As the new year begins, we at Clowns without Borders Ireland take a quick look back at some of our events of 2018, and towards our exciting projects of 2019!
2018 was a very busy year for CWB Ireland, both at home and abroad.
We began and ended our year with international tours – at the start of the year our Dublin branch performed for Syrian and Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, while in November our Cork branch headed off to refugee camps in Athens and the island of Lesbos. Our aim was to bring joy and laughter to those living in very difficult conditions, for example the Moria Camp on Lesbos, which Oxfam recently labeled as ‘inhumane’.
Kathleen Harris, a professional videographer, travelled with the Greek tour and created a short documentary entitled “A Postcard from a Crisis”, which captures some of the work we do while abroad. We plan that throughout 2019 this documentary will screen in various locations.
Back home in Ireland, throughout 2018 we ran workshops in Direct Provision Centers and Accommodation Centers in Clonakilty and Millstreet, Co Cork and also in Clondalkin, Dublin.
Fundraising and raising awareness about Clowns without Borders continued to be a continuous occupation of the clowns! 2018 saw many different events take place with the proceeds going directly to fund our work, from schools presenting fancy dress days, to performers performing fantastic shows, to music and cabaret events, and even film nights! These were just some of the ways that our members, friends and supporters helped to raise much needed funds for us to be able to share the laughter and the love.
In 2019 our work and efforts will be focused mainly here in Ireland, one of the many results of our 5 year plan meeting in October. We received a generous grant from ‘Community Foundation for Ireland’ to run a workshop programme and summer camp in Clondalkin throughout 2019 – this follows on from the pilot workshops we have done the previous year. The children from this ‘Clown-dalkin’ project have already given a short performance at the First Fortnight festival event ‘Fly away with the circus’ in Smock Alley, at the start of this year.
Our focus in Ireland makes us keen to begin a national schools workshop programme and we are currently finalizing a text entitled ‘Learning through Laughter’ – a practical handbook for social circus and theatre workshops. The idea behind the book is that it will give our members a way of working that is unique to CWB. This will be used for our national schools programme which is in the pipeline for 2019/20 and will also be applied as we continue our work with refugees in Direct Provision centers throughout Ireland this year, as per usual.
We are also delighted to be initiating collaboration projects with the ‘Change Your Mind Festival’ Sligo, Galway Community Circus, Dublin Circus Project, The Circus Factory, Cork, The City of Sanctuary Movement Cork and the First Fortnight festival. We also hope to release our first Clowns without Borders podcast sometime this year!
We are also in the planning to do a follow up tour to Greece late 2019 early 2020, keep an eye on our FB page to keep up with our evolution.
As well as all the practical work there is much planning, administration, meeting and talking that takes place in order that the tours, workshops, fundraisers and awareness events can happen. So a huge THANK YOU to all our wonderful performers, volunteers, board members and administration team who have generously given their time and talents to make this incredible work happen…and also to you, for coming to our events and supporting the work that we do.
Clowns without Borders wishes you an amazing 2019, filled with giggles and smiles and laughter!