Rainforest Circus Creation Week | FAQ

When:  July 10th to 14th, 2017 (10am to 5pm daily)
Where:  Morning: Bere Point Park | Afternoon: F.O. Hall 
 $10 per day to cover the cost of food.
Who:  All ages (children need to be accompanied by an adult unless other arrangements have been made).
When:  July 17th to 21st, 2017 (10am to 4pm daily)
Where:  The Gabriola Commons (with some excursions to the beach)
 $10 per day to cover the cost of food.
Who:  All ages (children need to be accompanied by an adult unless other arrangements have been made).

When:  July 24th to 28th, 2017 (10am to 2pm daily)
Where:  The Art Farm, 1747 Storvold Road, Gibsons
 $10 per day to cover the cost of food.
Who:  All ages (children need to be accompanied by an adult unless other arrangements have been made)

1. What’s the Rainforest Circus?

The Rainforest Circus is kind of like it sounds: a circus that takes place in a Rainforest. But it’s not really a “circus”, at least not in the traditional sense. It’s a dynamic experience between an audience, performers and the forest. Likewise, the creation process is not conventional. Instead of a circus company hiring professional artists to collaborate on a pre-conceived vision, the Rainforest Circus starts the collaborative process with a theme and a blank slate. From there, the artistic team works in collaboration with the community (formally at workshops and camps, informally at booths at special events) to devise vignettes and installations that are performed and displayed during a one hour guided walk through the forest. The circus is as much a creation of the community and environment it springs from, as it is of the artists who build and perform it.

2. Explain “Submerged”?

Submerged is a word that emerged out of our original theme of ‘water’. As a theme for a circus, ‘water’ felt too—well—fluid, too slippery. We needed to find a word that we could all hold onto for a bit longer. Submerged has many different meanings: the literal one – what do we see when we are beneath the water?—the psychological one—what is buried in the far recesses of our minds?—and the societal one—what histories have not been told? Since the communities we are working with are all surrounded by oceans and inlets, we felt that the theme of “submerged” would provide us with a lot of interesting ideas, thoughts, images and stories to play with.

3. How did the Rainforest Circus begin?

Between 2010 and 2015, The Art Farm experimented with the creative process described above with a core group of professional artists and produced six entirely unique productions with six different themes, presenting them to sold-out audiences in two different parks on the Sunshine Coast in BC.  Burgeoning interest from other rural communities, along with a desire to experiment with the community-engaged process outside of our home region, pushed our organization to explore beyond our shores. 

4. Why do we keep doing it?

Wanna know a secret?  The Rainforest Circus is always awesome because 90% of our job is done just by gathering a group of people in the rainforest. This is why we do this—the Rainforest Circus is a great excuse to visit the forest with a 100 other people at the same time and see the forest through a new set of eyes.

5. What will we be doing during the creation week?

Creation week is when we start to piece together the different vignettes that will eventually be a part of the show. It’s also the time when we focus on creating installations and artwork that will be showcased in the forest. Everyone gravitates towards the medium that they are most excited to work on. This could be dance and acrobatics, paint and sculpture, theatre and clown, costume and set, or music and sound. We’ll divide into groups, revisit some ideas that have come up, brainstorm some new ones, play different games, experiment with sketches, and then share what we have with the rest of the group. And we’ll do this throughout the week, sometimes stopping for group exercises or games. It’s pretty fun!

Oh – and the meals will be fun and awesome too!

6. Do I have to perform in 2018 to participate in 2017?

No. You don’t have to perform at all in the Rainforest Circus to play a role. Ideally, we’d love those who participate in 2017 to play a role in the 2018 production—and we think you’ll be hooked—but this is not an obligation in any way!

7. Can I still perform in the circus if I have never performed before?

Yes! There are lots of ways to perform in the Rainforest Circus that don’t require oodles of experience.

8. I am a professional artist: can I get paid to be part of the circus?

No, unfortunately. Believe me, we’d love to pay you to be a part of the circus, but between the logistics of the tour itself along with payment to the core circus collaborators (who are both facilitating and building/performing the circus), we’re unable to hire any more professional artists. If you’re still keen, consider this an opportunity to have a unique experience with your family, or a chance to try something outside of your professional medium. Either way, know that we get it. You deserve to get paid!

9. Can I drop my child off to participate even if I can’t?

This is a tough one. We’d really like for you to participate with your children (or grandchildren). This is going to be a truly unique experience, we believe—a chance to do something totally different with our children. But we recognize that not all parents/guardians/grandparents of children are going to be able to take a full week off to participate in the creation week. Let us know if this is the case, and let’s figure out a way so that you can still be involved.

10. Do I have to have children to participate?

 No, not at all! Come one, come all. Creative folk of all ages and lifestyles welcome!

11. Has anyone else ever done anything like this?

The short answer is: yes! There are lots of different arts companies around the world that do this kind of thing. This type of arts creation goes by different names: community-engaged arts, community-based arts, social circus, to name a few. The general idea is that when you combine professional artists (who can share their experience and skill in creating art) with a community of people (who can share their unique or particular passion, ideas and stories), brilliant art happens; art that couldn’t have been made by either group independently.

Want to learn about other companies doing this kind of work? Check out some of the organizations that have inspired us! Bread and Puppet Theatre or Sojourn Theatre or Jumblies Theatre

12. What is the level of my commitment?

 For 2017, your level of commitment is for the creation week in your community alone (and for those who can’t make it the entire week, for whichever days you are there). We are also asking for people to pre-pay for the catered lunch.

Beyond this, we will be reaching out to you to see whether you are interested in continuing—and we will let you know then what level of commitment is required for production.

13. Are there additional times that I need to be available?

 Not yet!

14. What if I can’t do the full week?

As mentioned above for parents and grandparents, we understand that not everyone can take a full week off, despite a desire to take part. Again: just let us know and we’ll see if we can find a way for you to participate.

15. How can I help promote your event?

Anyway you normally promote events! Please send our flyer on to your friends/network via e-mail. Like us on FB. Send the link to our event page to your friends and family.

Download a copy of our flyer:   FLYER DOWNLOAD



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