It was a meteorologically changeable summer as ever, and the London 2012 Olympics were fast approaching. Whilst Londoners awaited it’s hustle and bustle with trepidation and excitement alike, I was in rehearsals for Coca-Cola in the Olympic park as one of their “Future Flames”. We were devising sketches that we would bust out atop stocky black crates in the park, as people queued for the “Beat Box” – come rain or shine. During this process I met these two unique and strange creatures Penny and Mikey. They were so playful, warm and tirelessly energetic and I felt I had found kindred spirits who were just my kind of weird! One day Penny mentioned The Flying Seagull Project were recruiting entertainers and volunteers. The project works with disadvantaged communities at home and overseas, bringing circus and the arts to groups and areas that need them most. I jumped at the chance to get involved, as I’ve always been a champion/member of direct action charities/initiatives and the cause and crew resonated with me. I auditioned and got accepted into the Team. I was thrilled.
I began my journey with them, as a children’s entertainer at parties, as one of those flexible jobs that you actually enjoy and that we’re all desperate to find. We have one of, if not THE only not for profit kids party companies in London as one of our means of raising funds for projects. Then in 2013 FSP started a project in Racituosa, opening an arts centre for the village children for a year and they needed someone to hold the fort in the party office, so I took up the baton and continued to do so voluntarily for 2 years.
During that time, I got to experience the true spirit and Joy of FSP at various festivals, where we raise more funds and events across the UK. I have performed several times at many festivals including; Glastonbury, Secret Garden Party and Wilderness, to name but a few. Finally cutting my teeth internationally as a volunteer, on the “Fun Feast in the East – Spring Tour 2015”. The festivals were a total blast and entirely exhausting, in the best possible glow-at-close-of-play-way. Full days spreading joy and our ethos to awesome families & folk, reminding ourselves and those we met, about what really matters most in life.
However Romania was a game changer for me. Being a part of something so positive and so “other” to myself was life changing. Long arduous days & uncharted emotional territories to navigate – I could not have asked for more. Whilst there I performed and gave workshops in remote rural communities and in the shadow of vast grey tower blocks. We worked in Roma communities, orphanages, community centres and children’s and adults special needs homes. One day that sticks out to me was when I helped till the ground & sowed seeds in our village Mama’s field (a woman who had adopted FSP during their time in Racituosa) it was as sublime as it was back breaking. A physical task, which to me represented what we were doing experientially across that generous, warm and often misunderstood nation. A nation whose people welcomed us (sometimes after initial suspcion had passed – I don’t blame them, we look odd!) with open arms and home made fare, to feed and water us. I can’t wait to return and see what has grown and what other crops we can sow.
The Flying Seagull Project does so much to encourage the creative and joyful spirits and outlooks we could all do with more of and cuts through any barriers of disadvantage to encourage children and communities to tap into their creativity and youthful selves. FSP have given me so much love and a tribe of my own. Next we make our way across Europe to spread some Laughter and reassurance that things will get better and people do care, to the refugees who are currently in limbo across Europe. Please see how you can get involved and support us and check out the link below and remember, you can cross any barrier and create a smile when you are a clown. Never forget to play!