Peter is contracted to being the main administrator of PWB and PWB-UK. He is also the inventor and main promoter of the the FAB500 and responsible for PWB fundraising activities.
He has an MSc in Petroleum Geophysics and a PhD in Philosophy and ran his own freelance circus entertainment business and agency for 10 years. He was the main organiser for the 2007 British Juggling Convention which hosted over 1000 professional and hobbyists from around the world for 5 days; including a 24hr practice hall, a parade through Nottingham and an International Gala Show at the Royal Concert Hall seating over 2000 people.
Peter also runs circus workshops for disadvantaged kids and is based in Liverpool in NW England.
Experienced youth circus, aerial teacher and accredited rigger.
Tour Manager; 2017- Present
As a child Abi liked prancing around, she really wanted to do it all her life. Her love of movement began with learning classical dance. After joining Cambridge Community Circus in 2008 to join others who also liked climbing things and waving things about she was hooked, from hobbyist to active member of the committee, facilitating regular adult and youth circus classes. After learning from everyone she came across; juggling, fire spinning, aerial acrobatics, and performing at every opportunity, festivals, conventions, and then to spending 3 years touring with a big top show.
Abi loves sharing playfulness with people- it was inevitable that she would teach, invited to teach nationally and internationally for a wide range of ages, abilities and skill levels, volunteering with PWB for her first India Tour in 2013 she went on to lead a tour in 2014, create her own tour of Kenya in 2015 and successfully leading tours there in 2016, 2017, 2018 and up coming 2019 tour. In 2017 she took on the Tour Manager role to oversee the PWB international tours, managing the teams, projects and coordinators throughout the year.
After now over 10 years experience in social circus projects Abi is committed to sourcing ethical and sustainable projects and work to adapt projects to the needs of the venerable. Within her Kenya Tour she included sessions in children’s hospitals, prisons and incorporated a national circus training school to try to work alongside other circus cultures.
Abi has traveled extensively in her work most recently in projects in South Africa to build a social circus project in Johannesburg and America teaching and in professional training programs. Abi’s passion is to share smiles and the wonders of human abilities with the world.
In April 2018 Peter was contracted by the PWB board to see if PWB-UK (PUK) operations were feasible. He is now the main national promoter of PUK and regional manager of PUK-NW.
He has an MSc in Petroleum Geophysics and a PhD in Philosophy and ran his own freelance circus entertainment business for 10 years. He was the main organiser for the 2007 British Juggling Convention which hosted over 1000 professional and hobbyists from around the world for 5 days; including a 24hr practice hall, a parade through Nottingham and an International Gala Show at the Royal Concert Hall seating over 2000 people.
He was also the Tour Coordinator for the single successful Sierra Leone tour that occurred before the Ebola crisis in 2015. This picture is him wearing traditional Sierra Leone dance troupe costumes. Pete was born in west Sierra Leone in Segbwema.
Jamie Moore is an international Social Arts Facilitator. He’s been working in the disability sector for 11 years and has been immersed in the circus community for 14 years. With a BA in Community Theatre from East 15 Acting School he received comprehensive social arts facilitation training, specialising in circus and intellectual disability. Having also attended a Holistic Circus Therapy course it is his firm belief that circus is for all.
Jamie has performed and taught internationally for five circus schools, Auckland University, many disability centres, festivals, events and circus conventions around the world. He was also was the research assistant for the poi clinical trials in NZ (see below for links), and he is planning to contribute to the circademics field with a similar study for young people with intellectual disabilities. Jamie now lives in NW London and is the PWB-UK Manger for the South of England. His passion, positivity and patience yields excellent results from his students.
My name is William Borrell, I am a 27 year old circus performer and educator. I graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 2013 with a business degree and 5 years experience in Juggling and Fire performing. In 2014 I joined the Commonwealth Youth Circus and toured around Scotland with the Queen’s Baton Relay and began my journey in the Circus world. In 2015 I participated in a circus teacher training program with the European Youth Circus Organisation; as part of that I was a lead tutor for ArtCore Circus in Edinburgh and the Alba Youth Circus.
In 2017 I completed a BTEC course in Circus and Performance Arts wit Circus Central in Newcastle, specialising in Jugging and Acrobatics while also being heavily inspired by clowning and physical theatre.
In 2018 I volunteered with Performers Without Borders and went on a teaching and performing tour to Nicaragua to play and share the many benefits of circus. I have many years’ experience performing at cabarets, parties, festivals and other events entertaining wide ranges of audiences with theatrical circus and fire performances. I am driven to learn, create, perform, and share play and positive experiences; I believe in health, education, and healing, and that circus and performance can help create positive habits and enforce creativity, persistence, and confidence which is why am so passionate about involving as many people as possible with the powerful positivity of circus!
Rob has been involved in Circus as a performer, teacher and producer for the past 20 years including stints with some of the foremost social circus projects in the UK. A PWB tour veteran (India 09, Nica 13) and founder of the Nicaragua project, Rob has been focussing on family life in Scotland with three young children, a farm and a circus to keep him occupied. He also works with Play Festival – one of the UK’s largest circus festivals – and Beltane Fire Society, creators of Scotland’s largest Celtic community festival.
Phyllis is a consultant fundraiser and is generously helping PWB out with advice on how to apply for trust funding. She lives in Scotland and is very nice.
I am Dan. A 28 year old circus performer from Swansea in Wales. I started doing circus skills (diabolo) at 8 years old as I had one as a birthday present, this helped me to overcome a disability with my co-ordination. When I was 12 I joined a charity, youth circus group where my love of circus developed and I started performing in circus shows and teaching other members skills. I joined a professional circus entertainments company when I was 14 and the rest is history. Now 14 years later I have acquired a performance level of skill in a multitude of different circus props, vast amounts of experience teaching circus to all abilities and I am eagerly anticipating my second tour to India with PWB on my 4th visit to India!
Mika (USA) joined the India tour as a volunteer in 2015. After learning to juggle in Hawaii in 2010, she thought to herself, “this COULD be a lifestyle and a sweet way to engage with communities as I travel!” She noticed while in Central America in 2011, the way to bridge language and cultures was simply by being a fun public presence which drew the children, the elders, some curious eyes. More often than not this led to heart warming connections. Magic! At this point when asked if she was a clown she would lift her chin and declare, “ I am a JUGGLER !” She had already solo juggled her way around India in 2012 and was exited to be a part of this PWB troupe by 2015 . On this tour, she realized, “ Oh! I AM a clown!” Inspired by the first couple months, on an off week of the tour, with two other Pwb volunteers, they did some outreach in Kathmandu at the New Hope Vision school. Connections with so many beautiful hearts, young and old, can truly nourish one’s soul. She then became the tour coordinator for the 2016 India tour and selected a rowdy talented bunch of fools to join her again through the shiny and pungent India. They began a new PWB project in Ahmedabad with Manav Sadhna at the Gandhi Ashram, and this has been in the tour since. Teaching and performing for thousands of children has been an incredible blessing and gift! To this day her PWB time remains a major life experience.
She currently lives on the Big Island of Hawaii and is a Horticultural Therapy Guide for troubled adolescents.
Tyler Spades is a fire circus ninja based out of Portland, Oregon, USA. He has taught workshops and performed around the world since 2007 and specialises in contact staff and juggling, but explores all props combined with theatrics and movement. His first social circus tour in 2013 with SPARK Circus inspired his love of working with kids and he has been a strong proponent of social circus ever since. Spades has toured with Performers Without Borders in India 2016, Kenya 2018 and is an advisor for the 2019 Kenya Tour and US ambassador for PWB.
When I was in my teens I remember seeing people passing fire clubs on a film and thinking it was sooooo cool! I taught myself to juggle and saved up to buy my first fire toys … Several years later I dabbled in aerial arts and become a keen hula hooper and have since qualified as a Hulafit Instructor… In 2017 while travelling in New Zealand I found myself managing the wonderful Jugglers Rest hostel in Picton for the summer. Meeting amazing performers on my travels reignited my love of juggling, diablo and poi and I’ve since played with handstands, dragon staff, and my newest love is the rope dart (thanks to workshops at Play festival by Gina, who is on the PWB India tour 2019).
Now back in the UK and working as a receptionist, It’s great to combine my love of all things circus and my day to day administration skills to help run the FAB500 campaign. I enjoy volunteering for PWB as I love the idea that teaching children circus skills is not only great fun for them but also helps to build confidence, team building, teach creativity and helps to overcome social barriers.
Jess Herman is a circus performer and a youth worker specialising in sexual health education. She is currently combining these two passions/careers into a Sexual Health Circus – an idea which was born on her first PWB Tour to Nicaragua in 2013. Jess was part of the PWB Kenya team in 2017 and returned to the UK to help set up PWB Calais which will have it’s third tour this Christmas. She is a firm believer in social circus and spreading smiles where they are really needed.
Chez has been described as an actor-musician-acrobat. She tours with theatre and circus companies internationally and locally.
Her heart is with community work she uses all sorts of tools to build connection and share play. She is associate artist with Wyldwood Arts running intergenerational and creative curriculum projects as well as a long standing choreographer for the Barnstorm Youth theatre projects and Invisible Youth Social Circus life skills project. Her work is centred around the body and finding ways to support the structure to support the self. Chez is also a trained Holistic Massage therapist and finds that our bodies hold stories that we can express through movement. More recent projects find her roots returning to the power of folk music as a vessel for sharing stories. Watch this space for a one woman band cycling through your town with some tales!
Chez believes in the power of what PWB does by means of sharing playfulness and holding a space for much needed educational engagement.
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Livi likes to eat copious amounts brussel sprouts that give her terrible wind, causing people to avoid her in public spaces. She is otherwise done quite a lot of PWB tours – she also doesn’t reply to emails requesting her to send her Bio.
Gina ‘Bazinga’ Disney was the tour coordinator for the India 2020 India. she’s a professional clown and performer from the UK, working in contemporary and traditional circuses for the last 8 years and who graduated from Circomedia in 2018.
She also took part in three tours in 2019, a week-long Calais project in November, a Flying Seagulls residency in Samos working with refugees over 10 days in December and the India 2019 tour Jan-Apri!
She’s now been working hard to help PWB fundraise, giving talks to current students at Circomedia and spending her free time doing our social media as well as engaging past present and future volunteers!
Shes also currently planning another India tour in 2021, which will support a legacy group of our students there from our longest-standing Partner Organisation. @Kashi_Fire_warriors
Jonny started studying his BSc in Development Studies in 2002, and recently graduated with an upper second class degree from the University of East London (UEL.) Whilst studying, Jonny was active within the University, acting as the class representative for the development studies group. This was followed by one year working with an emerging NGO, based at the university. Global Development Links was set up by students of UEL, and aimed to give all students an insight into the issues of Development today. Jonny’s role on the charity was that of fundraising coordinator, he also held a position on the management committee. Through this role Jonny was able to actively shape the NGO’s first year project; an I.T. supply an training program Northern Tanzania.
It was this program in Tanzania that gave Jonny his first experience of living and working in another country. The three month trip was filled with challenges and rewards that gave Jonny a great taste for living overseas. The next opportunity came at the end of his degree when he chose to spend 5 months living and studying in Varanasi, India, at the prestigious Benares Hindu University (BHU.) These 5 months, followed by 1 month traveling in Northern India, gave Jonny a real taste for living in India.
Jonny has been juggling since 2000, and he has been a regular at many of the juggling events held across the UK. As a performer he has worked in several different settings, from London nightclubs, to the streets of Scotland, and numerous places in between. It is through these events that Jonny first met up with Matt.
Whilst in Varanasi, Matt came to stay with Jonny at his home, it was here that the idea of Performers Without Borders (PWB) started taking shape. Both Matt and Jonny have a strong interest in the possibilities within Development, and having both worked for various actors within that sector. They decided it would be best to start a group focusing their two main skills together; juggling and Development, and PWB was born.
Currently Jonny is a Senior Manager with “the Challenge”, focusing primarily on large scale recruitment for Youth Work projects. He brings a wealth of knowledge of Safer Recruitment, as well as compliance and Safeguarding to the team.
My last 10 years I have been both, the founder and trustee of PWB, and worked in technology in the non-profit sector. To begin with PWB took up much more of my time and effort (and overseas travel). However, as family life has become more important to me, a lot of my time is working as consultant for Homeless Link, most of my effort is being a good husband/father, and most of my travel is the on the train to London.
Learning to perform made such a huge difference to my self confidence. Once I could make an audience go wow or laugh, then conducting a business meeting or presentation seemed like a breeze! That’s why I started PWB, and why I worked so hard to make it a success – to give other, less fortunate, young people the opportunity to find that same spirit inside themselves.
In my performer age I was a juggler, a clown, a balancer-on-things and a loud mouth. Best 3 shows where: in field near Assi Ghat, Varanasi, India, 2007; Chowrasta square, Darjeeling, India, 2010; and my grandmother’s 90th birthday party, 2013.
Emily Ball is a self employed circus performer and teacher and has been since 2006, though her love for circus started years before that – as a child winning tickets to see some tented circuses and as a young teenager reading an article about a social circus in South America, and how juggling had helped children combat their addictions and helped them make a future for themselves. She decided that circus was for her and after college went on to attend Circomedia (Centre for Contempory Circus and Physical Theatre), completeing both a one year diploma in circus arts and a one year teaching course.
In 2006 she was introduced by a mutual friend to Jonny and Matt, and their idea of Performers Without Borders. She took part in the first ever PWB tour in 2007/8 and since then has been heavily involved in the running of the organisation. She has completed 4 PWB tours – 2 in India and 2 in Nicaragua- as a facilitator and as a volunteer. She also toured in Thailand with Spark! circus, another social circus based charity.
Using circus as a tool to help others is one of the reasons that Emily started doing circus in the first place – that article she read touched something for her that has stayed all these years and inspired her to continue working for the charity as a volunteer, latterly as a paid administrator for the charity. Being involved with PWB means very much to her and she is happy to resume a Trustee role having stepped back from the day to day managing.
Emily continues to work as an all round circus performer under the name Tilly Twist, with Circus Pazaz in the summer season and for various agencies over the winter months. She also occasionally enjoys activities that are not circus related, such as horse riding and dog walking, though her dream would be to be a trick rider with a dog that does circus tricks and twin baby goats that stand on top of tiny pedestals.
Since she graduated in 1995, Claire has spent since the majority of her career working across Africa, the Caribbean, and Middle East, for the UN and a number of large international non-government organisations. In her last role, Claire has been the Head of Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning for GOAL Ireland where she focused on improving data privacy for vulnerable populations through the use of technology. She holds an Masters in Medical Science and is a registered Nurse recently returning to the NHS to work.
Claire has previously been a technical lay member of the Isle of Man Government International Development Committee, is a long term committee member of the One World Centre, and after being a supporter of PWB for a number of years, has recently joined as a Trustee. Whilst working in Sierra Leone and Greece for Save the Children International, Claire has hosted a number of Clowns without Borders visits and a PWB Tour, and sees the huge benefits of reaching vulnerable children through the alternative medium of performing arts and creativity.
Liz Stones joined PWB as a Trustee in 2018 after many years of supporting the organisation and working in the international development sector. Liz has been involved in juggling and performance arts since discovering fire spinning at festivals in her youth, and has set up and supported performance clubs, societies and companies in the UK and overseas.
Professionally, Liz has around 15 years’ of professional experience leading research studies and evaluations for development and humanitarian interventions across the developing world, and also supports organisations with strategic development and organisational-level MEAL strategies. Liz currently works as an independent research and evaluation consultant for a wide range of NGOs, International Organisations and the private sector, including the Concern Worldwide, CARE International, GOAL, Integrity Action, Caritas, ICCO the GSMA and the European Commission, and frequently travels all across Africa to lead fieldwork and training.
Academically, Liz holds a BSc in Social Anthropology, an MA in Conflict Analysis and an MRes and PhD in Security Science, and regularly teaches international development for engineers, conflict prevention, participatory research methods and digital data collection to graduate students as an honorary lecturer at University College London.
Having taught juggling and balloon modelling to disadvantaged children across the developed and developing world, from scout groups in London to villagers in highland Madagascar, Liz supports the PWB mission to help disadvantaged children to learn new skills and gain confidence in the UK and overseas. She aims to support PWB to enhance our strategic and project-level MEAL and develop a robust evidence-base to showcase our achievements and impact and to enhance our ongoing learning and organisational development.
George Massey will join PWB in 2019 as a Trustee, after being introduced to the work of performance charities while working in Sierra Leone and seeing the PWB field tour there in 2014.
In his professional life George has a background in engineering and international development. After graduating with a BEng in Chemical Engineering and an MSc in Water and Waste Engineering in 2007, he initially worked for a civil engineering consultancy in the UK and then in Dubai. Learning the error of his ways, he made the switch to international development and emergency response work in 2011, and since then has been involved in several emergency contexts including Haiti, Sierra Leone and Iraq, with several shorter projects in various countries throughout the Middle East, Asia and Africa, usually focused on engineering project management, and more recently leading coordination between different organisations on large emergency responses.
In his most recent role with Plan International, George is responsible for managing a portfolio of projects focused on child protection and provision of education in emergency settings. He is also a member of the emergency rosters for the British Red Cross and Norwegian Church Aid.
In terms of performance and circus skills, George is highly skilled and often recommended as a key member of any audience. Having been involved in many community development and social engagement projects, George is keen to support PWB in development of project management and strategic plans and tools to increase engagement and impact of work in the communities, and to help build the profile of PWB amongst donors and other development actors.