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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts Education, Camps, Performing Arts, Performing Arts Schools, Sports

Mission: The mission of Circus Smirkus is to promote the skills, culture, and traditions of the traveling circus and to inspire youth to engage in life enhancing adventures in the circus arts. Smirkus’s vision for the future includes national and international recognition as an organization that offers the highest quality performance and education programs in the traditional circus arts, with an emphasis on providing the opportunity for young people to live up to their potential and transform their lives through participation in circus.

Geographic areas served: Northeastern United States

Programs: In-School Residencies, Smirkus Summer Camp, The Big Top Tour

Community Stories

19 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our experience with Rick and Circus Smirkus was outstanding. Rick was able work with a multi-age group and keep all the students invested in the circus experience. All of the students thoroughly enjoyed the program and the teachers were able incorporate the circus theme in all subject areas. It was a individual confidence builder, developed the students large and fine motor skills as well as team cooperation. I highly recommend Rick and the Circus Smirkus program. Coleen Healy Director Southshire Community School

Client Served

Rating: 5

We have had TWO Circus Smirkus residencies at our school in five years -- if that doesn't speak volumes about the quality of this program, I don't know what does! Circus Smirkus takes students to a whole new level of learning. We find that our students are actually more focussed in their classes during a two week residency in which they practice for up to 50 minutes every day. Teachers were at first worried about lost class time, but quickly discovered the time they had was more productive AND the opportunities for integrating circus arts into most areas of the curriculum were unlimited. The thrill of watching a child persevere at a skill until they are able to perform it in front of an enthusiastic audience is unmatched. I could go on for pages with accolades for this organization. We will book them again to work with our students!

7

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I first went with my daughter, thinking it would be a cute kids' show. I was blown away by the professional-quality talent, staging, lighting, music. There were plenty of kids in the audience, but even more adults. What makes Smirkus different from other shows is the joyous spirit of the teenaged performers. They just lift you up, make you happy, make you laugh, make you hold your breath. They're doing this for love, and they do it so well it changes your whole outlook on the world. My daughter's in college now, but I never miss Smirkus when it comes to town.

8

Client Served

Rating: 5

Circus Smirkus is a reason to restore anyone's faith in humanity. Their Big Top Tour comes to Merriconeag Waldorf School in Freeport, Maine and provides inspiration and beautiful entertainment to the greater Portland community. We welcome children--in-need from organizations like Make-a-Wish and take Smirkus Troupers to the local children's hospital, thus taking the joy of the Circus far beyond the ring. Smirkus is a fantastic organization and we absolutely love working with them to bring such amazing talent and good will into our community.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My son went to Smirkus Camp twice and then became a performer with the Smirkus Summer Tour for 2 years. In that short time he grew from being quiet, reticent, and a bit insecure to someone who radiated on stage with full confidence and strength of character, and his skills improved 300%. I had no ambitions for my son to be a performer, but I will say that I could not have chosen a better place for him in his teen years. He was surrounded by caring, creative and loving human beings in the troupe and the staff. He found a family that encouraged him and gave him numerous opportunities to grow, succeed and participate fully and responsibly in all areas- performing, creating, and all the behind-the-scenes work. He went from a single parent family to having numerous supportive "parents," mentors and peers. I never had any experience with the circus or any interest either, but that quickly changed as I became an eager, enthusiastic circus mom, thanks to the people who make up this organization and the excitement that was generated the minute I entered the scene.

4

Board Member

Rating: 5

My daughter attended Smirkus camp for three years and performed with the Big Top Tour for five years. We saw her develop from a shy little girl to a poised, talented young woman. She also gained many life skills, as troupers are engaged in many behind-the-scenes chores. Smirkus gives these kids tremendous opportunities and prepares them for life. But beyond those who participate, Smirkus also brings joy to the tens of thousands of people who see the Big Top Tour, go to camp (as camper or staff), or participate in a wonderfully educational and exciting school residency. It is a not for profit organization that instills strong values and engages people in its important mission. The staff and volunteers are incredibly dedicated and hard working and are passionate about the organization and its mission. It's often said that Smirkus is magical, and it's true!

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Two years ago I went to Smirkus Summer Camp just for fun. Within the first few minutes I already felt like I was surrounded by a family. The campers and the staff were so supportive, and they helped me build the confidence that led me to audition for the Big Top Tour last year. I had no idea what to expect when I was accepted as a 2009 trouper, but I was amazed by the experience I had. Not only did I learn new skills, I learned to work as a team and work through challenging conditions. The best part was sharing our show with the public and seeing them walk away from our big top with huge smiles on their faces. I came away from this summer a stronger, harder working person. The people I travelled with are my second family, they picked me up when I was down and brought out the best in me.

3

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been invovled with Circus Smirkus as a parent of a camper who then became a trouper and stayed with it for some ten years. I then joined the board and have been with the board for almost eight years. So from 1993 to the present, I have been involved in some way or another. I have had the great pleasure to see many troupers grow in oh so many ways and watch Smirkus emerge as a real leader in the youth circus field.

4

Former staff

Rating: 5

I went to Smirkus Camp for two summers, and then auditioned for, and was accepted to the Big Top Tour. I toured for four summers. Circus has been my dream and passion since I was three years old, and Smirkus has not only provided me with the opportunity and resources to pursue circus as a career, but, as for so many others, gave me life skills applicable to anything I would want to achieve. Smirkus creates an adventure that is life changing and life enhancing, and is quite indescribable to those who haven't experienced it, but undeniable to those who have. I have gone on to work as a professional clown and continue to work with Circus Smirkus, in many roles, including counselor and production manager, mentoring the current troupe, supporting the artistic integrity of the show, and proudly helping to continue to provide magical entertainment for audiences of all ages.

10

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Circus Smirkus is rollicking good fun. Here, talented teenage performers safely push the boundaries of their own potential to the delight of audiences who are swept along with the foot-stomping exhilaration of simply watching them. It’s zany, hilarious and absurd; a brightly colored dream where anything and everything can come true.