No Clowning Around – East Sussex School of Circus Arts
The international school, offering courses dedicated exclusively to circus arts, based in Hailsham explains how the support and guidance received from business support organisation, Locate East Sussex, has enabled them to access vital funding to unlock future growth.
The East Sussex School of Circus Arts is an educational institution dedicated to providing training and education in the field of circus arts. With a focus on creativity, physical skills, and artistic expression, the school offers a diversity of programs and courses that cater to individuals of various ages and skill levels.
Through its curriculum, ESSCA aims to foster a diverse range of talents, from acrobatics to juggling to aerial arts. Students have the opportunity to learn from experienced instructors who have a deep understanding of the circus arts and its history.
The school’s environment encourages students to explore their potential and push their boundaries while building essential life skills such as teamwork, discipline, and perseverance. Beyond training in technical circus skills, students are also exposed to the artistic and performance aspects of the circus, allowing them to develop their unique styles and voices.
Learning from the best
Before moving to England in 2012, Renato Pires, Principle, had experience in the Circus Arts, producing performances for parties, weddings, and music videos to name a few back in his home country of Portugal. Identifying that there was a gap in the market for this training, Renato later set out to create a similar company back in December 2019 before the beginning of the pandemic, which came to be known East Sussex School of Circus Arts.
His passion for providing an alternative to young people that have struggled in mainstream academics and could perhaps pursue in a different direction led Renato to designing courses across a range of circus performance skills such as acrobatics and aerial skills.
Fast forward to today, his Circus school runs during term time to teach both children and adults a variety of activities in the industry, a great replacement to traditional sports, helping to encourage building confidence, whilst increasing strength and fitness! For adults, this alternative form of exercise could lead to discovering a new skill and further opportunities due to its connections with an entertainment agency.
“There wasn’t a place here for people to train or just to find out more about the circus. That is why I decided to start. In the first year we started with ten artists and today we have had over one hundred. We have grown massively!”
– Renato Pires, Principle, East Sussex School of Circus Arts
The diploma courses were carefully curated by Renato, with a 12-week intensive course that applicants can audition for. The school’s didactic approach offers physical/technical training through physical preparation in styles and through artistic research, students will then present a final showcase at the end of each course to professionals in the industry.
Finding their balance
Renato was introduced to business manager Emily Wright from Locate East Sussex and was able to support him with the growth of the business. Locate East Sussex are a business support organisation that helps businesses based in East Sussex or those moving to East Sussex to grow. Assisting with advice, access to funding and finding commercial property, the service is fully funded by East Sussex County Council, the 5 District and Borough Councils and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) making it free to businesses.
One of the biggest problems Renato faced was helping his students access the school. Located behind Knockhatch Adventure Park along the Hailsham bypass, there is currently no nearby public transport that is easily accessible for his students to travel via. Emily assisted the East Sussex School of Circus Arts to with business support and access to grants through writing applications.
One of the grants that Renato applied for was the National Lottery Community Fund. This grant is given to organisations in the UK to help improve their communities. Gaining access to grants similar to this has meant that they were able to overcome a major hurdle – acquiring a Minibus which is able to pick up and drop off students that aren’t able to drive in order to attend classes and complete their courses! The grant also allows the school to invest in more equipment as well as support students and schools with circus workshops.
Renato also attended one of our free workshops on offer to gain confidence on adopting lean principles to improve business efficiency and financial performance.
“It has been an incredible journey working with Renato and his business. His passion about what he does and determination to continue the growth of the Circus School shines through. Locate East Sussex are proud to have had a part in the future of his success as well as what see first-hand what he is doing for the local community.”
– Emily Wright, Business Manager
Reach for the stars
The future of East Sussex School of Circus Arts is looking bright! When speaking to Renato, he shared some of his highlights including hosting the “Child of Sussex Awards 2023” for More Radio, the success of his students that have gone to work on the West End and cruise ships, as well as their TV appearance on Good Morning Britain, This Morning, Lorraine & Loose Woman to celebrate past winners of ITV competitions in the ‘Win Fest’ event!