Halifax Circus is made up of three 'rings' - our Circus Circle Social Outreach program, our recreational school and our performance troupe! Every member of our staff is comitted to providing our students and audiences with the highest quality programming and we love to get feedback from the public.
In 2005 Mike Hirschbach returned to Halifax after 2 years performing as a character clown with the Cirque du Soleil’s touring show, “Dralion” (20001 – 2003), and then a further 2 years (2003 – 2005) teaching as a Master Trainer with the Cirque’s outreach program, Cirque du Monde. As such he created and ran extended workshops for the existing CdM programs in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Orlando, South Africa and Burkina, upgrading the circus, social and teaching skills of the youth and the trainers.
Returning to Halifax he saw it had many of the same problems he was dealing with in other cities; homelessness and street life, addictions, mental health and physical mobility issues. After consultations with the Cirque du Monde staff, he began the Circus Circle program in Halifax, inspired by and based on the CdM program.
2005: Circus Circle began in 2005, and was supported by St. Matthews United Church, who provided the location, and the United Way and Cirque du Monde, who funded the initial program. From 2015 – 2010 community and social agencies brought youth to the regular weekly social circus programs, which culminated in our first public performances at the Dunn Theatre and the Neptune Theatre second stage.
Now in its 13th year, Circus Circle is the oldest social circus program in Canada outside of Quebec, where the movement started.
2010: Responding to growing public interest and requests for skilled recreational and professional circus training in Halifax, Mike opened classes for the public. He and Kristin Langille had corresponded while she was studying in the US and he was travelling with the Cirque, and they planned and initiated the aerial program. Other trained instructors gravitated towards the school, and the core of the present teaching staff began to grow, and a professional curriculum developed.
2012: The Halifax Circus company, a formal performance troupe, was formed from the teachers and selected senior students. We began touring with the first of 3 annual performance trips to India. We initiated 6 regular performances for the public each year - 2 student showcases, 2 professional performances, and shows in the Fringe Festival and Nocturne, where Halifax Circus is the most–attended event annually.
2017: The Professional Track Training Program is initiated for selected students who want to pursue a professional career. Our public classes grow to include Cyr wheel and a performance class, and have well over 100 students. Circus Circle programs expand to include 2 new programs, one for mobility challenged youth, using specially adapted equipment, and a second for Mi’kmaw youth.
Now in 2018, the three strands of Halifax Circus – school, performance company and social outreach – grow stronger and more recognized every year. We have outstanding teaching staff, a committed and knowledgeable board, skilled and committed students, a pre-eminent position as circus trainers and performers in the Atlantic provinces, and wide professional affiliations in the professional circus community.
And wait until you see what we’re up to in 2018!