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Learning the Ropes

A woman doing a handstand atop a rooftop.
Image: handstand

Learning the Ropes was an initiative between Australian social circus pioneers Women’s Circus and Nepal’s only contemporary circus, Circus Kathmandu

In 2010 thirteen young Nepalese people who had been rescued from trafficking and the streets turned to contemporary circus to build their self-esteem and to chart a path out of stigmatism and poverty.

Women’s Circus partnered with Circus Kathmandu across two years to support the development of their creative practice and their capacity to develop as an independent contemporary circus. 

In November 2017, three Women’s Circus staff travelled to Kathmandu to support professional development in social circus workshop delivery, working with Circus Kathmandu to develop a clear model for the company’s outreach program.

In May 2018, three artists from Circus Kathmandu had a two-week residency in Melbourne. The residency focused on social circus community workshop delivery and collaborative creative development, with creative workshops open to local community. At the end of the residency, Women’s Circus hosted a Community Day in Footscray celebrating the project, with circus workshops, performances and advocacy.

In connection with the Melbourne residency, Women’s Circus delivered a free social circus program for local Nepalese women in partnership with Didi Bahini Samaj Victoria (DBSV). The program focused on fun, encouraging physical activity, skills development, confidence and community, building on the work DBSV does around wellbeing, health and confidence.

  • Circus
  • community
  • Kathmandu
  • Melbourne

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