Portlanders run away and join the circus—without leaving town

THE NEIGHBORHOOD: The Pearl District

THE PLACE: The Circus Project began as a training company to help youth experiencing homelessness, but it now offers classes to both beginners and future pros.

Located inside a converted warehouse in the Pearl, the Circus Project is currently spearheading “The Voice Project”, a year-long program that allows local youth to design a circus arts performance centered around issues of social justice and civil rights.

The gym is taking donations for healthy lunches, reusable water bottles, athletic wear and bicycle helmets so participants can fully focus on preparing for the show.

FUN FACT: The Circus Project performances are all-human, but they do love getting visits from Mischa, Khaleesi and Ash, some of their staff and student’s cats and dogs. 

QUOTABLE: “People have this image of the traditional Ringling Bros. mentality — freaks and oddities and scary clowns— that’s not what we’re about.” — Kirsten Collins, executive director, the Circus Project

CHECK IT OUT: Learn about drop-in classes like “Circus Curious”  or sign up for an amateur series class like “Absolute Beginner Aerial”. Learn more about their Pathways Program that provides support for people who face barriers to arts participation.