The Rainforest Circus – Submerged


Submerged is an ongoing experiment in community-engaged arts practice. Over the past three summers, a group of professional artists visited four different ocean-bound communities to collaborate on the development and production of a “circus in the forest,”  inspired by the theme of water. In the first two years youth, elders and other participants from the Sunshine Coast, Malcolm Island, Gabriola Island, and Esquimalt worked with this core artist team to devise vignettes and installations. In 2018, the Art Farm collaborated with community members of the Sunshine Coast and Malcolm Island to create and produce a theatrical performance in the forest: Submerged.

During the summer of 2018, The Rainforest Circus – Submerged embarked on a mini-tour presenting sold out shows on the Sunshine Coast and Malcolm Island. It was an incredible experience to travel together and collaborate with both communities. Thank you to everyone who was involved! To see the full album of photos from this production please visit our Facebook page.

What's Next? qathet!

 The next rendition of The Rainforest Circus: Submerged will take place in the qathet region, previously known as Powell River.  Earlier this summer our team had a visit to collaborate with community partners to explore what a Rainforest Circus could look like in this community. Stay tuned for more information on how to be a part of Submerged 2021.


 Our time in qathet included developing connections with three key groups: Inclusion Powell River, a community organization that supports the integration and full lives of those living with a spectrum of cognitive abilities;  an experimental choir;  and a group of practising aerialists. In efforts to keep our staff and participating individuals safe, we found creative ways to connect from a social distance and took advantage of the gorgeous outdoor landscapes qathet has to offer.


Past Rainforest Productions

Looking back at 7 Years of Rainforest Circus

The Rainforest Circus began with a simple vision: an audience wandering through the woods, stumbling upon performances and installations; a violinist on a tree stump, a story-teller at the foot of a tree, a ceramic creature dangling from branches above.

In 2009, our first year, 350 audience members showed up, donned masks and—trundling through some surprise August rain—turned this vision into reality. Since then, the circus has grown exponentially. In 2014 & 2015, the Circus went on the road, with sold-out shows in Porpoise Bay Provincial Park in Sechelt and Shirley Macey Park in Gibsons. The productions included aerial hoops, duelling drum kits and the wildest dinner scene ever set in a forest.

The Rainforest Circus is now undergoing another evolution that involves collaborating with youth, elders and artists to produce a community-engaged arts show.  Submerged is the first of these projects.

Special thanks to our Rainforest Circus partners, sponsors and funders.

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