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Juggling a cultural and sporting Legacy

04/06/2014
Young People / Culture / Sport and physical activity
Minister for External Affairs and International Development Humza Yousaf was on hand to celebrate as the Commonwealth Youth Circus (CYC) made its first public appearance at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow, today.

As an important strand of the Scottish Government’s Legacy for Glasgow 2014, the CYC comprises a troupe of 18 specially-selected young people who have been busy training in a host of unusual and amazing human skills including stilt-acro, aerial, acrobatics and parkour.  

Developed as an integral part of the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme the troupe will feature during a Games-time celebration in Glasgow running alongside the sporting action called Festival 2014. The CYC is also geared up to support the Queen’s Baton Relay during June and July with pop-up performances across Scotland as part of the nationwide Culture 2014 programme.  

External Affairs and International Development Minister Humza Yousaf said: 

“The skill of these talented young performers is astounding and I’d urge everyone to take the chance to see the Commonwealth Youth Circus as they perform in Glasgow and as they support the Queen’s Baton Relay with events all over the country.  

“The Youth Circus is just part of the hugely varied programme arranged for Culture 2014. With over 200 projects and 1000 events taking place all over Scotland, everyone has an opportunity to get involved during this exciting and important year.” 

Each CYC member has been training at least 20 hours a week, creating material with a highly skilled creative team and taking masterclasses with international guest tutors. In addition to enriching the cultural legacy of the Games, each of the Circus performers has learnt new skills which will serve them well in future years.  

One such performer is Sam McFarlane, a 23 year old traceur, freerunner and tricker from Glasgow, who has been using his acrobatic skills to add to his new circus career. He has won several competitions and is continuing after the Commonwealth project to become a professional new circus trainee, learning performance, teaching and business skills for the circus industry.  

Sam commented: "The most exciting thing about the Commonwealth Youth Circus is the physical development and meeting new people. It is an honour to bring my passion for extreme sports and circus performances to life in such a prestigious event as Glasgow 2014.” 

Nineteen year old Laura Harrison from Edinburgh came to the project through the Mela's acrobatic and dance commission in 2013, where she tried acrobatics and stilt-walking for the first time and has never looked back. Laura commented: “At the heart of circus performing is physical exercise and achievement. We have been training harder and with more discipline and motivation than ever before. It’s something that will stay with me for a long time. 

Student Iain Macdonald from Glasgow is also part of the team and has been ‘juggling’ his performance training with a dentistry degree! As a skilled juggler, Iain hopes to combine his healthcare ambitions with a second career as professional circus performer and teacher.  

Iain commented: “The thing that scares me most would be being told I couldn't do something, and believing it. The eyes of the world will be on Scotland and it’s an opportunity to show everyone what we can do. Being involved in the Queens Baton Relay is an amazing honour. It’s an experience which makes me very excited about what lies ahead.”   

Commonwealth Youth Circus is a partnership between three Glasgow companies at the forefront of physical training and performance in Scotland – Bright Night International, Glasgow Parkour Coaching and Aerial Edge and generously sponsored by Your Event Scotland. 

Find out more about the Commonwealth Youth Circus.