Following almost two years of intensive consultation and evaluation Belfast Community Circus School has today rebranded to become Circusful.
Launching their new website and brand today November 30th, chief executive Jenna Hall said it is an “important and exciting moment” for the charity.
The organisation has been in operation since 1985, offering training, workshops, classes, performances and more. The team work in and with communities right across Northern Ireland and have brought many thousands of people through its doors in Gordon Street in the city’s Cathedral Quarter.
Set up by Donal McKendry and the late Mike Moloney, and taken forward by the late Will Chamberlain, the rebrand comes as part of a larger strategic review of the whole organisation and associated companies. During the time Will Chamberlain led the Circus School he secured the building in Gordon Street and established two associated companies, Premiere Circus, a professional performance agency and Festival of Fools, a May Bank Holiday weekend favourite and the largest festival of its type on the island of Ireland.
Now known as Circusful, the charity have also revealed their renewed mission, vision and values which Jenna said include and embed the core ethos and values of why the organisation was set up 35 years ago.
She added: “We are absolutely committed to building on all that has gone before. During the rebrand we reviewed all aspects of the work we do and have done. The circus school has grown substantially over the years and it was important to make sure that how we operate, look and what we are called keeps up with this growth. We hope the new website, circusful.org, captures both what has been achieved before and what is to come.
“We have invested heavily in the process of consultation with our stakeholders, staff, volunteers, attendees, parents and wider circus family, their voices are really important to us.
“A key part of the strategy is to celebrate and retain the original ethos of the circus school as founded and to build upon that. We are doing more outreach work than ever, with over 1,300 children engaged since April alone and work with hundreds more in central Belfast each week.”
Going forward, Circusful will incorporate the work of Belfast Community Circus School and its agency arm Premiere Circus, whilst Festival of Fools will remain a separate entity, its connection to Circusful will be clear.
Jenna added: “It is our mission to support people of all ages and abilities to surprise themselves through circus. We meet people where they are, have fun and create a community together.
“We want to continue to enrich people’s lives through circus experiences, create curiosity and help people feel part of a community. We know our work provides people with the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to thrive in the 21st Century.
“We believe the new brand and vision will embody this, retaining all the magic of the circus but conveying much more clearly what we are about and how positively we impact lives across Northern Ireland and further afield.
“As a result of the new strategy, Circusful is planning to re-start its world-wide exchange programmes in 2022. These provide opportunities for young people from Northern Ireland to learn new skills, travel the world and create new connections within the international circus family. The new merchandise available to buy on the website will help raise vital funds for our charity.
“Our new values will ensure we remain curious, playful and persistent, we will always collaborate, put our circus family first and share leadership across the team and those we work with.”
Gilly Campbell, Head of Community Arts and Education, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said: “Congratulations to the team at Circusful on this exciting new chapter.
“Since it opened its doors in 1985, this company has gone from strength to strength, bringing awe-inspiring circus to the streets to be enjoyed by thousands of people, as well as offering vital professional development opportunities for the next generation of circus artists.
“The work of Belfast Community Circus, now Circusful, truly demonstrates the value of the arts in bringing people and communities closer together, inspiring us all through a shared love of creativity, culture and the Arts.”
Studio Texture, a small London based brand agency specialise in strategic brand and campaign projects with not for profits. They worked extensively with the steering group which was made up of performers, trainers, parents, staff and trustees.
Circusful have also worked closely with Ronan Lunney of Belfast based graphic design studio, TwoDigs, who built the new website. The copy was written by Laura Haydon, who has been connected with the circus family since the early 1990s.
Jenna said “Ensuring an ongoing and deep connection with those who’ve been involved in our work from the very beginning is really important to us and to our future success.”
For more information about Circusful go to circusful.org