Cloud Nine: Leith's Pop-Up Community Circus

by Kat Borrowdale in Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Total raised £10,999

raised so far



We'll offer free community circus classes and shows to bring more fun, play and wellbeing to families, adults and teenagers in Edinburgh

by Kat Borrowdale in Edinburgh, United Kingdom

We're still collecting donations

On the 3rd June 2022 we'd raised £9,126 with 124 supporters in 28 days. But as every pound matters, we're continuing to collect donations from supporters.

 New stretch target

We will put on an additional weekly class, create a community mural and have more hours available for artists to train in our rehearsal studio.

What is Cloud Nine and Why Do We Need Your Help?

Early on this year, we were invited to join a community takeover of the old Debenhams unit at Ocean Terminal - creating a temporary home for circus in Leith for around 12 months. 

This is an incredible opportunity to bring the magic, creativity and playfulness of circus to people in Edinburgh, and we want to provide:

  • Free monthly shows and weekly workshops for families, teenagers and adults
  • A place for everyone in our community to discover and participate in social circus, to improve health, wellbeing and to make new connections
  • A place for circus artists to practice, collaborate, and create new work

Our team have put in lots of work already, removing old shop furniture, building cupboards and doors, fixing up the floors and painting the space to make it feel like home. We even have a name for the space: Cloud Nine!

BUT to make the most of this time we need financial assistance, so that we can make our circus home at Cloud Nine ready for workshops, provide specialist equipment and trainers for the free workshops we will put on, and keep the doors open for artists to train and create.

We need to raise £8,000, and with your help we can do it!

Who are we?

Think Circus is a small team of performers, facilitators and creators based in Leith, Scotland. We are brought together by a belief that playfulness, connection and quality are really important and have been collectively creating circus for over a decade. We perform and teach circus all over Scotland, specialising in hula hoops, juggling, stilt-walking and fire/light shows.

Since Think Circus CIC began in 2017, we have delivered workshops and shows across Scotland with over 4,000 participants. We love collaborating with local and national organisations. Our proudest achievement has been delivering our regular programmes to women, young people and families in Leith and Craigmillar.

The Wee Hub project is co-ordinated by THELMA (the Living Memory Association, who run Leith's Wee Museum of Memory).

Why Circus?

Social circus is an established model used all over the world. In practice it means friendly, community-based classes teaching easy, accessible skills like juggling, hula hoop, balancing and spinning. Social circus has been proven to have positive effects on physical literacy, overcoming fear of failure and resilience. See the Research.

We want to offer the benefits of social circus to our community by running regular events - these will be free for everyone. They will include:

  • Circus Community Jam - Thursday evenings
  • Open Community Circus Sessions (families) - Sundays 3-6pm
  • Open Community Circus Circus Sessions (adults) - Sunday 6-8pm
  • Monthly Showcase featuring members of our youth circus, professional performers and new/emerging artists
  • Teenagers Circus Workshops - Friday afternoons
  • Community Projects and Artistic Collaborations - we have lots of ideas and several exciting partnerships on the way!

With Edinburgh's longest running circus club, Tollcross State Circus, sadly having to close its doors in 2020, we will provide a space for community circus to thrive again.

We will also provide training space for established circus artists in our community to help them level up and create new work. Seeing high-quality circus in our showcases will inspire even more people to take part in the fun of circus!

What will the money you donate go to?

Our budget of £8,000 will cover:

  • Paint, materials, vinyl stickers and supplies for making our space safe, functional and circus-like
  • Curtains/rails to divide up the space (and make it more sound-proof)
  • Mats for teaching dance, acrobatics, stretching and floor-based movement
  • Roll out dance-floor for dedicated rehearsal space
  • A tightrope so we can teach this skill 
  • Facilitator fees for drop-in workshops (for 9 months)
  • Space manager fee for community workshops, jams and artist training sessions (for 9 months)
  • The cost of fulfilling Crowdfunder rewards

What will happen when the project is over?

At some point in the next 12-18 months, developers will be knocking down the building to turn it into housing. But don't worry, we have a plan to continue Cloud Nine as a Pop-Up Circus, appearing wherever people need more playfulness and fun - that's probably everywhere! In all seriousness, this project will help us prove the concept and show what is possible with a large dedicated space, supporting the future of circus in Edinburgh. Because we don't have long, it's even more important to get Cloud Nine up and running as quickly as possible so more people can benefit.

When are Workshops Happening?

Workshop rewards are flexible on dates and we will endeavour to arrange a time/date that works for each person who selects this reward. Unless otherwise specified workshops will take place at our space in Cloud Nine, in Ocean Terminal. Where we have dates for workshops these are outlined below:

Aerial Workshops with Freya - these are expected to take place on a weekend in September 2022.

Hula Hoop with Kat - this masterclass will take place on a Sunday between 12-3pm, in August or September.

Aerial Silks Course with Hania - this 4-week course will be available on multiple dates between 15th August - 15th November 2022. It will take place at Aerial Art House in Restalrig.

Clown with Gerry - this masterclass will take place on Thursday 16th June between 11.30am-5.30pm, at Cloud Nine. Please note that proof of negative LFT will be required.

Circus Voices with Moira - this workshop will take place on either 20th July or 27th July at Cloud Nine. Adults class (ages 13+) will be 6-8pm and Youth class (age 7-12) in the morning.


This project offered rewards

£20 or more

Write Your Name on Our Wall

Be a part of circus history and see your name on the wall every time you visit!

£15 or more

Be a Circus Superfan

Just the satisfaction of supporting a good thing!

£16 or more

Workshop: Circus Voices w/ Moira (Youth, age 7-11)

Circus Voices returns! After three years of silence Edinburgh's juggling choir is making its return and what better way to reignite than with some joyous singing and juggling! Come and experience the mystery and hilarity of a juggling choir. In a playful and fun 1.5hr workshop Moira will lead you through a series of group games and songs to master your 1 ball, 2 ball and maybe even 3 ball juggling whilst helping develop your singing voice.

£20 or more

Workshop: Circus Voices Taster w/ Moira (age 13+)

Circus Voices returns! After three years of silence Edinburgh's juggling choir is making its return and what better way to reignite than with some joyous singing and juggling! Come and experience the mystery and hilarity of a juggling choir. In a playful and fun 2hr workshop Moira will lead you through a series of group games and songs to master your 1 ball, 2 ball and maybe even 3 ball juggling whilst helping develop your singing voice.

£25 or more

Circus Themed Goodie Bag

A mysterious bag of circus joy, full of small surprises. Please note you need to be able to collect your bag from Ocean Terminal.

£28 or more

Think Circus T-Shirt

A limited edition Think Circus t-shirt! These t-shirts are loose fit and emerald green. Collection only from Cloud Nine (Ocean Terminal, Edinburgh)

£30 or more

Workshop: Juggle with Bob

Ever wanted to learn to juggle? Made it past a few throws but couldn’t figure out how to progress? Got the cascade, but you're not sure what to learn next? If the answer is yes to any of these, then you should come and juggle with Bob. This 2 hour class is open to ALL levels and will include: Tips and Tricks; games and exercises; tools to be creative; and of course, lots of throwing and catching!

£30 or more

Workshop: Fire Dancing with Iga

Learn how to use fire tools safely with the fabulous Iga! You will be able to do a few tricks with various fire toys by the end of the workshop. These moves are easily doable and a lot of fun, don't be afraid of trying yourself out with something new. This 90 minute workshop takes place on Monday 20th June at 6.30pm.

£35 or more

Aerial Hoop Workshop w/ Freya “Anything but Hands"

Open to all levels, we will focus on a series of hands-free hangs on aerial hoop including hocks hangs, elbow hangs, thigh hangs, and armpit hangs. Whether you’re trying these moves for the first time or wanting to challenge yourself with some bendy variations, our instructor Freya will cater to your needs. The 90-minute group session will also include some of Freya’s favourite active flexibility drills to help you really get into those poses!

£45 or more

Workshop: Movement and Manipulations with Bob

Bob may be a keen juggler, but his work also explores elements of dance, acrobatics, misdirection and clown. Open to all levels, and suitable for all prop types, this 3 hour workshop will introduce a variety of movement styles and creative approaches to object manipulation. Then look at how to include them in your juggling, hooping or spinning practice to create new tricks and sequences, and develop your sense for improvisation and play.

£45 or more

1-to-1 with Iain: Staff, Poi or Contact Ball

Boost your skills in staff spinning, poi, or contact juggling with friendly, experienced teacher and performer Iain Macdonald. These sessions can be held in Glasgow or Edinburgh and can be arranged for a time that suits you.

£55 or more

Beginners Hula Hoop Class w/ Kat (includes hoop)

Beginners Hula Hoop Intensive Masterclass. Learn all the foundational skills of hula hoop with our friendly, experienced tutor Kat, over this 2.5hr workshop, particularly suitable for dancers and physical performers. We'll cover waist hooping, throws, rolls, and hooping on body (chest, knees, hips, hands). Also includes a custom made hoop of your choice (either adult gym hoop or light polypro hoop) for you to keep.

£55 or more

Workshop: The Art of Play (Clown, Gerry Flanagan)

When we play, we are full of energy, alert and spontaneous. We look for playfulness in others and listen to creative impulses in ourselves. Develop the art of play in this day-long clowning masterclass with Gerry of Shifting Sands theatre. This workshop aims to help you be relaxed, simple and honest on stage, to take risks, and to have fun. Will be held on Thursday 16th June, 11.30-5.30pm, at Cloud Nine.

£60 or more

Workshop: Beginner Silks Course with Hania

Welcome to aerial arts, are you ready to get addicted? This 4-week course offers an excellent foundation in the silks basic techniques you’ll need to move to the next level. You will learn basic climbs, holds and locks, and build up strength to progress to more advanced moves. Don't worry about not being strong or flexible enough, we will work on conditioning and flexibility together throughout the class! Valid from August 15th - February 15th.

£100 or more

Circus Photoshoot for you and a friend

For two hours, you'll have unrestricted access to all of our weird and wonderful costumes. Live out your main character fantasy or treat your bestie with this circus themed photoshoot.

£100 or more

A Term of Acro Classes

Become an acrobat! One full term of acro classes with Craig Dagostino and Saya Yamaguchi. Open to all levels, the class runs on Tuesday evenings at Room to Move in Leith. More info see @leithacrobatics on Instagram.

£275 or more

Circus Birthday Party

A Circus Birthday Party brought to your event/party. You can have 20 children take part (including the birthday child) to enjoy a 1hr circus party featuring a short circus performance and workshops in hula hoop, juggling, diabolo, plate-spinning and more! Best suited to ages 5-8.

£1,000 or more

Deluxe Party Experience

Choose between fire performance, circus themed entertainment for your next party, full day of circus workshops or a private birthday party at Cloud Nine.

£35 or more

Aerial Rope Workshop w/ Freya: “Tailored Tangles"

Open to all levels, expect a sequence of moves building upon your strength and flexibility. We’ll email you a short survey before the workshop to get an understanding of your current level, as well as any particular rope interests you may have, and our instructor Freya will cook up a class plan specific to your needs. This 90-minute group session will also cover an active flexibility warm up and a whole load of gooey shoulder and wrist stretches.

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