Mar 282015

Of the Big Apple Circus’ wonderful award-winning community programs, I am most directly involved with the Circus of the Senses. I’ve posted before about the very first Circus of the Senses in 1988 with Marty Glickman and Dave Jennings, as well as the Circus of the Senses events in Dulles the last two years, so you may have some idea of how much I care about this program. Barring any unforeseeable circumstances, I want to be behind the microphone at our Circus of the Senses events far into the future so that I can share in the audience’s delightful reactions.

Each Circus of the Senses performance is unique because of the different audience members. Everyone can have their own experience. This week I partnered with Robb Preskins, a doctor of delight from our Boston Children’s Hospital Clown Care Unit.

COS Boston - Paul and Robb

Robb Preskins and I at the commentators’ booth during Circus of the Senses

COS Boston - booth

The boys in action during the performance


COS Boston - not the blue dress

Olga Smirnov, courtesy of Smirnov Duo
this may have been the blue dress the girl was talking about

This past Thursday and Friday March 26 and 27 at the most recent Circus of the Senses in Boston (we did two), I heard about one particular interaction between an audience member and performer that illustrates the incredible potential of the program. After the performance, audience members are invited into the ring for a Touch Session. Visually-impaired children literally touch different elements of the show in order to widen their experience of the performance they have just heard described in great detail. These include a pony, the rola bola (which they actually try), the flying trapeze bar, a rabbit, the clowns bells, etc. During the Touch Session on Thursday, one girl exclaimed that after hearing the description of the Smirnov Duo’s quick change routine she wanted so much to have Olga’s blue costume as a party dress.

We had press coverage by NECN (check out their video below), the Boston Globe,, and Emerson College Television. It’s good to get the word out about this amazing program.

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