A Covid-19 Lockdown Project
2020 saw the entire world develop Plan B.
For us that meant cancelled tours, artists stranded, multi-year projects and a complete inability to earn from live engagement. But it also influenced new ways of producing content and reaching audiences in a different format.
#CircusPostcard project was a quick turnaround for us to deliver in May 2020 – parallel to the dates of our cancelled tour. The ambition was to provide an online engagement of circus art performance and outreach, connecting specifically with our audiences in the Shetland Isles.
The Project saw our artists send postcards from their place of isolation in the UK, Mexico or Panama. They are embedded below, as published on social media.
Please enjoy a #circuspostcard to Shetland from….
Today’s postcard comes from Mexico via Edson Caballero (some Shetland Arts friends will remember his trapeze routine in Clickimin Leisure Complex during the Youth Takeover in 2018). 🎪
Like all Let’s Circus artists, Edson has many skills to present. He’s decided to showcase fire performance because Edson is a big fan of the Viking age and has always wanted to visit Up Helly Aa. Hopefully you’ll enjoy seeing his surrounds in Mexico – those hills are quite different to Northmavine! ☀️
Like every Let’s Circus Artist, he encourages you to try these skills at home – Poi that is, not fire! One day Let’s Circus would love to teach you fire, but we start by learning the technical skills for a few years first. 🔥
Mia & Tschou
Today’s Let’s Circus postcard comes from Mia and Tschou (pronounced Joe), all the way from the south west of Germany. 🎪
Mia and Tschou literally ran away to join the circus at the end of last year, as part of a volunteering programme for young people called European Solidarity Corps UK. This is a great opportunity that gives 18-30 year old’s a funded placement to live and volunteer in another country.
Mia and Tschou were part of a youth circus club in their home town and were using this year as a gap year before doing masters degrees at University. Their postcard today features an old fashioned circus/variety skill called cigar box juggling. It can also be performed with 3 regular household objects such as toilet rolls, tea boxes, shoe boxes or anything you might have waiting to be recycled! They’d love to see your attempt at this different skill!
Wilf is the youngest member of Let’s Circus and he is an awesome acrobat. He’s isolating with his parents, brother and sister in a small house in Northumberland. He loves acrobatics because he doesn’t need much space to make his body strong, flexible and fit, so lockdown isn’t too bad for him. 🎪
Wilf enjoys teaching people how to do handstands – kids, teenagers and adults. He says everyone can learn with motivation and practice and it’s really important to have at least one other person to train with. This person will be your safety spotter as you try new techniques and you can keep each other motivated. You don’t have to be strong before you learn to handstand, but you will get strong by learning to handstand! You can send Wilf a #circuspostcard with your acrobatics or trainings via social media.
Wilf trains acrobatics every day and is currently working on his one-armed handstand. One day he’d like to perform it at the top of the UK, on top of a platform, on top of a hill. That sounds like an ambition for Shetland – watch this space!
Today’s postcard is from contortionist and aerial acrobat Ana.
Please make the recipe, but don’t copy Ana!
When Ana found out that she would not be able to return to Shetland in 2020, she knew it was the beautiful natural environment that she would miss most. When she visited Shetland in 2018 she was amazed with how much freedom people have to walk the land and be close to nature.
Although Mexico is one of the most beautiful places on the planet, she does not have access to this during her lockdown. In Mexico, people don’t always have the right to access natural spaces, as many beaches, mountains and wild places are privately owned. Ana is staying positive by teaching herself new skills, playing music, cooking healthy food and being creative.
She hopes that you will enjoy her tasty workshop and can’t wait to see your moves and homemade guacamole! 🥑
Jammy Lemon was to be the musical lead of Let’s Circus’s 2020 Show ’The Rock Circus’. He loves death metal, cats, Mozart, Loréal and prawns. Now that he’s not touring the festival circuit with various bands, or making circus shows with a live audience, he spends a lot of time exploring which kitchen objects give the best acoustic response.
Jammy hasn’t seen his neighbours in 5 weeks. Or was that 6?
We’d love to see your pan drumkit! 🥁
Today’s postcard comes from Aerial Acrobat Freya. 🎪 If you’re missing your workout at Clickimin Leisure Complex or any of the leisure centres, Freya’s got a few stretches for you! 💪🏽
Freya joined Let’s Circus as a youngster, having always done circus as a hobby. She really loves aerial acrobatics as it combines dance, gymnastics and theatrical performance.
For her, the lockdown has been hard, as she’s not been able to train in the air every day as she normally would. Fortunately she’s had some access to a hideaway apple orchard in Northumberland, near to where she has been self isolating. Here, at social distance she was able to create this postcard for you.
Freya teaches circus via the local circus school in Newcastle and was hoping to come and share those skills to the Shetland gymnasts that she’s heard so much about. Her circus postcard will help teach you how to train your leg flexibility to do the splits. All it takes, is a little bit of stretching every day!
With her hula hoop, fire performance and acrobatic routines, Satya‘s life as a travelling entertainer has taken her right across the globe. From March 2020 – that work and lifestyle has ceased. Along with her boyfriend Pancho (who you’ll meet next postcard), she’s contemplating what’s next, along with the rest of the international circus and entertainment community. Originally from Australia, but was on a working road trip between Panama and her base in Mexico when the pandemic began. She sends this Let’s Circus postcard from a mountain top village in the jungle of Panama, where as part of her lockdown, she is allowed to leave the house for 3 x 1hr designated slots per week. The borders have been closed since March – there is currently no way for them to get back to Mexico, or anywhere else.
Despite the circumstances, she’s still positive, still breathing, still thinking about the next chance she’ll have to share her art form with an audience.
Show us yer hula hooping! 👀
With his acrobatic ‘Cyr Wheel’ routine, Pancho Sandoval has been invited to perform in dozens of countries across the world. He was super-excited about heading to Shetland with Let’s Circus, but felt a little nervous about the climate. It’s a little crazy that someone who is used to being spun around whilst upside down, inside a heavy metal wheel has fear of the mercury going below 25 degrees celsius!
Since the pandemic began, Pancho has been stuck in Panama, unable to get home, some 5 countries to the north of him. He sends his postcard from there, with a taste of his acrobatic skills.
For Pancho – the Big Wheel will keep on turning. The wheels of his extended road trip will take him back to Mexico, and his skills within a wheel will see him spin again as a fantastic international performer. For all of us, having an art form to follow is a great way to ensure that the wheels don’t fall off when the road is a bit bumpy.
Charlie is just an everyday normal kind of Mum. 🐓
The normal every day kind of Mum who looks after her family, runs her own business, keeps chickens and still manages to keep her house tidy. Charlie is the everyday kind of Mum that now has to keep her kids educated from home, during a pandemic whilst also devising new circus routines that involve singing as she performs aerial acrobatics high above the ground. Oh, and she now needs to be a videographer and computer technician too.
Charlie is that kind of everyday ‘new normal’ Mum.
This final postcard from Let’s Circus is dedicated to all of those other everyday normal kind of Mums that have found themselves with a whole heap of other skills to master as their normal everyday world has turned into a circus. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When life becomes a circus – let’s play!
Charlie has been working with the Let’s Circus ringmaster Steve to contextualise the pros and cons of her very own ‘family bubble’.