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Join the Rainforest Circus in the park

Cliff Gilker
Aerialists Keely Sills and Kira Schaffer will perform at this year’s Rainforest Circus.

Strolling in Cliff Gilker Park near Roberts Creek is a mellow experience at any time. With the return of the Rainforest Circus performing troupe to the Sunshine Coast on July 27 to 29, a walk in the park will turn into a mellow adventure titled Submerged. 

“We want the audience to submerge themselves,” said actor and member of the organizing team Chad Hershler, “and join the performers on a journey underwater in an ocean of forest.” 

Those who remember the very popular Rainforest Circus shows that took place for six years until 2015 will know that it’s a multi-discipline theatre in the woods. The audience follows a guide – in this case two clowns – on an imagined ocean journey where they will see aerial acrobatics in the trees from professional circus performers and hear the music of violin, clarinet or accordion that gives a gypsy feel to the soundscape. They will meet with actors, story-tellers and dancers on their one-hour walking journey. 

The performers are all ages, from children to adults, and this season the Rainforest Circus is doing what its originators at Deer Crossing, the Art Farm, like to do: they are incorporating the community. 

“We invited those who are not professional artists, at least not career artists,” Hershler said, “but they may have some talent that they haven’t used for a few years.” Nine adults from the Sunshine Coast will join the professional troupe in this production. At their last performance they added children to the mix of performers. “It made the show richer and more dynamic,” Hershler said. 

The box office at the parking lot by the sports fields and playground is where audience will assemble to be led along Cliff Gilker’s yellow and red trails that will be closed for other visitors during the shows.

Here’s the catch: there will be no parking on site. The Circus has arranged for parking at Roberts Creek Elementary School where a shuttle bus will take you to the park. (Book the free shuttle bus online at Other options are parking on B&K logging road and walking through a trail to the box office or taking the highway bus and walking from the bus stop. Leave your flip-flops at home along with your dog. Wear sensible shoes, and children are welcome. The trail is not quite stroller or walker accessible so may give difficulty to some audience members. Refreshments will be available at the site. Before and after the shows, Indigenous knowledge carriers will talk about the Sechelt (shíshálh) and Squamish (skwxwú7mesh) nation lands since the park straddles the boundary of traditional territories. 

Friday, July 27 is already sold out. Saturday, July 28 offers three shows at noon, 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday, July 29 has two shows at noon and 2:30 p.m. Tickets for adults are $20, youth and seniors $15 and children under 12 are $10 and are available at or at where you can find interesting history of the Circus and its origins.