Zambian Circus Ensemble on UK tour

 Zambian Circus Ensemble on UK tour

By Abigail Chaponda in London, United Kingdom

Zambian Theatre and Circus groups ‘Barefeet Theatre’ and ‘Circus Zambia’ have joined forces with UK/Ireland company ‘Wake the Beast’ to present EMPYRE.

EMPYRE is an interactive tale of power, privilege and selling a fantasy and was Directed by Gift Chansa of Circus Zambia and Barefeet Theatre and his Artistic Director of Wake The Beast, Adam McGuigan.

Empyre explores issues of power, control and truth through breath-taking circus, Empyre is a magical and majestic show for all the family.

With heart-in-mouth acrobatics, daredevil circus and a driving soundtrack, Empyre shows a deluded Emperor losing grip on the country and mind. The group will perform in London, Liverpool, Belfast and Porstewart.

Adam McGuigan is the Founder of Barefeet Theatre, and its Artistic Director for 10 years. Adam returned to the UK in 2016 and became artistic director of Spareparts Festival and currently is a freelance director and facilitator. He has founded Wake the Beast Theatre company, to create engaged theatre and high quality participation work.

Barefeet Theatre ‘s mission is to enhance the lives of vulnerable children and young people in Zambia, by providing creative opportunities to learn, express themselves and achieve their full potential. They do that via their various outreach programmes and interventions, reaching thousands of children and young people. Many of those young people will then form part of the performance company or become workshop leaders, helping others

All the members from Circus Zambia originated from the outreach work by Barefeet Theatre and have now established an award winning, youthful and vibrant social circus company that equips young people from vulnerable backgrounds with circus and life skills while providing educational and employment opportunities. Artistic Director, Gift Chansa is Empyre co-director with Adam McGuigan.

Last year Gift Chanda (Circus Zambia) won the the Queen’s Young Leaders Award, an award that recognises and celebrates exceptional people aged 18-29 from across the Commonwealth. Gift uses his skills as a circus performer to transform the lives of disadvantaged young people in Zambia.

The circus company provides participants in the township of Chibolya with circus, academic and life skills. As the artistic director, Gift and his team currently train 80 young people on a weekly basis who perform to more than 5,000 children in the community. By using circus skills, the Circus Zambia members are able to provide information on issues, such as HIV awareness and sanitation.

And in November last year, HRH The Duke of Sussex, President of The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, Prince Harry visited Circus Zambia to meet with partners of the trust and celebrate the innovative and creative work brought about by young people. The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust champions, funds and connects young leaders who are working hard to change the world.


Abigail Chaponda

Abigail Chaponda is a Zambian Journalist currently working as the First Secretary for Press and Public Relations at the Zambian Embassy in United Kingdom

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