Beginning as Vancouver Children’s Circus Society, CircusWest has grown significantly since its inception in 1984. Inspired by the Flying Fruit Fly’s performances at the 1984 Vancouver Children’s Festival, our small, non-profit circus school was born. For years, the Society operated out of a small East Vancouver gym, setting up and taking down the equipment daily. During that time, vast numbers of children attended the program, now called CirKids School of Circus Arts. As we reached capacity at the Khalsa Gym, a search went underway for a new home to house our growing programs.
In 2003, CirKids relocated to our current home at the PNE Garden Auditorium on the grounds of Hastings Park, where our programming has expanded to serve over 2000 members through classes, camps and workshops every year. The large open space, the fixed spectator seating, the character of the building and its’ location within Hastings Park have been hugely beneficial to CircusWest’s exponential growth in the past decade. These characteristics have allowed us to expand our classes, while providing space for our students to gain valuable experience through performances and workshops which would not otherwise be possible at any other space in Vancouver.
In 2008, CirKids was renamed once again to CircusWest Performing Arts Society to reflect a more diverse program offering and to consolidate all that CirKids did under a more dynamic brand. With support from the City of Vancouver and the PNE, CircusWest has flourished. Since moving to the Garden Auditorium, enrollment has grown steadily, as has our engagement in the Vancouver community through performances, workshops and community events. Now, not only do our students come from all over the lower mainland, you can see CircusWest perform throughout BC and our alumni performing with companies and on stages around the world.”