After a solo trip to Bali in 2013 teaching juggling in an orphanage, Katie saw first hand how performing arts can be a huge benefit to children living in difficult situations as it helps them gain confidence, learn new skills and of course, have some fun! So Katie started searching for local charities that had the same ethos as herself and came across UK based charity Performers Without Borders. After lots of research, applications and training Katie went on a life changing trip to Sierra Leone at the start of 2014 with the charity and here the positive power of Circus was reinforced as she saw again how it can break down barriers, teach children new skills and form relationships whilst helping those in vulnerable situations learn the importance of self confidence, self worth and explore their potential.

It wasn't only about the circus though. The trip opened Katie's eyes to how performing arts can work as a brilliant medium to explore international development issues, promote cross cultural understanding and strengthen communities both locally and globally. It led to her Final Major Project at Circomedia being centred around West Africa with influences of storytelling, movement and music being taken from the people she met on her journey. Below are just a few snapshots of her time in Sierra Leone.

After a year completing her degree in Contemporary Circus and Physical Performance, Katie went on another volunteer trip with Performers Without Borders in January 2016, this time to Kenya in East Africa to again spread the positive power of performance through shows and workshops to children in need of an escape from their extremely difficult lives. The team was made up of 5 professional performers from across the world who are trained to create safe spaces for vulnerable children in developing countries to play, explore their potential and overcome social barriers in an accommodating, trustworthy and fun environment. During the 3 month trip the team were teaching and performing in slums, orphanages and schools across the country to promote the positive power of arts and as with Sierra Leone in 2014 a further aim was to explore international development issues, promote cross cultural understanding and strengthen communities both locally and globally. 

Katie's eyes continue to be opened to how poverty destroys peoples lives and how performance can be so 
beneficial in helping them make a start to making a brighter future along side more mainstream aid and development charities. She has come back from Kenya with a fire in her belly to continue using performing arts to spread messages at home and improve lives abroad.

Here are a few pictures from her time in Kenya.

Please go onto the 'Videos' page to see two videos from Katie's time in Kenya. 

If you would like more information about Performers Without Borders, please visit their website.

Katie has also been on tour with the incredible 'Flying Seagull Project', a company of clowns, musicians, performers and play specialists who spread love, light and laughter to hospitals, orphanages, deaf/blind schools, marginalised communities, refugee camps and slums around the world.

They believe that it is everyone – man, woman or child’s – right to put aside the cares of life and smile for a while. They work with varying groups across the world to help bring smiles and happiness to people, whether as Clown Doctors for children undergoing difficult medical treatments or through games, arts, music and crafts workshops and circus shows.

For more information about the Flying Seagull Project please visit www.theflyingseagullproject.com/