Streetwise Community Circus offer a wide range of circus-based activities for everyone throughout Northern Ireland


The ongoing covid crisis, which has disproportionately affected so many of the participants who attend our youth programmes, disability programmes, or programmes for older people, meant that we took the unprecedented decision to not take a summer break for many of our regular programmes. In addition, we also focused our People and Communities programme on sheltered accommodation centres, which finally opened their doors to nonresidents in June after 18 months of lockdown. Therefore, our current Autumn programme which runs to the first week in December, is the final leg of this calendar year’s programme which has been running constantly since April 2021.

The last year has been tough for everyone. We had to re-think our outreach programmes and August and September 2021 saw Streetwise performers successfully touring sheltered accommodation, providing outdoor shows for residents who had been in isolation since March, funded by our Arts Council Arts and Older People programme


Lockdown shows at Clanmill Sheltered accomodation August-September 2020


We continue to use the skills and techniques developed through Covid to continue to keep people safe in our workshops. This includes lending equipment to partner groups to avoid contamination, the use of PPE in day centres, regular PCR testing of staff working in dementia units, “distancing” in workshops and continuing to offer zoom classes for participants who can’t attend workshops in person. This has enabled us to keep delivering up to 50 sessions per week across our programmes.

 Santised kit - cleaned, packed and ready to go!


Thanks to support from the Arts Council, we have now installed aerial equipment and stage curtains in Morton community centre which are now being used by all our Morton based programmes. This includes our youth workshops “Age-ility” workshops and disability programmes who all now have access to this new area of skills development.

We currently have a fully-trained team of tutors working regularly. They have learnt new ways of working to deliver our programme and keep things fun despite social distancing, PPE and working solo.


New aerial rig installed and in use


We are now opening a donation scheme to allow supporters to make contributions to our work. This is to enable us to continue to develop our programmes while sticking to our core principle of making workshops free to participants, ensuring that our programmes are accessible to those who can benefit most. Check out our new Donation Scheme page for more info.


All our programmes are made possible by the ongoing support we receive from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Belfast City Council and the Lottery Community Fund which has enabled us to pay staff to deliver these programmes throughout the covid crisis, and now as we plan our spring term, will allow us to support participants as the pandemic recedes.


Everyone at Streetwise are devastated by the news of the passing of our friend John Cowan. Our thoughts are with his mother Isobel and the wider family at their sad loss. John has been a constant part of our “Evergreen” group, playing a leading part in  all our summer school productions over the last 15 years bringing his circus skills and humour to entertain the audiences at Streetwise showcases and Belfast Bounce festival. In addition to being part of Streetwise, John was also a part of daily life in our base in Morton Community Centre where he will be missed by all his friends and colleagues.

John Cowan Pure Legend

John Cowan Pure Legend

Teaching tricks through Zoom!

For further info on our Winter Programme, check out the What's On page

Our current programme includes: 

Zoom classes for Older People

7 weekly Zoom classes specifically targeting older groups and individuals across Belfast, Fermanagh and the Newry area, funded by the National Lottery Community Fund.

Disability Groups

We are currently running 7 weekly zoom classes for disability groups who were forced to close due to lockdown. This includes new working partnerships with L’Arche and Caring Breaks.

We are currently running 15 weekly workshops in day centres in Belfast, Ballymena, Magherafelt, Carrick, Larne and Downpatrick in partnership with the South Eastern Trust Belfast Trust and Northern Trust.

These programmes are funded through the Arts Council and Belfast City Council.


Nursing Homes and Sheltered Housing Schemes

We have now expanded the way we work to include the use of Smart TV’s to allow tutors to lead live sessions with residents in communal living settings. This has expanded our community partnerships as we are now running 9 sessions per week with Clanmil Housing Abbeyfield Housing and the Somme Nursing Home funded by the Arts Council’s Arts and Older People programme.


NEST Programme

This programme is delivering 4 zoom evenings a week working with refugees living in Newcastle upon Tyne and Aberdeen in partnership with the charity NEST. These are working to improve confidence language and improve integration despite the complications resulting from lockdown restrictions. This programme was created following an award from the Arts Council’s Emergency Funding Programme.

Public Zoom Programmes

We are also currently running 9 weekly public zoom sessions which are accessible to anyone who contacts us which are all ability and intergenerational. These include sessions specifically targeting primary children who are currently home schooling.

New Partnerships created by Zoom

Through the development of Zoom teaching techniques we are now developing new partnerships and programmes which would only be possible via zoom. These include a new partnership with the Carer’s Trust which are now running twice a week programme, allowing carers throughout the Southern Trust to take part in circus sessions from home. We also have a weekly session running with the Rhos-on-Sea Scout group in Wales.

Support from Funding Bodies

All of these programmes have been made possible by the ongoing support we have received from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Belfast City Council and the Lottery Community Fund which has enabled us to pay staff to deliver these programmes throughout the pandemic. In addition, many of the programmes have been possible because of additional support we received from the Lottery to purchase equipment which enables us to provide equipment which can be used safely in centres across Northern Ireland.