Friday, November 9, 2018

Meet Mike Hirschbach, Circus Artist, Teacher, and Mentor - Our 75th Anniversary Scholarship Campaign

Mike Hirschbach, Circus Artist, Teacher, and Mentor.

Mike Hirschbach is introduced to us with an intriguing thump when he first appears on our 75th anniversary scholarship campaign video. He’s preparing his training space for circus arts students. 

Mike Hirschbach prepares for students at Halifax Circus.
Mike has been performing for 35 years. He received a Talent Trust scholarship in 1984 to assist his studies in circus arts.

He studied physical theatre and circus in California, New York, and Montreal, then traveled to Paris to spend two years at the École Internationale de Theatre with the legendary Jacques Lecoq. 

He then toured his solo theatrical-circus shows across Canada, the U.S., Europe, Asia, and India. He performed at the Calgary Olympic Games, the International Mime Festival in Montreal, and the International Clown Festival in Mumbai and Goa, India.

Mike Hirschbach at work.
Mike Hirschbach at work as a circus arts teacher.
From 2001-05 Mike worked with Cirque du Soleil, first performing for two years in their touring show “Dralion”, from 2001-03. 

He then became a Master Trainer with the Cirque’s social outreach program, Cirque du Monde, which promotes circus arts as an intervention with at-risk youth. The approach is called social circus.

Mike traveled the world from 2003-05, training the trainers in the existing Cirque du Monde programs, upgrading their circus, social and teaching skills in Orlando, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, South Africa and Burkina Faso. 

While the Talent Trust doesn’t provide scholarships for teacher training in the arts, a number of our scholarship recipients have become teachers as well as mentors, often as they continue their careers as practicing artists.

Mike Hirschbach practicing juggling skills with a student.
Since 2005 Mike has served as Artistic Director and Head of Juggling/Circus at Halifax Circus, and director of the outreach programs of Circus Circle, which is based on the Cirque du Monde program. 

Circus Circle is the oldest social circus program in Canada outside of Quebec, where the movement started.

He takes his show Uncle Podger’s Hat, a grown-up view of a childhood mentor (Mike’s eccentric uncle), to venues that include Ship’s Company Theatre in Parrsboro, Nova Scotia, and the Halifax Fringe Festival. 

In 2017 he worked with the Nova Scotia Public Library system to bring “Secrets of the Circus”, an introduction to juggling, unicycling, balance work and more, to kids around Nova Scotia, performing 71 shows in public libraries across the province.

We’d like to thank Mike and his students for allowing Filet Production Services into their space, and for helping to make our 75th anniversary scholarship campaign video possible.

Want to be part of the campaign to double Talent Trust scholarship funds? Click here to donate. And thank you!

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