Langley’s Circus Lab school is struggling to stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing requirements that have forced it to shut its doors.
It has issued an appeal for financial support from the public, saying while the arts are not an essential service, they are what everyone turns to to get through difficult times.
Lab co-owner Jason Waugh said the school may be forced to make a temporary closure, permanent, if it can’t find enough revenue to keep going.
“Its definitely looking like that,” Waugh told the Langley Advance Times.
Waugh said the school is not eligible for programs that pay a portion of employee wages, because their instructors are contractors, and thus not eligible.
He is waiting to learn details of a recently-announced program that will help small businesses by paying a portion of their rent, if the landlord agrees to the terms.
“That would obviously be a huge help,” said Waugh, but he still doesn’t know if the school qualifies for that assistance.
“There’s a whole lot of wait and see,” he commented.
Waugh is also looking into what restrictions would apply if the dance studio is allowed to reopen, promising Circus Lab will follow them to the letter.
For seven years, the school has been training young performers in the acrobatic, dramatic style of circus performance similar to that of the legendary Cirque De Soliel.
Co-owner Svetlana Delous said the Circus Lab “has always been a place where children and youth have found a community where they can fit in, build confidence, and have a sturdy support system outside of school.”
“Now however, these kids are at risk of losing their favourite place,” Delous warned.
Circus Lab has been offering online classes and a Go Fund Me campaign it launched in April has raised nearly $7,000 dollars, but the school anticipates it will need to raise about $28,000 to cover rent, insurance and other operating expenses.
If the school goes under, “students and artists would be devastated to lose their beloved training space and place of inspiration,” Delous predicted.
“British Columbia would also lose a hub for emerging local circus artists, a place where young professionals could develop their skills before heading out onto the world stages. The students, parents, coaches and graduates are all asking for the public’s help in fundraising.”
The Circus Lab’s Go Fund Me campaign can be found at: https://www.gofundme.com/f/ysnbrj-save-the-circus-lab and information about a monthly contribution plan can be found at: