Boswell-Wilkie Circus School


In most areas of Gauteng, many of our youth are left to fend for themselves and spend time alone on the streets. These children/youth are exposed to terrible conditions and AIDS, poverty, lack of education are just some of the realities they face on a daily basis. We at Boswell-Wilkie Circus School would like to make or contribute towards keeping young people off the streets – giving them an opportunity to succeed in life.

The United Nations definition of a street child is:

“Any girl or boy … for whom the street (in the widest sense of the word, including unoccupied dwellings and wasteland etc.) has become his or her habitual abode and/or source of livelihood; and who is inadequately protected, supervised, or directed by responsible adults.”

Vision and Objectives:

Cirque du Soleil, a Canadian based Company, has initiated an International network of Social Circus Instructors and during August 2005, Boswell-Wilkie Circus School were privileged to attend a 5-day course in conjunction with Cirque du Monde, the outreach programme of Cirque du Soleil to develop skills as Social Circus Instructors. This network includes seven organizations such as professional circus schools and social circus school. Meetings are held annually and are an opportunity for exchange and reflection on the realities and challenges of social circus.

Boswell-Wilkie Circus School wants to practice their arts in a social outreach context and introduce disadvantaged youths to a Social Circus, where they will discover that they have skills that can be used in the future.

They will experience the magic of circus arts and discover first hand what it entails to become a circus artiste, how much discipline and perseverance they require. The program favours an approach that respects young people and gives the participants a springboard into a new stage in their lives. Above all the project will provide a chance for participants to experience something positive that can act as a catalyst for growth in self-esteem and identity.

These youths are our future Entertainers and/or Circus Artistes. Our hope is that Boswell-Wilkie CircusSchool will be a means to reach out to young people and to contribute to their personal and social development.

Our main objective is to help the youth:

– maintain a realistic vision of themselves, their strength, personal challenges, and realise that they are all unique;

– to pursue their goals;

– to have confidence in themselves;

– to mobilise children from various social groups and assist them to realise their potential;

– to increase the awareness of and educate the public on social issues, using the children’s dramatic and circus skills.

To do this we need these youths to be exposed to a Social Circus and where they will have controlled fun and games where they will learn:

– how to have self-confidence;

– be understood;

– be given responsibilities.

– Demonstrate how they can acquire skills they use during “play-time” and develop them.

On completion of the first workshop, they will be asked to question what they have experienced and learnt, and what they will do with this learning. We will help them evaluate what worked and what should be changed, how to transfer the learning to something more definite and teach them to self-evaluate themselves. They will find out how to achieve their goals and focus on the next goals.

We will introduce the youth to various acts, i.e.:

To attain our goals, we will require a great deal of financial assistance as Boswell-Wilkie Circus School is a non-profit organization. As the responsibility of the children of South Africa must start with the community, we request sponsorship from businesses to assist us financially, so that we can to give these children an opportunity to use their skills and build a career to last them a lifetime. You will share in the satisfaction and pride when they give their first performance for their own community, and show themselves in a new, positive light.

We need financial assistance for the following: Social Circus Instructors, Equipment (wear and tear, replacement of trapeze, winches, climbing ropes, juggling rings, specialised gymnastic sponge mats, holahoops, etc.), Food programme for the children, Clothing programme for the children (winter wear, blankets, etc.), Vehicle for collection and delivery of children (Driver, Licences, fuel, maintenance thereof, etc.), Portable sound equipment, Costumes.

We trust that you will be just as excited as we are, by this positive new venture, and know that there is hope out there for the new generation!

Subscribe to our



Follow us


More Articles

Subscribe to Joburg and stand a chance to win an evening dining at Pontinha de Xai Xai to the value of R1 500! *

Monthly Joburg subscription competition form. (Started in May 2024)