Social Circus and A Case for Play

With Peter Duncan

The PlayfuLife Podcast with Peter Duncan

Peter Duncan, one of the founders of Circus Eruption in 1992, Peter is a playful soul, works all sorts and particularly loves working with 5 year olds and over 65 bringing fun and joy through Circus activities and games. He is now trainer of social circus trainers and makes a case for play.

Peter noticed that summer activities were all about freedom and looked for something that had a similar flavour for the winter and discovered (social) circus.

Circus activities are INCLUSIVE and PLAYFUL – there is a place for EVERYONE.

His motto “There are NO rules for these TOOLS” – allowing participants to find their own games and taking people from where they are to where they want to be.

This follows the idea of LOOSE PARTS. That helps open ended play and self discovery through play for all ages.

Circus is a vehicle to bring people together in a fun and healthy way.


Peter was part of a HUGE project to redesign town and city centres with “Playable Spaces”.

Play – Mental and Social Health – we are now in crisis and governments want to further reduce playtime in schools. They don’t realise the importance for balanced citizens. In the Playable Spaces project many planners, and administrators started to realise what they are doing by prioritising essentially just roads and shops (and small not really attractive play areas).

RISK BENEFIT ANALYSIS – Playengland study 2011 – often the benefits of play outweigh the risks! Much more on this in the talk and here:


– play changes how we see ourselves

Start where people are. “I can’t lose – I win of I LEARN” – this is hard for sporty people at first.

Playful book recommendation: “Whack on the side of the head” by Roger van Oech
Film: Miagro Beanfield War

Find Peter here:
Peter is also a part of “Circus Works” Umbrella for UK’s youth Circuses.

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