The organiser of a circus skills group has said it “means the world” to have won a competition by self-service ticketing platform Eventbrite to find the UK’s ‘most curious and colourful event’.
Skylight Circus Arts, which is based in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, runs circus classes and workshops for people from different age groups, and also hosts sessions for people with disabilities, LGBTQIA teens, and refugees from across the globe.
The group came out on top against 11 other finalists in the experience technology platform’s national competition and was awarded with £2,500 in cash and £2,500 in Eventbrite fee credits due to its ability to foster “social connection through its welcoming, inclusive and diverse events”.
One person who has benefitted from the group’s work is 71-year-old Linda.
“A friend of a friend told me about Skylight, encouraging me to go along to the Silver Circus sessions for over-60s”, she said.
“I went along and everyone was so welcoming and the staff were great. They encouraged me to try things within my comfort zone and progress as I became more confident.
“That was four years ago and since then I’ve learnt a lot of new skills – from juggling to diablo. I’ve also performed aerial circus at lots of events – to learn something I thought I could never do and then progress to performing is a truly amazing experience at my age.”
The money will be used to run classes and projects for which Skylight has been unable to get funding, including its Silver Circus class for over-60s, drop-in classes and youth classes, while the fee credits will be used to spread the word about the group’s activities.
David Allen, 51, from Bolton, who runs Skylight Circus Arts, said: “Winning this competition means the world to a small organisation like ours and we actually cheered with delight during a staff meeting when we got the call.”
He added that one of the group’s core values is “teaching circus with a purpose” and that, each week, it runs around 15 sessions.
Eventbrite’s Sebastian Boppert said that the group’s work, which is “wonderfully different, diverse and inclusive” is “in a nutshell what Eventbrite is about”.
Other finalists included a scarecrow-making workshop in Mintlaw, Aberdeenshire and an underwater photography shoot in Whitburn, in West Lothian.