Marching Band. Three professional performing artists joined them for a few days of intensive training in trapeze, silks and tightrope. Every child at the school was involved in the circus and they performed to over 600 spectators across two shows.

My son performed on the trapeze at both shows. I cannot express enough the overwhelming pride and emotion on seeing him perform so well and with such confidence. He thoroughly enjoyed the experience and is keen to do it all over again!! I have told him he can run away to the circus once he’s 16!!! Many thanks to all those involved in making the dream a reality!

Karen, parent

Some of the boys who have not been very nice to me now treat me better because they worked with me doing things none of us knew how to do and I think they saw me a little differently. I also want to say that I think we all gained something out of the circus, we had fun and did things we might not have decided to do normally, I wouldn’t have done the acrobatics and was a little nervous, but I really enjoyed it.

Jake – Year 6 pupil


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