We had the immense pleasure today of visiting another circus school. This one is called Aircraft Circus, a limited-liability company housed in the nonprofit property of the Hangar Arts Trust. It was a bit of a hike to get there - it's in the outskirts of London, near Greenwich - but we were so glad we found it.
We were shown around by Alex Frith and Moira Campbell, two impressive circus coaches who make up half of the directorial team of the company. Though the exterior of the building is dreary industrial, inside is comfortable and homey, with lots of couches, a kitchen, toys for the kids to play with. They have four main studio spaces - this photo shows the largest, which can hold a full flying trapeze rig. Then there is Studio 2, another big space which includes a "wall-running" area; an upper studio of static aerial equipment (photo to the right) ... and a yoga studio, pictured below. They even have a sauna! (Alex said it was the first thing they built). It is a busy place - they have a 15-week full-time course, recreational programs, youth programs, performances.
Alex's entrepreneurial spirit was exciting to both me and Greg. It is wonderful for us to meet with business owners who are passionate about circus education like we are, and not afraid to get their hands dirty building a place from the ground up. We love talking shop, about rigging systems and materials and utility costs and staff management. We were also impressed at what a good relationship they have with Circus Space - many of the school's directors and teachers were students, coaches or guest artists there, and the ties are lasting. Compared to San Francisco, where the circus schools seem to just avoid each other, this climate of mutual appreciation was really nice to see.
Overall, a fun day, getting our circus-school fix, kick-starting our daydreams, and forming new connections.