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Children learn circus skills in North Woolwich

PUBLISHED: 13:00 21 April 2018

Children learn circus skills at Fight For Peace Picture: Alex Harvey-Brown

Children learn circus skills at Fight For Peace Picture: Alex Harvey-Brown

Alex Harvey-Brown

A North Woolwich boxing club has teamed up with Stratford Circus Arts Centre to host a weekend of circus performance at their North Woolwich gym.

Children learn circus skills at Fight For Peace Picture: Alex Harvey-BrownChildren learn circus skills at Fight For Peace Picture: Alex Harvey-Brown

The event at Fight for Peace was a timely opportunity for young people amidst the new levels of violence in London but also as the 250th anniversary for circus in the UK.

James Morgan, from Fight for Peace, said: “This street violence is not something new. But it is heightened right now so this event offered something positive for young people to get involved in.”

The first day saw a workshop for seven to 18-year-olds to learn the ropes on an aerial truss - an N-shape scaffolding structure with suspended silks and hoops, built above the gym’s boxing ring.

Katie-Wambui Kings, a Fight for Peace youth engagement officer, said: “This was a great opportunity for us to open our doors to the wider community and utilise the fantastic space that we are fortunate to have.”

Children learn circus skills at Fight For Peace Picture: Alex Harvey-BrownChildren learn circus skills at Fight For Peace Picture: Alex Harvey-Brown

The second day saw an open-to-all access day, which included a free performance from award-winning aerial circus company, Ockham’s Razor.

Afterwards, the audience were given the chance to have a go using the truss with help from performers.

Tania Wilmer, Stratford Circus Arts Centre’s director, said: “The piece was really impressive and beautiful. The audience got to see the intense physicality, physics and discipline involved in aerial circus performance.”

Since 2010, Tania has worked towards the centre’s mission, bringing world class art to the doorsteps of Newham locals, getting rid of price barriers and giving people access to performance art in public spaces.

She said: “We have a real synergy with Fight for Peace. We’re both inspiring people to learn different skills and discover something new that they can be capable of.

“They do it through martial arts whereas we do it through performance art. It’s just a different way of physically expressing yourself but the skills are transferable”

Katie-Wambui added: “Working with Stratford Circus Arts Centre on this project has been wonderful and hopefully there’ll be many opportunities to work together in the future.”

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