Rainforest Circus coming to Gabriola

Michelle Benjamin

Executive Director, Gabriola Arts Council

Tuesday, July 11 2017

“Come play with us!” says Sandy Buck of Deer Crossing the Art Farm. “Artists from the Rainforest Circus will be on the island July 17 to 21, and we’re inviting Gabriolans to get their circus on!”  

The Rainforest Circus is (like it sounds) an interactive theatrical production that takes place in a forest, but it is not a “circus” in the traditional sense. The circus began in 2009 on the Sunshine Coast with a simple vision - an audience wandering through the woods, stumbling upon performances and installations - a violinist on a tree stump, a storyteller at the foot of a tree, a ceramic creature dangling from branches above. It has now evolved into a bigger production - aerial acrobatics, sound design, and interactive installations - while still engaging local community members in all aspects of the creative development.

In 2017, residents of three ocean-based communities - Malcolm Island, Gabriola Island and the (already involved) Sunshine Coast - will begin the creative development of their own Rainforest Circus, incorporating the theme “Submerged,” inspired by the story of water. This project will lead to a full theatrical production in the summer of 2018.

During their visit to Gabriola, and in partnership with the Gabriola Arts Council, artists will collaborate with community members of all ages to create vignettes, installations and artwork that will be showcased in the forest. Workshops will be held at the Commons, and it’s a great event for families to participate in together. Participants are asked to pay a minimal fee to cover the cost of tasty lunches and snacks.

“Everyone gravitates towards the medium they are most excited to work in,” explains Sandy. “This could be dance and acrobatics, paint and sculpture, theatre and clown, costume and set, or music and sound. We divide into groups, revisit ideas that have come up, brainstorm new ones, play games, experiment with sketches, and then share what we have with the rest of the group. And we’ll do this throughout the week. It’s great fun!”

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