Circus News

Training, Employment & Culture–Ethiopia’s New Circus Center Aims to Provide It All

In Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, plans to develop a new circus center are underway and the organizers are reaching out to the world circus community to share their vision and to ask for support through their launch event. In an announcement on Facebook, Circus Center Addis Ababa board member, Antonella Casella, shared information regarding the Zoom launch for the fundraising campaign for the center which will take place this Thursday, Oct 22.

In attendance to explain more about the project will be Mike Finch, Brukty Tigabu (Chair of Social Enterprise Ethiopia), Wintana Gmaskel (Circus Artist from the award-winning Trilogy, Ethiopia), Anni Davey (Artistic Director, The Flying Fruitfly Circus), Zsuzsanna Mata (Executive Director of the Federation Mondiale de Cirque and Founding Director of the Global Alliance of Circus Schools),  and last but not least, the Founding Director herself, Sosina Wogayehu (Circus Center, Ethiopia.) There will be a Q&A with panelists as well as video messages from Johnathan Lee Iverson (Ringmaster), Pavel Kotov (Senior Casting Director, Cirque Du Soleil), and Jessica Hentoff (Artistic/Executive Director, Circus Harmony.)

Casella, describes her enthusiasm for the project, “This will be a center which combines the celebration of Ethiopian culture; social circus, and vocational education and training with an amazing professional circus pathway to genuinely transform the lives of young people in Ethiopia. Sosina has been working on this project for over 4 years, with the government approval process in place, now is the time to raise the funds to finally make it a reality!”

In addition to celebrating the culture, The Circus Center Addis Ababa is a social enterprise meant to provide training and employment opportunities for youth and to highlight Ethiopia’s circus arts and artists. Their goal is to establish a national center for vocational training, arts, and circus. Their mission is to empower and support the young people of Ethiopia through circus, education, and cultural pride.

The Circus Center, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia has pre-approval to build a circus village within Entoto which will feature a 500 seat performance venue based on a unique design concept which merges traditional Ethiopian architecture with the classic European cabaret venues known as Spiegeltents. It will also house a community training center, a place where school children will be offered free workshops. On their website, you can find out more about this ambitious and important project, including the building plans in Entoto Park, a large national park within easy access of the capital, Addis Ababa. Another exciting reason to visit their website is to get a glimpse of the people this center is being built for, the circus artists of Ethiopia themselves, some of whom  are featured in their success stories section.

A Circus Center spokesperson says, “This enterprise will be a critical first step to providing an ongoing source of income and funding for the initial set up of the Circus Center, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It will continue long term as an adjunct facility, providing additional employment for the young people involved.”