Are we moving? Maybe… but not yet

By on August 17, 2016

Much earlier this year, I perhaps prematurely announced our intention to relocate The Circus Spot to a bigger premises. It was very exciting. I even made a video about it. There’s been some hiccups. It’s not been a simple process. At this point the move is starting to look tenuous.

Since we first opened The Circus Spot in 2011, things have grown steadily and surely. Over the last few years our space at 204 Sussex Street has started feeling smaller. The last two years we’ve tweaked the schedule to suit demand and make best use of the space. I’ve trialed several ways to hang trapezes, enabling them to be swiftly pulled out of the way while 20 kids switch from learning aerials to practicing hula hooping.

Alas,  the physical limitations of the space can only be stretched so far. Without pushing the walls apart, we can’t offer our students all that we would hope for.

Finding a suitable building has been tough. You know that one time you got hooked on Ebay? We’ve all been there, when you knew that perfect french provincial bedside table is just waiting to be found? Or perhaps you were searching for that elusive vintage camera at just the right price? Well, I had that problem, but in my case the addiction was with 7m high warehouses in Pascoe Vale. It took almost 2 years to find a suitable space in nearby Essex Street (only 300m down the road).

Since finding the building in February, we embarked on a planning permit application process to allow us to run circus classes. A range of reports were commissioned detailing the limits of The Circus Spot’s impact on local traffic and noise. Despite the reports, a single nearby resident objected to the permit. Nonetheless, on assessment of our application, Moreland Council approved our permit.

Unfortunately, just as we were about to crack open the bubbly, the same single objector served us notice. We found out that they are taking the matter to court, as they believe The Circus Spot is going to negatively affect the area. This means that Moreland Council cannot issue the planning permit yet. So we are now in real estate limbo until the court date in February. (We are requesting an expedited process – the kicker is that expedited in court terms could still mean several months before we have a useful result).

What does this mean for The Circus Spot?

Luckily we can keep running circus classes at 204 Sussex Street as we have been for the past 6 years. However, if we do want to keep the dream of a larger space alive, we need to attend court procedures and argue our case. This means engaging town planners to help represent us. At the same time to secure the lease on the new space, we need to cover the rent. We’ve already been paying rent there for a couple of months (even though we can’t use the space!). In short, it’s a time consuming and costly venture.

Up till this point we have already sunk a lot of effort, hope and a substantial amount of money into this dream. And although both Free and I are really motivated to make it happen, we are fast running out of energy. We have almost exhausted the moving budget with the various legal costs. And of course, if you haven’t seen Free recently, we are expecting a baby any day now (hooray!!!… ummm… yeah our timing is never good).

What to do now?

At this stage we need all the support we can get. We need to show how the local community values what The Circus Spot brings. We are reaching out to you for your help. If you’ve ever told a friend about The Circus Spot, or recommended our classes to someone else, that’s what we need more of right now.

We would love it if you could write a letter, a few sentences or even just a few words supporting us. Any thoughts you have about the benefits of having The Circus Spot in our community would be perfect. We’ll be able to use these letters to support our case.

Just email your thoughts through to us here.

Thanks for reading this, and thank you for your continuing amazing support.

– Dan, Free and the whole team at The Circus Spot.

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Daniel is the Chief Executive Clown (i.e. founder and director) of The Circus Spot, with a vision that every child in Australia should be able to show off at least one circus trick! He’s slowly getting there too, having taught over 5,000 kids and adults circus skills over the last 10 years. He is a typical circus geek, always dreaming up new ways to teach a cartwheel, or plotting the next performance for our performing troupes. Prior to starting The Circus Spot, Daniel has worked in and around circus as a performer, teacher and rigger (the guy that hangs all the trapezes). His signature circus trick was balancing on one leg on a slackrope (like a tightrope, but very loose), and then proceeding to use his spare foot to kick cups and cutlery high in the air to land in a bowl balanced on his head! This cool trick may have taken 4 years to perfect, but gave Daniel a chance to perform with a variety of companies such as Circus Quirkus, ThowDown, Circus Oz, the traditional family circus Circus Royale, Dislocate Physical Theatre and even supporting the rock band The Dresden Dolls.