STAMFORD, Conn. – This summer, dozens of children from across Fairfield County experienced the joy of the big top in a whole new way – as performers.
Circus Camp at The Palace, in a partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of Stamford, recently brought the circus arts for the first time to the Yerwood Center in Stamford. The Palace Theatre provided scholarships to 33 children in grades 1-3, including many Boys & Girls Club members, through a grant from the First County Bank Foundation Inc.
“First County Bank Foundation is pleased to provide funding for a program that brings such joy to local children. What’s better than experiencing the fun of the circus while learning the skills that these big top professionals use when performing,” said Reyno Giallongo, chairman and CEO of First County Bank and President of First County Bank Foundation.
The camp was July 11-15 at The Palace and focused on teaching campers a number of hands-on, exciting skills – from juggling, acrobatics and plate spinning to rope twirling, physical comedy and classic slapstick. Campers worked closely with two professional circus artists and performers from the Big Apple Circus, Liz Bolick and Therese Schorn, to create original circus and clown routines.
“Non-profits function best when they collaborate,” said Palace Theatre Executive Director Michael Moran. “Arts Education is extremely important to The Palace. We see this opportunity to share Circus Camp with the Boys and Girls Club as a perfect example of how the arts can reach out to benefit our community.”
The Palace Theatre’s Arts Education programs are designed for thousands of area youth, ages 4-18, many of whom are from the community’s underserved population. These programs provide children and teens with the chance to express themselves creatively through music, dance, drama and play writing. Students also learn other skills important in academic and life success, such as confidence, problem-solving, teamwork, perseverance and focus.
“We value our partnership with The Palace Theatre as we strive to give all the children of Stamford opportunities to develop their talents and interests,” said Michael Cotela, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Stamford. “The Circus Camp was a fun way for our summer camp kids to improve motor skills, develop teamwork and improve their concentration level in a creative environment.”
The Palace Theatre, 61 Atlantic St., Stamford, is a 1,580-seat venue dedicated to performing arts of all genres – music, dance, theater and comedy. In addition to hosting world-renowned performers in each of those fields, it partners with arts organizations, like the Stamford Symphony and Connecticut Ballet for their performances. It is dedicated to providing entertainment that enriches the cultural, educational, economic and social life of the community.
The First County Bank Foundation, established in 2001, was created to distribute money annually to nonprofit organizations that support community and economic development for children and families.