Big Apple Circus Honored at
Healthcare Clowning International Meeting
in Lisbon, Portugal
March 21-23 2016
Clown Care®, the World’s First Professional Medical Clowning Program, Celebrates its 30th Anniversary
Big Apple Circus was honored at this year’s Healthcare Clowning International Meeting for creating the professional genre of Healthcare Clowning with the prolific Clown Care® program, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. The Healthcare Clowning International Meeting 2016 took place in Lisbon, Portugal from March 21-23, 2016 with the purpose of bringing together professional healthcare clowning organizations from around the world, all inspired by Clown Care.
At this year’s conference, Dina Paul-Parks, Karen McCarty, and Deborah Kaufmann of Big Apple Circus led and participated in several workshops. Vice President of Community Programs Dina Paul-Parks presented a session on The Life Cycle of the Healthcare Clowning Organization. Creative Director of Community Programs Karen McCarty offered Tools for Communication and Conflict Management, a workshop to promote productive feedback between clown partners and their clown Supervisors. Associate Creative Director Deborah Kaufmann led Keeping it Fresh and Funny, a workshop about rejuvenation and preventing burnout. In addition, during the first evening of the conference, March 21st, Big Apple Circus was honored at the gathering’s Social Dinner for founding this profession 30 years ago. Michael Christensen, Big Apple Circus’ co-founder and Clown Care’s creator, was also present at this celebration.
Big Apple Circus Clown Care® brings the joy and wonder of classical circus to hospitalized children at 15 leading pediatric facilities across the United States. Using an array of circus and theater skills, “Clown Doctors” create joyful encounters tailored to the needs of each child and their circle of caregivers, visiting nearly 225,000 young patients every year. For more information visit http://www.bigapplecircus.org/clown-care.
About The Healthcare Clowning International Meeting
The Healthcare Clowning International Meeting 2016 has the main purpose of getting together the various actors and representing the diverse fields of work present in the scene of healthcare clowning organizations. The ideas and discussions that led to this Meeting were based on reflections from the Leaders’ Summit held in São Paulo, Brazil, in 2013.
This Meeting was conceived as an opportunity to involve different interlocutors in its development, so a brief survey was launched and shared with more than 30 individuals from different healthcare clowning organizations to gather expectations and suggestions for main themes that they felt were the most relevant for this moment in time. The results of this survey were analyzed, and it while it was clear that there were some central themes for discussion, shared by the majority, what was most impressive was the presence of so many references to the importance of getting together. Respondents expressed the desire for an opportunity to share with and learn from each other, to find the differences as well as the commonalities that can give us a true sense of belonging to this very special community. In this way the central theme of the Meeting was born, Building Community through Sharing, Learning and Celebrating, with the last word having been added as a reference to an important year in the history of healthcare clowning organizations: 2016 marks the 30th anniversary of the development of the very first professional healthcare clowning organization, Big Apple Circus’ Clown Care, which launched in 1986 and has gone on to inspire similar programs around the world in countries as diverse as Australia, Brazil, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, and the Netherlands. For more information on the Healthcare Clowning International Meeting, visit http://www.hcim2016.pt/epages/1290-151102.sf/en_GB/?%20ObjectPath=/Shops/1290-151102/Categories/Sobre.
About the Big Apple Circus
(Will Maitland Weiss, Executive Director; Guillaume Dufresnoy, Artistic Director)
As a nonprofit performing arts institution, the Big Apple Circus is committed not only to thrilling audiences in the ring, but also to bringing the joy and wonder of circus into the community. Big Apple Circus creates direct, shared connections inside its one-ring Big Top AND in hospitals, nursing homes, and schools, in its New York City home and in cities across America.
“These performers, many from circus dynasties, preserve an important tradition, reinforced by the nonprofit Big Apple Circus’s commendable community-service activities, notably the
Clown Care program, which entertains hospitalized children. This company … doesn’t only have awe-inspiring acrobatic skills; it has a lot of heart, too.”
– The New York Times, 2014 Critics’ Pick
Big Apple Circus offers a specially adapted performance of the show, Circus of the Senses, for children and adults with vision and hearing impairments, as well as physical or cognitive challenges. American Sign Language interpreters are positioned in spotlights throughout the tent, and wireless audio headsets transmit a live audio play-by-play description of the action in the ring. Braille or large-print descriptive programs are available for audience members. A “touch session” after the show offers a unique opportunity for pre-selected groups of visually impaired children to go into the ring to meet the artists and literally feel a clown nose, a juggler’s clubs, or the silky coat of a performing dog. Big Apple Circus Embraces Autism provides performances with modified lighting and sound as well as a staffed calming center, to meet the needs of children on the autism spectrum. Inclusion is a core value at Big Apple Circus, which is dedicated to delivering the finest circus entertainment to everyone, regardless of physical or cognitive ability, or economic circumstance.
Circus After School teaches kids life skills such as teamwork, responsible risk-taking, and perseverance, through a structured program of learning and performing circus arts.
Circus for All! distributes free and subsidized tickets to schools and nonprofit organizations serving low-income children and families, enabling many of them to experience the excitement and wonder of the circus for the very first time.
Conceived and founded by Paul Binder and Michael Christensen to be a leading presenter of live family entertainment and a nonprofit performing arts institution, our nation-wide performances and community programs have made our 38-year history far-reaching and full. It all began in 1974, when American entertainers Binder and Christensen became juggling partners and took to the street corners of Europe. Their comedic juggling act was a hit, and they soon found themselves on the stage of the prestigious Nouveau Cirque de Paris. They returned home to America in 1976 with a vision: to entertain and improve the lives of millions of American children and families. One year later, they found a site for the first tent-raising in Battery Park, New York, and went on to create the award-winning, nonprofit Big Apple Circus. For more information, visit www.bigapplecircus.org.