Final words on “As a Tiger in the Jungle” – and the future challenge for ChoraChori

Nepal performers Aman Tamang and Renu Ghalan in circus performanceBetween April and June 2019, contemporary circus show “As a Tiger in the Jungle” enjoyed a hugely successful tour of top venues across England and Wales, including the Glastonbury Festival. Nepalese performers Aman and Renu have now returned to Nepal but leave behind a powerful legacy of memorable performances and poignant messages.

Through “As a Tiger in the Jungle” Aman and Renu shared their experience of being trafficked from Nepal into slavery as “child performers”. See this previous blog post that gives the detail of this remarkable production. Between performances, they would take time out to give interviews on television and radio, ensuring that their message wasn’t confined only to those who attended the shows. Click on the image above to see their appearance on BBC Southeast during their visit to Brighton.

In May they laid on a special charity performance at Stratford Circus in London in support of ChoraChori’s Big Give summer appeal. Afterwards, ChoraChori Founder Philip Holmes addressed the audience in which he reflected on his organisation’s previous rescue work of Philip Holmes, Founder ChoraChorihundreds of children, including Aman and Renu, and how the contemporary circus training had started out in 2011. Then he called for public support for the greater challenge that lies ahead, as ChoraChori tackles the burgeoning issue of child rape in Nepal. When you read press articles such as this one from last week’s Kathmandu Post, it brings sharply into focus just how much needs to be done – even in ensuring appropriate police management of survivors. You can see an extract of Philip’s speech by clicking on his image above.

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Former circus slaves on tour in the UK with “As a Tiger in the Jungle”

Ali with the kidsA very special circus tour

Former circus slaves Aman and Renu are about to tour the UK with their poignant contemporary circus show “As a Tiger in the Jungle”. The dynamic Ali Williams (pictured left) is hosting them and clearly catering for their every need.

Nepali child slaves inside Indian circuses

Aman and Renu are but two of hundreds of trafficked Nepali children who were trapped in a life of slavery and exploitation as “performers” inside Indian circuses. ChoraChori team members Philip Holmes, Shailaja CM, Rita Mokhtan and Bhaskar Karki were involved in securing their freedom through dangerous rescue operations launched in conjunction with the Indian and Nepali authorities. Aman was one of the first five children to be freed in January 2004. Philip and Shailaja freed Renu from the misery of the Raj Mahal Circus in June 2008. At the time of their rescue Aman and Renu couldn’t have guessed what lay ahead for them.

circus slavesCircus Kathmandu

Most former circus slaves returned to their families after repatriation. However for many it was just too dangerous to return them for the risk of re-trafficking. Other education and training options had to be considered. One of these – and the most bizarre – was the creation of Circus Kathmandu. This was a contemporary circus group as opposed to the “traditional” style of the Indian circus. Circus Kathmandu gave young people the chance to enjoy the stardom that traffickers had promised them falsely. The group went on tour to Australia, Dubai, Norway and in 2014 played at the world-famous Glastonbury Festival in the UK.

As a Tiger in the Jungle

Ali Williams was a central figure in the development of Circus Kathmandu, spending a year in Kathmandu in 2013 as its Creative Director. After her return to UK Ali used her background at NoFitState Circus in Wales and professional contacts at Circus Xanti in Norway to create “As a Tiger in the Jungle”. This dazzling new show is due to tour in both Norway and UK in late 2017. Aman and Renu will perform alongside a Vietnamese performer, Loan Tp Hoang, in a very poignant show. Through the medium of contemporary circus they will recount tales of lost childhood (the tiger is a metaphor for the trafficker) and their ultimate triumph over tragedy.

UK tour dates

If you are in UK don’t miss the chance to see the show at one of the following venues:

20th September   The Black-E Liverpool

22nd/23rd September   Birmingham Repertory Theatre

8th October   Pontio, Bangor, Wales

10th/11th October   Jacksons Lane, Highgate, London

15th/16th October   Circomedia Bristol

24th/25th October   WMC, Cardiff

At the official UK premiere on the 22nd September Philip Holmes will be bursting with pride in the audience!

 

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