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‘Holy Kapow!’

27 September 2013

THAT is the name of his current team, although it might change if he is recommended for ordination. Even if Daryll Hackett does one day wear a clerical collar, which he hopes he will, he says that he will not be putting his tightrope away, as he wants to be able to incorporate his circus skills into his ministry.

He is currently a member of the congregation of St Margaret's, Frizinghall, in Bradford diocese, but performs all over the world. "As well as straight performances," he says, "we use circus, drama, and creative arts to inspire and provoke young people to look beyond themselves, and think about their faith, their environment, and the wider world.

"When you teach people these skills, it's a quick way to develop relationships, as you have to have eye contact, and trust the other person; and when I worked with youth offenders, it was a very effective way of bringing down the defensive barriers."

Although some performances, like their circus nativity, are overtly Christian, much of what they do is not directly evangelistic. "People might come up to me after a performance, and ask me what I'm about; so I can explain my motivation. But it's really just about giving a moment of joy, especially as many groups I work with have tough lives.

"I remember being on a Romanian building site, juggling with blocks and balancing beams on my chin, and it was the best thing to see these children - who have little in their lives - so expectant and happy."

He says that "sometimes, it feels right just to give a performance away, in which case I don't accept money. It's quite funny to see how confusing that can be for some people."

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