For more than a week in July, the fate of the New England Center for Circus Arts balanced on a high wire as an internal struggle over the institution’s future exploded into the public’s view.
On July 11, the Brattleboro Select Board, and the entire town and the national circus arts community, learned that NECCA’s board of directors had unceremoniously dumped the founders of the organization, sisters Elsie Smith and Serenity Smith Forchion, after months of conflict over the organization’s guiding artistic vision.
“NECCA is in a state of crisis,” Sam Payne, who moved to Brattleboro with his wife, Sandra Feusi, for the express purpose of coaching at NECCA, told the members of the Select Board. “NECCA is one of the jewels in the Brattleboro crown. We are asking if you care about the circus, please get involved.”
And the community did respond, and wholeheartedly in support of the sisters. What followed was a rash of resignations by staff at the facility and workshop cancellations by professional and amateur acrobats who had enrolled in courses through the end of the year.
Link to Full Article at Brattleboro Reformer.