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The aim of the Five Ring Circus project when it was set up in 2010 by the North East Circus Development Trust (NECDT) was to create opportunities for young people to do circus activities regularly.

Through NE Generation funding we set up the Five Ring Circus as a youth participation project which is focused on providing circus workshops for young people aged 12 to 19 and in developing young people as cultural practitioners and leaders.

Although the NE Generation funding has ended the legacy has left us with a burgeoning community of young people spread out across the North East, attending circus clubs, learning, making friends, teaching, performing and developing into independent, healthy and social individuals!

The Clubs are transitioning to become independent organisations which will contribute to building up a stable circus community in the North East. So we are looking towards the community of young people and local adults from each club to support the Five Ring Circus project managers to help achieve this. To get involved as a teaching assistant, a club supporter or helping hand – Please get in touch!


This project has been developed by the North East Circus Development Trust because in the North East there has been considerably less circus than in the rest of the country. This has been frustrating for many professional and young people who have been involved in circus. The project will help fill the gap in the circus map, which currently exists between South Yorkshire and Scotland.

The Five Ring Circus is part of the NE Generation project, which is funded by Legacy Trust UK  creating a lasting impact from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games by funding ideas and local talent to inspire creativity across the UK. The NE Generation project was commissioned by a panel of young people from the region who initially chose nine different projects which will span the two years running up to the Olympics. The Five Ring Circus project was lucky enough to be chosen as one of these nine, and some of our Ring Leaders are now working alongside young people from the other projects to create the ‘Show Case’ Event which will be 1 and 2 September, others were involved in the commissioning of the Cultural Innovation projects. We are also part of the Cultural Olympiad.


The Five Ring Circus Awards an online resource which is designed to help students progress within circus, and to help teachers to guide the people they work with. The Awards are still in development and are being compiled by one of the Five Ring Circus tutors, Rob Thorburn (who is our lead tutor in the excellence programme). The online resource is a result of a partnership between Bright Night International and Let’s Circus and a concept developed out of the Five Ring Circus where we consider circus to have 5 families of disciplines: Acrobatics, Aerial, Manipulation, Equilibristics and Performance.  The Awards are based around this concept and are designed to guide people to work though 5 skill levels in specific disciplines skill.

The Five Ring Awards we hope will help youth circus groups and individuals to gain tools for learning independently and help them understand progression routes as well as being able to understand how individuals skills levels compare with others. It’s an exciting scheme that will allow learners to gauge what level they’re at, and more importantly, to give them an idea of what’s next to train or aspire to!


    Unicycling tricks