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The Stars of PiiPoo Shine in Galway

The dream of a family circus with 18 members from Pirkanmaa Region in Western Finland will become reality in June when it will travel to Ireland for a six-day training event. The family circus is not going to be trained, however. Instead, it will take the main role in promoting practices of social circus and the family circus model developed by PiiPoo to the Galway Community Circus, based on the Western coast of Ireland.

The majority of families have been involved in the circus since 2007 and the group is made of young people with special needs and their parents and siblings. The managing director Pilvi Kuitu says that the group is a ”motley crew” in which everybody helps and supports each other. She thinks that parents and siblings are the best care assistants to their own family members so there is rarely need for additional assistants.


The group wanted to go abroad


This is the first time PiiPoo is participating in an Erasmus+ Youth in Action project. The project, ”Taking the social circus workshop model to the Galway Community Circus” (Sosiaalisen sirkuksen työpajamallin jalkauttaminen Galway Community Circukseen), within which the trip to Ireland will be realised, is one of the projects nominated for the 2015 Youth Award of the European Youth Week. ”The need for Galway to get information and learn about social circus, our need to extend our international network, and above all, the dream of our special group to perform abroad and show their skills and what they do were the inspirations for the project”, Kuitu says.


And what skills they are to show abroad! The young blind daredevil girl, doing aerial acrobatics with silk ribbons next to her mother at the height of three metres, for example. Another youngster wanted to become a cannon ball in the show Kalevala which will be performed in the mini-seminar held as part of the training in Ireland and the contents of which the young people have contributed to. ”The young people wanted something dark and gothic. With mysticism as the starting point, including story-telling and drama, we decided that Kalevala it must be”, Kuitu says. The performance also highlights the rights of the disabled people to be and to do the same things as any other people.


Equality to all


The family circus model of PiiPoo will be presented in Ireland through the Kalevala show. After the performance, the family members will tell what the family circus has meant to them in their lives, supporting their well-being. The training will also cover issues, such as what social circus is about and how to approach disability.


Family circus is a part of social circus. Social circus supports communality and forming of groups. It involves play and learning different circus arts. The idea of a family circus is that the whole family takes part together, at an equal standing, as themselves. Each family member can have their own favourite circus arts in the circus. Equality comes from performing and working together.


The magic of circus


In addition to the family circus practices, Kuitu wants to bring courage and confidence to do different things in a circus to the training, without forgetting professional skills, tools and methods. The young will give the Irish fantastic examples and courage to do circus. Kuitu says that for these young people life is not something to take for granted, but when they are on stage, they shine”. They are normal mums and dads and young people, boys and girls. But the magic of circus transforms them to something exceptional”, Kuitu says.


The goal is to find, through a local disability organisation, young Irish people to work and practice with the family circus. ”Our goal is to have our family and local families to do circus together, with the focus on circus not the disability. However, we know that what the families share is having a severely disabled family member.”


The training of the ”Taking the social circus workshop model to the Galway Community Circus” project will be held in Galway, Ireland on 11.6.-16.6.2015. A mini-seminar to which local decision-makers, funding bodies and care sector representatives have been invited will form a part of the training. It is a strategic partnership project within the Youth in Action strand of the European Union’s Erasmus+ Programme. The strategic partnerships in the youth sector can last from six months to two years and can involve, for example, different types of development work between organisations.


Text: Johanna Järviranta


Translation: Maarit Ritvanen



Publicerad: Tor, 07/05/2015 - 10:54

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