Anthrow Circus

My Neighbors from Myanmar Taught Me to Receive

STORY BY HEATHER M. SURLS

PHOTOS BY HAWA IMAGES, USED BY PERMISSION OF WORLD RELIEF CHICAGOLAND

Years ago, a neighbor gave me a glossy 4×6-inch picture of Myanmar politician Aung San Suu Kyi backed by the red and yellow of the National League for Democracy’s flag. I no longer remember the giver’s identity—at that time my Burmese neighbors numbered in the hundreds—but since the country’s late-January military coup that imprisoned Suu Kyi and others, Myanmar (formerly Burma) has been on my mind.

When I reflect now, those three years among the Burmese were like bootcamp for me, a foundational, immersive course in relating to people different from me. At that time, I didn’t realize this would be a preparatory phase for longer-term work among refugees. I moved in with the idea that I would help them—I did not know how much my neighbors would shape me.

Walking Just Might Help You Meet Your Goals

INTERVIEW BY MIRTHE SMEETS
TRANSLATED TO ENGLISH BY SOPHIE VAN DEN AKKER

With winter’s arrival it has gotten colder, wetter, grayer, and gloomier outside. And yet, it is still wise to go outside—whether you’re a job seeker thinking that you should instead be sending out another application letter today or if you just have little energy. Walking coach Tini van de Wetering from Shofukan Coaching is convinced that everyone benefits from a daily walk.

Main Street in Flux: The Changing Face of Snohomish

STORY BY RICHARD PORTER
PHOTOS BY JAKE CAMPBELL

There’s a place in the popular American imagination called Main Street—a Norman Rockwell scene where the butcher, baker, and barber all hang out their signs and sweep their stoops, where emerald baseball fields are immaculately groomed, and where the town gathers on a Friday night to cheer the high school football team to victory. If this vision of the idyllic Main Street America is flawed, it’s because it’s based on a nostalgic vision of the past that rings dissonant when compared to the reality that many Americans face today, especially amidst a global pandemic: a shrinking economy, a housing crisis, outdated infrastructure, and political division.

Trauma-Informed Art-Making: An Interview

ARTICLE BY HEATHER M. SURLS
PHOTOS BY SARAH RACINE

Over the last decade Sarah Racine has worked internationally as a trauma-informed art-maker, helping a spectrum of individuals—from victims of human trafficking to refugees—find healing from trauma, abuse, and war. Though Racine calls Lancaster, Pennsylvania, “home” in the U.S., she recently relocated to Amman, Jordan, to study Arabic and explore options for working long-term in the region. Racine sat with Anthrow Circus’s Jordan correspondent, Heather Surls, to talk about her profession and how the arts can bring healing and hope to adults and children affected by trauma.

The Healing Found in Clowning Around

TEXT BY LORE CALDWELL
PHOTOGRAPHS BY ELLA MANN & RHIANNA MANN
MAKEUP ARTIST & MODEL – ELLA MANN

I was one of the ones who tried to run away and join the circus. It’s true. I got on the train to New York City with my army green backpack, which held some clothes, to be sure, but more importantly, it held my sketchbook and drawing pens. My dad ran onto the train as it pulled out of the station and thwarted my efforts. He calmly sat down next to me, and we rode the train into the city together. By the time we arrived, in his gentle way, he had helped me see that this was not the best plan.

View From a Pandemic: Europeans in America

TEXT BY IRENA DRAGAŠ JANSEN
PHOTOGRAPHS BY MANUELA THAMES

As I observe the global pandemic unfold from the comforts and safety of my Washington, D.C., metro area home, I am transported back to the basement shelters where my parents, sister, relatives, neighbors, and I hid from the daily deadly mortar attacks during the most recent war in Croatia.

Leave Only Bubbles

INTERVIEW BY MIRTHE SMEETS

Mirthe Smeets brings us a conversation with a passionate young tourism professional who helps us consider how our tourism can avoid consuming the very jewels we set out to enjoy and marvel over.

La dignité dans l’exil (Dignity in Exile)

STORY BY HÉLÈNE SCHWITZER-BORGIALLO
ENGLISH TRANSLATION BY KAMI L. RICE

French academic Hélène Schwitzer-Borgiallo reports for us this week on innovative projects undertaken by a duo of English playwrights who are bringing together groups of people who don’t normally get to meet each other.

Mettre sa créativité au service de la rencontre des cultures : voilà l’objectif du duo de dramaturges anglais dont nous parle cette semaine Hélène Schwitzer-Borgiallo, enseignante à l’Université Paris 8.