Chilean youth circus strengthens community involvement

August 2007 -

The terrible conditions in today's Zimbabwe only feed the desire of young artists to express themselves, but this is becoming more and more difficult for them. The Book Café is an initiative by the Pemberi Trust, which plays a central role in the cultural life of the capital, Harare. "The situation in Zimbabwe has deteriorated alarmingly and terribly within a few weeks," says the trust's Artistic Director, Paul Brickhill, one of the driving forces behind the success of the café. "Our general manager has been threatened with arrest. There are long power cuts every day. Food and water are in increasingly short supply. This weekend we will go hunting and gathering for food supplies for Book Café kitchens."


Circo del Mundo offers both physical activity and social contact, making it ideal for children with psychosocial problems. "The circus promotes development, self-confidence, humour and creativity," Silva explains. "And it brings continuity to the children's lives. Fernando Reveco is a very good example of that. He was involved in the circus from the beginning. He was eleven when he started basic training, and after leaving school became a professional performer. Now a circus teacher and artiste, he travels to Argentina, Canada and Venezuela."

Circo del Mundo currently operates out of two large tents and an adjacent office building, but that is set to change. The organisation is seeking investors to construct a high-quality permanent venue for circus training and performance; a place where the public is welcome, both to watch and to learn. The project is being developed jointly with the borough of Lo Prado in Santiago de Chile and will largely be financed by the Fondo de Desarrollo Regional, a fund for regional development. "Although the existing tents are fully equipped technically," explains Co-director Alejandra Jimenez, "the weather is often far from ideal for our work. Three years ago we actually lost a tent, after which we had to make do with just one for a whole season. So I can assure you that we are determined to start building next year."