High flyers

After wowing crowds this summer, Walthamstow Youth Circus is looking for a new home, writes Richard Baxell

Walthamstow Garden Party

Young performers from Walthamstow Youth Circus show off their skills at Walthamstow Garden Party (credit Jess England)

For many among the large crowds basking in the summer heat of this year’s Walthamstow Garden Party, the high point (literally) was the astonishing display by the Walthamstow Youth Circus and their international all star guests.

Suspended above the audience, children as young as six performed fearlessly, showing enviable poise, strength, and balance. It was, as local MP Stella Creasy tweeted, “extraordinary” a wonderful showcase for the London Borough of Culture 2019.

Walthamstow Youth Circus (WYC) was formed just over four years ago and made its début at the Chingford Big Weekender in 2015. This year is now the third year running that the talented young troupe of aerial acrobats have wowed the crowds at Walthamstow Garden Party.

Sadly, it seems that future shows are in doubt, following the loss of the group’s vital training venue in Waltham Forest. Exhaustive searches for a future space in the local area have, so far, proved unsuccessful.

In the lead-up to this year’s Walthamstow Garden Party, the National Centre for Circus Arts in

Hoxton and Aerial Days in Dartmouth Park were incredibly supportive, providing temporary training spaces, but neither were sustainable in the long term.

Clearly for the aerial circus to have any sort of future, it needs a dedicated home in the borough, with both a practice space for classes and a performance venue. While they look for a more permanent base, the children’s aerial circus group are urgently searching for a temporary local venue, tall enough to house the five-metre high rig from which their equipment is suspended.

Despite the challenges, WYC’s dynamic leader, Layla Rosa, says that she has not given up hope. She has met with the Arts Council, which endorsed the search for a new home within the borough. Parents clearly support her efforts too, proudly recounting the impact that learning aerial circus skills has had on their children’s fitness and self-confidence.

Not surprisingly, the children are just as passionate. Carmel, 12, enthuses: “I never thought I’d be able to do the things that I have managed to do in Layla’s classes.”

Fellow circus performer Jessie adds: “I love the unique combination of physical activity, teamwork and performance. It’s unlike any activity I’ve ever done.”

WYC is open to anyone aged six and above and no prior experience is required. There are currently two groups running on Tuesday evenings after school, though if a new home can be found, Layla would like to open up the aerial circus to other local children.

Can you help this amazing activity to continue and grow? If you know of a potential practice space in the borough, or would like to get involved, please get in touch.


For more information and to get in touch with Walthamstow Youth Circus:

Email walthamstowyouthcircus@gmail.com

Facebook facebook.com/walthamstowyouthcircus

,