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2010 Top-Rated Nonprofit

The Circus Barn, Inc.

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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

3 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


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.


General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Circus Smirkus makes magic. It's that simple. Each summer audiences fall in love with the wonder, joy, & artistry of the circus arts through Smirkus' award-winning Big Top Tour, performed primarily by talented children and teens. In addition to its tour, Smirkus brings the circus arts to thousands of children annually through school residencies and summer camp programs. My son was first introduced to Circus Smirkus by attending annual performances of the Big Top Tour. Years later, a Smirkus school residency resulted in his learning to diabolo and juggle - with a passion! As a ninth grader, he attended the Smirkus Advanced Camp, and one year later he was on tour as an official "trouper". The Smirkus experience has been a remarkable journey of transformation. Whether through residency, camp, or tour, Smirkus teaches kids to extend the boundaries of what they thought possible, and to love the unique form of art that is circus.


General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My daugher, Aerial, was involved with Circus Smirkus over a 5 year period including camps and the touring company. As a family this experience has been a HUGE part of our lives all year round. Even though camp was for a week or two at a time and Aerial's tour experience was a 10 week period over the summer for 3 seasons ... she lived Circus Smirkus all year. It positively affected her school work and her home life. She knew that if she was all good in school that we as her folks would let her live her dream in the summer. She did more chores around the house. We owe it to the Smirkus staff for giving the kids a voice in decisions and the fact that as a whole they all depended on one another on the road ... staff and trouper alike. Aerial is now in Circus College in Quebec Canada and is following her dream. She knows what is like to train hard ... do multiple shows in a day, meet and greet audiences, face the joy of a wonderful performance and learned to accept a not-so-good show with grace and dignity. Respect ... a lot of respect on circus Smirkus amongst all. Although Aerial is off the show now as she aged out, We will continue to be involved and fly up for shows in the summer as our child gained SO MUCH from the experience. As did we! Truly, Sean Emery Meg Emery