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Lolly Jar Circus is the social circus centre of South Australia

”Social circus is an innovative social intervention approach based on the circus arts. It targets various at-risk groups living in precarious personal and social situations… the primary goal is not to learn the circus arts, but rather to assist with participants’ personal and social development by nurturing their self-esteem and trust in others, as well as by helping them to acquire social skills, become active citizens, express their creativity and realise their potential.”  (Cirque du Soleil)

Circus training is fun with important benefits

Lolly Jar Circus creates positive changes in the lives of young people.

How? In our regular classes, young people learn new and exciting skills including tumbling, trapeze and juggling. They improve their fitness, gross and fine motor skills. They face fears, practise and persist. They must respect the trainers, themselves, other participants and our equipment. They take turns, share and support each other. They achieve in a non-judgmental and supportive environment.

An inclusive body

Lolly Jar Circus is an INCLUSIVE ARTS BODY. It does what all arts bodies should do - opens its arms as wide as it can to as many participants as possible, including those with physical or intellectual disabilities or socially at risk. Our logo says it all. Our wonderfully diverse participants are the “Lollies” in the Lolly Jar - all different shapes, sizes, colours and tastes. The lid is off the jar because they bounce happily and confidently out of our classes to their families, schools, work-places and other social situations, taking the benefits with them. In our classes there are young people who are able and settled along with others who have physical or intellectual disabilities or who are socially at risk. There is an atmosphere of acceptance and respect. It works and our safety record is exemplary.

“My son learning to roll, wait in line, not be judged or removed for his excessive body movements and constant questioning, be proud of his achievements that aren't school-related, be treated as an equal member. There are so many magical moments that people take for granted but for us, the only place it occurs is at Lolly Jar Circus.”


Lolly Jar Circus was established in 2013 to provide a safe and happy place for all young people to enjoy circus fun together


Lolly Jar Circus founded by current Chief Executive Officer Judy Bowden as an inclusive circus school.

Classes commenced at the All Souls Church Hall in St Peters.

First performance at the Bunnings Kent Town Family Christmas Party.

First media appearance in Aspire Magazine with journalist Ashleigh Ebert and her brother, Port Power player, Brad Ebert.


Granted funding from the Department of Communities and Social Inclusion through Community Benefit SA to purchase gymnastic and manipulation equipment.

First fundraising event held in record breaking 47-degree heat.

Returned to the Bunnings Kent Town Family Christmas Party.

The Sidney Myer Fund (Poverty and Disadvantage Small Grants Program) funded performance preparation and costumes for our inaugural public performance at the Disability and Information Resource Centre Expo.


Featured on Channel 7 News Adelaide.

Benefit partner of Cirque du Soleil’s philanthropic arm Cirque du Monde for the Adelaide tour of “Totem”. Partnership included sale of 100 tickets as a fundraiser and hosting participants and their families at the dress rehearsal.

Received funding from Department of Communities and Social Inclusion through Community Benefit SA for volunteer and paid staff training with a presentation by Autism SA.


Sponsored by Perks Integrated Business Services which continues with in-kind support. Collaborated with Cirkidz to perform at the opening of Flinders Therapy House.

Participated in the Moon Lantern Festival and with participants Charlie and Angus featured in Eastern Courier Messenger.

Trainer Charlie Wilkins won the inaugural Australian Circus and Physical Theatre “Spirit of Circus” Award. Prize included a trip to Melbourne for flying trapeze workshops with Circus Oz.

Trainer Pennyanne Garner awarded the inaugural Lolly Jar Circus Deb Dawson Award for Outstanding Service.


Received funding from the Department of Communities and Social Inclusion through Community Benefits SA for the commencement of a pre-school aged class called “Little Lollies” and the purchase of a defibrillator.

Received a grant from the Sisters of Charity to provide 10 year-long scholarships for participants.

Belgian Beer Café sponsored participant Diezel and had an on-going program of discounted meals for Lolly Jar Circus.

Moved to newly built ARC Leisure Centre at Campbelltown.


Participants, families, trainers and volunteers took part in the Moon Lantern Festival.

Performed at the KYD-X Disability Expo with a “Spring” themed performance.

Performed at the annual Bunnings Mile End Family Christmas Party.

Volunteers Brianna Gourley, Susan Soleil and Rikki Wright jointly awarded the 2016 Lolly Jar Circus Deb Dawson Award for Outstanding Service.


The Advertiser featured Diezel and his trainer Jono in a double page spread.

Sisters of Charity renewed their scholarships for 10 participants, enabling some of our old friends to continue and some new friends to join.

Commenced classes at a second venue in the Windsor Gardens Community Hall. Participants Marley and Mya featured in the Messenger Press (state which one).

Participants Amelia, Marley and Mya featured in the Messenger Press (state which one) for the launch of National Youth Week.

Volunteer Susan featured in national story on Channel 9’s Today Extra show.

Received funding from the Department of Communities and Social Inclusion through Community Benefits SA for another volunteer training program.


Fundraising dinner at the National Wine Centre MC Alex Ward and speaker Paul Blackwell

Received funding from the Office for Recreation and Sport that enabled us to increase our reach and to plan for classes at Elizabeth.

Performed at KYD-X, the Christmas Party for Special Children at the Zoo and Celebration on the Square to mark International Day of People with Disability.

Lolly Jar Circus nominated and Judy awarded an International Day of People with Disability Playford Mayoral Award.

Treasurer Peter Featherston awarded the Deb Dawson Award for Outstanding Service in recognition of his 4 years of volunteer service.

Lolly Jar Circus became a registered as provider under the NDIS for Capacity Building - Innovative Community Participation - Increased Social and Community Participation


Commenced classes at Elizabeth and Glandore.

The Sidney Myer Foundation funded four scholarships for indigenous youth.

Received grant by the Universal Charitable Fund to fund two scholarships for young people with disabilities or at risk.

Received 2 Centenary Grants from the Commonwealth Bank of Australia branches at Campbelltown and the Burnside Village, voted by the bank staff, totaling $20,000.

The Sisters of Charity funded 15 scholarships for young people in difficult financial circumstances.

The Department for Human Services granted funds to purchase three iPads to help with administration.

November 28, Carclew announced a Project and Development Grant of $20,000 to run a series of classes in 2019 leading to a grand performance in November.

Secretary Alicia Genet awarded the Deb Dawson Award for Outstanding Service in recognition of her 5 years of volunteer service.


CEO Judy Bowden awarded a Premier’s Volunteer Certificate for her volunteer work with Lolly Jar Circus.

In June we held our inaugural Quiz Night fundraiser with MC entertainer Michael Mills and a 1920s theme.

Commenced our first funded performance class from a grant received from Carclew, giving us our first recognition as a performing Arts organisation.

Performed at the Inclusion Networking Expo



You can read here our policies on Child Protection here and our Safety Policy here.