The Family La Bonche - who are we?

Students enacting a performance piece

Making a difference

How the project achieved outcomes for heritage

  • Six oral history testimonies were recorded and archived.
  • Young people collected material relating to contemporary circus and donated this to the archive to enrich the collection.
  • An arts-led organisation engaged with heritage collections for the first time, creating a range of high quality interpretation for a new audience.

How the project achieved outcomes for people

  • Participants learnt about and connected with their circus and local heritage. Some developed lasting enthusiasm for the historical figures they discovered: “I’m still besotted with her and probably will be for the rest of my life, so thank you Laura Knight.”
  • Young people developed skills in oral history, in research, and in designing, planning and interpreting historic material. They also learnt traditional circus skills by reclaiming old acts. Six used the project to achieve accreditation through Silver Arts Award.
  • Some participants used the project to reconnect with learning, changing their attitudes: “I was at a point in my life when I wasn’t in any kind of education. It was a great opportunity for me to learn about what I love.”
  • Some participants used the project to build their confidence: “… playing Koringa … will help me in the future by being able to be a powerful important character … because I was Koringa and Koringa’s always going to be with me in the background.”
  • Participants enjoyed the experience: “I loved it all, and now I feel like we are one big happy family.”

How the project achieved outcomes for communities

  • A wider range of people engaged with heritage. The young people involved had not previously thought of heritage as something for them: “I used to think heritage was something that was distant from us and from me and from my life until I was in this project and I discovered that actually it’s in you, it’s in me, it’s in everyone.”
  • 93 young people have been involved in the project, with 12 taking the lead as the core management group. They have shared their learning: “At school, when I read the book all of my friends want to read it as well and they always ask me about it. They love the book and want to learn more.”
  • By taking their performance to events such as the British Juggling Convention, they shared their heritage discoveries with an even wider range of people. More than 1500 people experienced their performances.

Find out more about the difference we want your project to make.

Lessons learnt

Circus Central and the heritage organisations discovered how they could work together to their mutual benefit. This was particularly true when delivering the Arts Award. They partnered successfully to support young people through the qualification. The Arts Award had not originally been included in the budget and in future it would be helpful to allocate resource from the outset.

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