“Thank you so very much for including my child, this program broke through layers of anxiety, self-doubt, trauma, and isolation and brought out a side of him I hadn’t yet seen. Now, I see him planning performances, and engaging and, smiling. I am so grateful and I truly believe it was life-changing and possibly lifesaving.”-Parent
We are Western Canada’s leaders in Social Circus, a program offered at no charge to youth at risk. Social Circus is a global movement that engages circus arts, led by professionals, with youth at risk for social good. Past partners include Cirque du Soleil and currently, we are working with Cirkaskina. We have worked extensively with youth at risk in communities from Nunavut to Africa. We also have a strong presence in our own community. In 2016, Green Fools Theatre hosted a Social Circus camp for over 400 Syrian refugee children that had newly arrived in Calgary. Camps for inner-city youth saw a vast diversity of participants with refugees from 15 different countries represented. We work extensively with youth in Aboriginal communities.
Since our inception, Green Fools Theatre has been a creative force. We are a magnet for artists of all kinds. We attract actors, aerialists, clowns, musicians, writers, and more. Our collaborative ethos, creative engine, and fearless approach have made us a potent company with diverse audience appeal. In tandem with our education programs, our theatre work has been an evolving laboratory in which artists can create, learn from each other, and grow.
Summer 2021 Green Fools opened STUDIO G, a circus school and new home for Green Fools. Since then, we have been welcoming people of all ages into the bright and colorful space. We have expanded our offerings into Circus and Aerial classes for all ages. We have developed a weekly version of our social circus camp, allowing us to have a greater impact on the youth we support. Our goal is to help youth in need become productive and positive members of our community. This work can subvert the possibility of depression, suicide, gang association, or violence. Giving kids a chance makes all the difference in the world. Parents and class participants have had an enthusiastic response:
“Both of my children have high special needs and they absolutely thrived in this program. They made friends; they interacted with other kids; they showed leadership and compassion, and they were excited each and every week!” – Parent
As we take our award-winning theatre works and Social Circus Programs to young people all over the world, we see that the spark of creativity is in everyone. We have worked with youth from Africa to Nunavut desperate to find their place. At Green Fools, we aspire to make social circus a life-changing experience, engaging audiences from all walks of life, diverse cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. We create theatre and circus that aren’t always bound to a theatre. We bring it to the street, to communities, to schools. Our stilt walkers perform in hand-crafted masks and costumes, inspiring so many different people at festivals and events around the world. Our theatre shows have garnered awards and have toured internationally, shining a light on social issues and the enduring spirit of the human heart with our original stories and puppets. Our training opportunities have also earned acclaim and tour worldwide, offering programs in circus skills, puppetry, and mask for all levels.
The Green Fools believe that a positive arts experience can have a profound effect on an individual or community. It is often difficult to measure but when one experiences communities coming together for a common goal – it can be a catalyst for enormous change. The essence of our theatre shows and our social circus programs are an alternative intervention into the lives of young people who need to be inspired, encouraged, and given the opportunity to succeed. Our past experiences implementing social circus projects in remote communities have demonstrated to us that a simple belief in young people gives youth the motivation to believe in themselves. And with the valued support from the greater community, we can ensure our most vulnerable youth can and will continue to thrive well into the future.
Green Fools develops, creates, teaches, and promotes the arts of mask, puppetry, circus, clown, and physical theatre. We create socially empowering work with our theatre creations, we offer workshops to schools and community organizations, and we provide free Social Circus outreach programs for at-risk, indigenous, new immigrant, and refugee youth. We aspire to be a supportive, productive environment in which diverse children, artists, audiences, and participants can be inspired, grow, create, and evolve.
Green Fools Theatre aspires to be a central creative hub in which artists of diverse backgrounds come together to explore and intertwine circus, theatre, puppetry, mask, and physical theatre, manifesting creative works and training programs for the public and other artists. Green Fools aims to create theatre shows that tour internationally and garner local and international attention and reputation for artistic excellence. Green Fools aspires to be the ‘go to’ place for circus arts in Calgary. Children and professionals learn and grow at camps and workshops that build confidence, skills, self-esteem, and teamwork. We aim to make our social circus programs as accessible by providing free workshops to at-risk, indigenous, new immigrant and refugee youth. Fools aims to have a versatile venue that can house ongoing circus training camps, provide workshop, building, rehearsal and performance space for new theatre works and a vital creative center for Calgary youth, artists and groups.
As an organization, Green Fools Theatre is committed to ensuring that the actions of the company hold true to the following principles:
Community Outreach – We connect to the larger community through the work we create.
Original Creation – We develop all aspects of the creations we share: the play, the design, the materials, the artists, the instructors, etc.
Perseverance – Our focus is on long-range goals.
Preservation – We cultivate the arts of puppetry, mask, physical theatre, and clown.
Nurturing – We support so they can thrive.
Inclusive – We bring together diverse ideas, perspectives, and styles to create great work.
Inspiring – We inspire and are inspired by the people with whom we work.
Green Fools Theatre is a dynamic company that reaches thousands of people each year through events, performances, and workshops. Our theatre productions have garnered awards, acclaim and have toured internationally and our education programs have impacted the lives of thousands of vulnerable youth.
Established in 1991 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada; Green Fools Theatre creates interdisciplinary performances and teaches physical theatre arts programs focusing on masks, puppets, stilts, clown, and circus for diverse audiences locally and across the globe.
Under the leadership of Artistic Director Dean Bareham, approximately sixty dancers, visual artists, designers, writers, directors, musicians, puppeteers, actors, and street performers engage annually; performing, creating, and teaching interactive arts events, education programs, and productions. Green Fools Theatre reaches thousands of youth and audience members each year through theatre arts, as well as creative training opportunities.
Green Fools Theatre: where Circus, Art, and Theatre Play.
About Our Programs
-STUDIO G: Our new circus school and studio space. We offer circus and aerial classes for adults and children ages two and up. We also run camps, lessons, and training for our artists.
-Social Circus: working with disadvantaged kids to create positive change through circus arts.
-Stilt Walkers: our walking works of art entertain diverse audiences worldwide.
-Roving Artists: we create custom costumes and event entertainment, as well as provide host services.
-Shows: award winning, touring productions in mask, puppetry, music, clown or storytelling.
-Workshops: we provide intro or comprehensive education programming in schools & communities.
-Events: we event manage or provide entertainment or costumes for many events locally and beyond.
Number of People Impacted Last Five Years:
Workshops 12,109; Circus Camps 6,234; Social Circus 1069
Generous contributions from charitable foundations, granting bodies, and companies have enabled Green Fools to enjoy great success in the past 30 years. Multi-year relationships with Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Calgary Arts Development, as well as project support from Canada Council for the Arts, Calgary Foundation, Rozsa Foundation, Nickle Family Arts Foundation, Alberta Lottery, Cirque Du Soleil, and ATB Financial, are a few examples of highly successful community collaborations.
Green Fools outstanding artistic contribution to our city has been recognized by:
-Over 10 Betty Mitchell Award Nominations for our productions including for: Outstanding New Play, Outstanding Production of a Musical, -Outstanding Sound Design/ Composition & Outstanding Performance
-Winner of Betty Mitchell Award for Outstanding Sound Composition
-Winner Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Award for Outstanding Achievement in Theatre for Young Audiences
-Dean Bareham was awarded the ATB Financial Healing Through the Arts Award at the Mayors’ Luncheon
The Green Fools Theatre Society needs YOU!! We are always looking for new aspiring actors and performers for our festival Stilt Walking and Roving team. Other than performing there are many ways to get involved with the fools:
Donations - The Green Fools gratefully excepts donations to support our activities and day-to-day operational costs. Green Fools instructors have taught all across Northern Canada and as far away as Africa. Contact us today to learn how to bring the circus to your community! You can bring fun and laughter to your community! Click here to support Green Fools.
Volunteers - We can always use help from volunteers on a regular basis. From help with studio maintenance, assistance at events (ticket sales, door people, parade wranglers), to volunteers for our Casino Fundraisers and Cabarets, we gratefully accept any assistance from the public.
Board Members – We are always on the lookout for active energetic board members that would like to get behind this eclectic, multi-talented organization. We are looking for members who will be active participants in our Fundraising Campaigns, Board Governance, Long Term Strategic Plans, and Volunteer Organization. We would be a perfect fit for someone looking to join a fun, socially conscious, theatre organization.
“The Green Fools Theatre Troupe is an asset to the cultural landscape of Alberta and Canada. The training they provide for artists and the plays and social events they produce are unique and absolutely unparalleled. This creative juggernaut is ahead of their time and deserves all of the support they have earned from their community and funding partners.”
David Daley, University of Calgary