From the beginning of 2020, I have had the pleasure of being part of a small and mighty social circus called TTYL. Created by aerial powerhouse Angola Murdoch of Lookup Theatre, the social circus addresses issues around mental health and wellness through the circus arts. Over their decade in action, I have worked with them in passing over the years: once for a bellydance workshop and the next donating a performance to their fundraising event. I’ve also worked with Angola on another show she produced years back at Second City where I may have been the only performer with my feet on the ground!
Fast forward to early 2020 and I joined the team as co-facilitator with Zita Nyarady, a multi-skilled theatre and circus artist. My role there is more about the social part than the circus part (though the group did teach me some new skills too!). Supporting the mental health of the artists as they learn new skills, crafts, co-create in community and build shows, has been a wonderful merging of my worlds. As both a movement artist and community mental health worker, I highly value the role of art in individual and community wellness and healing, and am so delighted to help facilitate that with TTYL.
In pre-COVID times, the group meets weekly to work together learning new circus arts and practicing on their chosen apparatus. The group is small and close, conversations around mental health and daily challenges are the norm and the amount of compassion and encouragement held collectively within the group is inspiring. The group had been building their next show and excited about all of the co-creations happening!
Once the pandemic hit, the group continued to meet remotely each week, and decided to move forward on a remote show –their first ever distance circus arts show! Of course there were some concessions to make without the access to all of their aerial apparatus!
But tonight we are SO excited to present the artists of TTYL in their first ever quarantine show, Covisions. See you at the circus!