History and Management Structure
The North East Circus Development Trust (NECDT) was established in 2009 and is a charitable trust, evolving from the strategic development plans of its two Directors, Helen Averley and Steve Cousins (pictured). Circus Central is the name by which the charity is better known so it is now in effect our “trading” name.
The Directors report to a Board of Trustees drawn from the Region who are either active or experienced in professional circus or events, or who are representatives of the local community or are interested in seeing Circus Central/NECDT succeed. The Directors are also involved in the Five Ring Circus youth clubs and consult with the Youth Board – Ring Leaders.
The Directors and tutors are motivated to start the charity by the obvious delight shown by young people when they first meet circus and the disappointment that usually followed when they discovered that there wasn’t anywhere to go for regular practice. Add to this the desire for a space, born out of the frustration that local circus practitioners have felt, in not having a Circus venue in which to train.
The charities Cultural Olympiad project Five Ring Circus has generated a legacy which will see youth circus clubs flow into the development of a youth circus of excellence programme and Five Ring Circus Troupe in 2012. The Troupe is part of the Circus Central Pilot Programme which includes Phase 1 development of the Church Hall in 2012 a Residency and CPD for Artists and Teachers (due to to be completed in 2013).
Circus Central (NECDT) Aims and Objectives
- To promote, develop and facilitate contemporary, youth and community Circus and Street Arts.
- To establish, nurture and sustain a Circus Community in the North East of England which provides opportunities for the population of the North East to access, participate in and enjoy the best of contemporary Circus.
- To encourage imaginative, creative, pro-active, interactive, and physical participation of individuals and communities in circus activities leading to an increase in their well-being (fitness, health, self esteem), economic stability (routes to professional circus industry) and artistic emancipation – being able to conceive, create and perform circus (solo or in collaboration with others).
- To establish a network of youth circus projects in partnership with local authorities and other appropriate local organisations to enable the enjoyment of participatory circus in communities across the region.
- To involve young people in the management of sustainable futures for youth circuses in the region.
- To work in partnership with existing circus projects across the region.
- To develop a fit for purpose building as a regional focus for the development of contemporary Circus and training excellence.
- To provide an incubation space for circus artists in the region.
- To establish a regional centre of excellence for the training of young people in circus skills.
- To work in partnership with schools to provide introductions to Circus skills training and to develop opportunities for circus skills to be integrated within the educational curriculum.
- To work with partners to facilitate performances and training in the region from the very best of national and international circuses.
- To be good citizens locally, regionally, nationally and world wide.
Who’s Who in Circus Central/NECDT
Board of Trustees – Mike Summersby OBE (Chair), Shirley Mills, Peter Hornsey, Frank Wilson, Sara Coxon and John Wolstemholme. Co-opted member of the Board – Rev. Allan Marks – representing Christ Church Parish.
Company Secretary – Jenny Dewar
Directors – Helen Averley (lead) and Steve Cousins
Circus Central Lead Teachers – Rob Thorburn & Claire Harvey
Partner Organisations and Leads
Fr. Allan Marks and Christ Church Parish Shieldfield, supported by the Church of England/Diocese of Newcastle.
Sandra Furno, Head Teacher, Christ Church C of E Primary School, Shieldfield, supported by the Governors and LEA.
Development Consultants and Contractors
Brian Debnam Associates – Coordinating Consultant, Business Planning and Project Development (appointed 2009).
Geoffrey Purves – Architect (Church appointed)
Thomas Loriaux, Aerisc – Aerial Rig Designer
Drysdales Construction Consultants – Building and Quantity Surveyors
Andrew Duff and David Lovie, Inspired North East – Ecclesiastical Design Consultants
Circus Central Development Process
Phase 1 – Commissioned by Helen Averley, completed end 2009,
Phase 2 – Commissioned by NECDT, completed mid 2011,
Phase 3 – Fundraising – on going
Phase 4 – Phase 1 – development and Pilot Projects 2012 - Ring in Church Hall installed
Phase 5 – Phased Re-ordering of Christ Church Buildings,
Phase 6 – Initial/Phased Opening – post refit
Phase 7 – Full Launch – Date to be announced