On September 8 Circus Starr launches a brand new, interactive visual story app to help children with autism access live performance.
The app, Show and Tell, is available free of charge from the Apple store and can be used on an iPhone or iPad.
Because new experiences and environments can cause anxiety in children on the autistic spectrum, visual stories are often used to help a child envisage a situation in advance and so help reduce stress at the actual event.
Show and Tell provides a photographic feast of live action circus images, exclusive behind-the-scenes material as well as show footage that will help children familiarise themselves with the circus experience before they go. All content in the app can be personalised to suit the specific needs of each child and children can even put themselves into their stories by uploading their own images, footage and text.
The app’s launch coincides with the start of Circus Starr’s sell-out, 27-venue autumn tour and will enable hundreds of children to enjoy and engage with the show like never before.
Around 700,000 people in the UK have autism. Together with their families, they make up around 2.8 million people whose lives are touched by autism every single day. Show and Tell will be used to enhance understanding and enrich enjoyment of a live performance, before being used as a springboard into exploring other arts and cultural opportunities (theatre, galleries, museums) with family and friends.
Read my review of their show below:
Circus Starr, Huddersfield
No technology. Just strength, dexterity, illusion and an overwhelming sense of awe.
It is telling that the incredible athletes that make up the troupe of this touring circus comes exclusively from Eastern Europe. Moldova, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Bulgaria are all represented in a line-up that boasts Chinese pole work, aerial strap acrobatics and that old favourite, juggling.
It was these skills – timeless and seemingly effortless – that wowed the audience at Circus Starr’s one-day stop-off in Huddersfield, proving that the entertainment of the past has a real value in the present.
A not-for-profit organisation that caters for an audience of disabled and underprivileged kids Circus Starr is a reminder that thrills and spills can outweigh phones, tablets and laptops. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the real McCoy.
And for those with a moral objection against traditional circuses, this one parades no animals. Instead the talent on display is entirely human and all the better for it.
Nicolino the clown contrasts pratfall comedy with tremendous feats of equilibrium. The fabulous Velenciuc Troupe presents stiltwalking, perch balancing and acrobatics. Trapeze artist Evelina combines elegance with concentrated brilliance. And the dashing Serik Brothers, a trio that performs heart-stopping exploits high up in the Big Top, emerges as the winning act in an impressive ensemble.
Much of the enjoyment in witnessing this centuries old expertise is in observing the enraptured faces of children. This is real entertainment, physical and intimate, a testament to a dying art overtaken by progress.
And all performed with a smile.
Returning to Yorkshire in September.
Star rating: *****