HLF: The Family La Bonche

We have been engaged by Heritage Lottery Fund to create a series of videos to promote their
#YoungRoots funding stream. You can read more about the programme on the HLF Young Roots web page.

Our filming strategy to create three different videos involves visiting a tiny fraction of the projects that are currently happening across the UK and our first stop was with The Family La
Bonche in Newcastle. They are a young circus group working with Circus Central who were just as excited about us coming as we were about getting to visit them:

This was the first time either of us had been to Newcastle and to say we were pleasantly surprised would be an understatement. The city is beautiful and the riverfront in particular is spectacular.

Newcastle

It manages to feel both large and compact all at the same time with culture round every corner. We spent a good couple of hours filming some location shots of this beautiful city before meeting up with the La Bonches around lunchtime. We walked in on trapeze acts, juggling, and uni-cycling.

LaBonche

It was a real pleasure to meet this group of young people, who really stretched the entire age range of the Young Roots age range 11-25. They are so passionate about their chosen discipline. They had endless energy to repeat tricks and seemed to enjoy impressing us as much as we enjoyed being stunned by their skills.

Lunch was delivered by unicycle, naturally, and juice was balanced on heads before we headed off to the wonderful Discovery Museum which is home to the Tyne and Wear Archives, the partner organisation the group had been working with.

Archives

They have been looking into the local archives of circus and fairground memorabilia collected by Arthur Fenwick, the son of a local businessman who had started Fenwicks department stores, after he had returned to the family business following a few years of having run off to the circus: something these young people could easily connect with. Their enthusiasm for circus was such that the archives could never have been boring to them but were instead a treasure trove of heritage and stories. These stories were pouring out of everyone and sadly we already know that very few can make it into our final films.

Once we had finished looking around the archives and learning about women who went shopping with their live pet crocodiles once upon a time in Newcastle (True Story) we juggled and stilt walked back to minibus and headed out to the countryside to a beautiful moor just outside the city limits which is the traditional home of visiting circuses and there we filmed some lovely shots of the young people engaging in their chosen skills. They never failed to impress and kept raising the bar so we got some fantastic footage and had a wonderful day with this family of entertainers who have an amazing Young Roots project and very bright futures.

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