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Roll up! Roll up! It’s the Cornwall Circus Camp at Penryn

Organised by Swamp Circus, a professional group of professional acrobats and dancers, Cornwall Circus Camp Big Top comes to Penryn.
If you’re thinking of launching a new career, perhaps the Cornwall Circus Camp is just the place to see if the circus life might be for you! Held on 5 days over the fourth weekend in August, the Circus Camp runs from Thursday to Monday. This year it falls over the bank holiday weekend, and you will find this exciting event taking place on Chyan Farm.

All about Swamp Circus

The event is being organized by a charitable trust, , which puts on a number of shows each year across Europe. It is the longest running contemporary circus in England and has over 20 years’ experience worldwide. It was formed in 1986 by a group of acrobats and dancers in Sheffield. With their high-energy circus routines they have toured Big Top circuses with their act and performed in many theatre shows.

The popular farm location and environmental centre near Penryn was used to host the Surya Yoga Camp in previous years. It is well equipped for providing training classes in a stunning fresh air location which will shortly see the surreal sight of a Big Top erected in preparation for the Cornwall Circus Camp.

Adults and accompanied children over the age of 9 are welcome to join the fun. Classes are grouped by experience and ability rather than by age.

Skills to learn at the Cornwall Circus Camp

Inside, just like any circus Big Top, there will be indoor training spaces for many of the skills to complement the swinging trapeze rig and the outdoor highwire rig. There is an off-road unicycle track and a café for refreshments as well as spring water onsite.

The Cornwall Circus Camp will be run by professional tutors from all over the UK and further afield and the whole event will offer a rich program of skills, from beginner to masterclass. Classes include aerial, acrobatics, high wire, dance, equilibristics, juggling and static/swinging aerial skills. Day visitors are welcome to enroll and for those wondering whether or not it is their cup of tea, here’s a run-down of what to expect on each of the days, from Wednesday through Sunday.

A typical day at the Cornwall Circus Camp

Like the real circus, the day starts early at the Cornwall Circus Camp with yoga from 8am with a total of 8 classes a day. From 10am to 11am there is an acrobatics session including a warm up session, hand stands and tumbling with air track. Alternatively attendees can join the hoop class and learn some circus tricks.

11:30am to 12:30pm there are various session in the Big Top. Take your pick from aerial indoor high wire or learn to master riding a unicycle – surely an essential part of any clown routine. Skills on the tight wire, slack wire, ladder, globe and rolla bolla balancing boards are all part of this late morning session. Once you’ve mastered balancing on the board, try adding juggling or handstands.

After lunch you can look forward to juggling with a warm-up followed by learning to juggle balls, hats, clubs and even cigar boxes! This is followed by acrobalance lessons including acrobatic yoga techniques and hand to hand balancing.

From 2pm to 4:30pm attendees can take time off to go canoeing and climbing or take a Daiblo class, a Capoiera Class or progress to the high wire on the outdoor rig.

At 5pm it’s time to show off your skills and learn from the pros with a cabaret and performance session followed by warm-down yoga. The evening ends with dinner and a fire session.

Have you ever had any experience with another Circus School or similar unusual workshop? We’d love to hear your story and experience in our comments below.

About Gillian Birch

Born in Cheshire, Gillian Birch moved to Cornwall at her earliest opportunity and never looked back. After 20 years, her ongoing discovery of popular attractions, quiet footpaths and local eateries has made her a fount of knowledge as she entertains readers with her informative articles on the hidden gems of Devon & Cornwall from a local point-of-view.

Find Gillian on Google+, and Twitter.


  1. Anna Adams says:

    I actually cannot wait for this! I saw it advertised in the paper. We are always looking for something different to do as a family, which as most parents will know is not an easy feat. My youngest turns 9 on the 28th which is great because it means we will all be able to join in.

    We haven’t been to any other Circus Schools before, in fact, it is the first one I have ever heard of. But the day’s program looks really exciting. My kids have what seems to be an unlimited source of energy, hopefully this will manage to drain some of it!

  2. Mark Holt says:

    It’s interesting because I never thought a career in the circus would provide so many benefits for oneself. There’s a strong focus on Yoga and I don’t think there are any flaws or disadvantages of practicing this beautiful art. I like the idea that the martial art Capoiera can assist you in your acrobatics training. Now this is excellent because while the trainees only intent is to improve their acrobatics they are still learning a martial art and a few of its self-defence techniques. I suppose it could work with any martial art that has a serious focus on balance and posture.

    The stereotype is that you have to be some sort of freak or possess an abnormal power. I just wanted to ask are these sorts of circus’ still around or have they have been banned by now? Sorry for my ignorance but my curiosity is getting the better since having a quick browse through the site.

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