Bringing Circus to Refugees in Lichtenberg

Corona has been a tough time for communities all over the globe. In Berlin, overall, the lockdown was relatively light for most, but still kids were stuck at home without places to play. For some this is more acute than others, like those living on the outskirts of Berlin’s city centre.

Lichtenberg sits just East of trendy Friedrichshain, but has its own character completely. It plays host to a mixed demographic, including many families granted refugee status who were resettled there, somewhat far away from the hustle and bustle of the main metropolis.

In preparation for a new Cabuwazi tent opening soon in Lichtenberg, the Circus Space Pirates have been visiting a park nearby since July, bringing a bit of circus joy there every Wednesday to spend some time with the neighbourhood kids and explore creative games together. We were impressed time and again by the group that joined us from a nearby refugee hotel but, when we discovered not everybody could join every week, we decided to take the playground to them instead.

So on Wednesday 23rd we arrived with our boxes full of circus (props, clubs, poi, juggling balls and the like), a trampoline, face paint and some performances in our pockets. The kids and adults there come from a range of backgrounds and stories, Afghanistan, Syria, Iran and Palestine, to name a few, but the language of play is universal. A moment of connection shared in exploring a new toy, creating a game together or just plain clowning around has more meaning than words could explain.

After a couple of hours of open play with the community there, we set up a stage and presented a show by our crew including club juggling, clownery, hoop spinning and contact staff, all with a massive smile and lots of laughter all round. We only wish there had been no fence in between, but solidarity knows no borders.

Our crew is looking forward to focusing on these solidarity actions more and more in the coming months and keen to connect with anyone working with marginalised communities. Get in touch with us at circusspacepirates@gmail.com or write us on Instagram @circusspacepirates. Ahoy!

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