It’s a venue like no other! Make sure to add a trip to The Circus Project‘s Outdoor Domes to your summer bucket list.

Mara Rico rehearses at the Outdoor Domes. Credit: Stephanie Yao.

Classroom by day, performance venue by night, the Outdoor Domes at Zidell Yards are a delight to the eyes, even before the talented teachers and performers step onstage.

Everything about the venue feels right. Shouldn’t you feel a breeze on your face while you watch aerialists fly through the air? Doesn’t it make sense that the aerial tram soars through the skies in the background? The bright colors and shapes of the domes exude circus energy, no red and white stripes required.

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The Circus Project kicked off this summer season with Living Room Circus, an event showcasing a variety of performers, from students just beginning their circus journey to professionals who have trained and performed across the globe. The show was both awe-inspiring (I lost count of the audience gasps) and delightfully funny. The thread of teachability — audience members were strongly encouraged to give feedback on index cards — carried throughout the show. Even Jacki Ward Kehrwald, who has over a decade of experience and studied local performance traditions and methods in Mongolia, China, India, France and Canada, requested audience feedback. I think I wrote something akin to Wow. Just wow.

Credit: Mike Hauser

The show is aptly named. The family atmosphere was so infectious, I wanted to hug everyone after (I didn’t). Seeing the older mentors and coaches cheer on the young performers was absolutely heartwarming. The combination of multiple levels of training in one show also made me glad to have brought my nine-year-old. She literally saw the progression of hard work and dedication as each new, more seasoned performer took the stage. That said, the opening performance by student Jane was still a show-stopper. Be warned — as soon as I came home I took a peek at their classes and camps to see if we could manage to squeeze one in this summer. You’re likely to fall in love with The Circus Project yourself.

Credit: Mike Hauser

Most of their performances are pay-what-you-can, from $0-$20. The Outdoor Domes are located just south of Tilikum Crossing. We took the streetcar, but they are directly on bicycle, bus and light rail routes, too. If you get there early, stop by nearby Cha Cha Cha! for some delicious chips and guac before the show. We did, and we weren’t sorry.

Learn more about their camps and classes at their website TheCircusProject.org, and follow them on Instagram and Facebook to be the first to know about the next show coming to the Domes.

Meg Asby
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