Back To Ours circus company teaches older people new tricks

Older people in Hull are being given the chance to experience the wonder of the circus in their own care homes thanks to a collaboration between contemporary circus company Upswing, Hull 2017 and The Baring Foundation.

Upswing, who will perform their spectacular shows Bedtime Stories and Once Upon A Pillow Fight at the Back To Ours festival this month, is touring six care homes across the city with Story Box Circus.

Designed to challenge older people to exceed what they thought was physically possible, Story Box Circus is a great way for carers and residents to try something new together. In each session, Upswing will deliver two hands on workshops before performing an exhilarating circus show, giving many residents the opportunity to experience circus performance up close for the very first time.

Upswing's Story Box Circus.

The care homes involved in the project are St Clare House, Fernleigh Day Centre, Rockcliffe Court, Buckingham Day Centre, Alexandra Court Care Centre and St Thomas Independent Living Facility. Each care home will be visited twice.

Vicki Amedume, artistic director at Upswing, said: “Through working with older participants over the last ten years, we realised that there is a desire by older people to challenge themselves, be brave and try something new. We designed Story Box Circus to challenge all the participants, staff and residents to exceed what they thought was possible for themselves and each other.”

Cian Smyth, Hull 2017 producer, added: “We are committed to ensuring that everyone living in Hull has the chance to be part of the City of Culture story, regardless of their age or circumstances. Through Story Box Circus, we are enabling people who may not otherwise have had the opportunity to participate in the year to play an active part, right on their doorstep.”

Story Box Circus is the latest in a series of projects engaging older people in arts and culture across the city. Other projects include: The Butterfly Effect, a project in the Creative Communities Programme that explores the lives of people living with dementia, Storybox by Small Things CIC which works with people with Alzheimer’s and dementia to make collaborative stories and a collaboration between Hull 2017 and the Wellcome Trust which brings together artists, scientists and community groups to examine health issues including dementia and ageing.

Tickets to Upswing’s Bedtime Stories at Hymers College and Once Upon A Pillow Fight at Archbishop Sentamu Academy have sold out, but there are a limited number of tickets available for Once Upon A Pillow Fight at Kingswood Academy on 31 Oct.