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Living Dream Arts: From Vision to Impact

Before there was Living Dream Arts, there were two Bay Area organizations that shared the dream of creating a world with more art, more connection, and more laughter. The Dreamtime Circus and VAGABOOM! collided in 2010 in order to concentrate their efforts toward this shared vision. Now Dreamtime Circus and VAGABOOM! are the two key programs within Living Dream Arts. Here is some history of these two incredible programs. To date Living Dream Arts has worked in over 50 communities in the Bay Area and around the world, reaching thousands of lives and sparking millions of smiles.

2005 Dreamtime Circus is born

2006 Between Worlds Premieres

Expanded Version of Between Worlds Premiers
"Circus For Change" six-month  Tour  - India

In 2005, artist/activists Kara “Kfire” Voss and Chris Dunn traveled to Indonesia.  While there, they decided to choreograph a two person fire performance and put on free shows for the local communities.  The experience was transformative.  As the two travelers offered a piece of their hearts and creative energy, the ever-present dynamic of “western tourist and local host” began to erode.  Their gracious hosts invited the foreign performers into their homes, and this created an opportunity to build genuine cross-cultural relationships.  Inspired by this experience, the two travelers dreamed of an entire circus troupe traveling the world to spread circus joy; thus, the idea for the Dreamtime Circus was born.

October 14th, 2006 marked the debut performance of the Dreamtime Circus, a three-person theatrical fire show called Between Worlds was performed in a San Francisco alley as part of the Mission Arts Performance Project.  Dreamtime hoped the performance would generate interest in their idea to bring a circus troupe to India.  It worked.  In January 2007, about fifty people attended an introductory meeting about the tour.

In April 2007, Dreamtime expanded its Between Worlds show to raise funds for the trip to India.  The production grew from three performers and a couple of fire safeties to a cast and crew of over thirty people.

VAGABOOM! is Formed

Three visionary artists and teachers, Dee Kennedy, Marina Karadjieva and Martina Oskarsson, saw an increasing need for arts in local schools. They decided to bring their shared passion for teaching to create a character-building program based on experiential art.  VAGABOOM! was awarded the Proclamation of Honor for our community work, music innovation, by San Francisco Mayor Newsom in October 2007

On October 14th, 2007, the one year anniversary of its debut performance, the Dreamtime Circus performed a revised version of “Between Worlds” for an audience of 200 children in a remote village in Rajasthan, India.  This was the first of forty performances across India during Dreamtime’s "Circus for Change" tour for which we partnered with SWECHHA. Thirty-six volunteer performers and crew members joined the circus on this magical journey and took part in what can only be described as a dream come true.

VAGABOOM! Awarded Certificate of Honor by Mayor 
Dreamtime Circus Premiers Beyond Shadows

In recognition of the work of VAGABOOM! in the San Francisco community. By 2008 VAGABOOM! had successfully partnered with 6 organizations and held classes at the Children’s Art Festival, Project Homeless Connect, Boys and Girls Club and performed on the Children’s Stage at Power to the Peaceful Concert

VAGABOOM! Expands After School Programs

In 2009 VAGABOOM! provided after-school programs at Civicorps Elementary in Oakland and Sanchez Elementary in San Francisco and performed at Destination Fort Mason, providing family interactive circus programs every Saturday on the main stage.










Beyond Shadows was the second original full length production produced by the Dreamtime Circus. In "Beyond Shadows" the Dreamtime Circus returned to present a vision of a circus in crisis. Though brimming with talent, the performers cannot reach their true potential as they are hobbled by their various forms of negativity, sometimes with disastrous consequences. The circus finds perspective and redemption when the performers are transported to a mystical realm where they confront the shadows lurking within themselves. The story unfolds in an elaborate show of aerial acrobatics, juggling, contortion, hooping, clowning, video, and shadow dance set to a mix of original music and locally produced dubstep courtesy of Full Melt Records. All proceeds benefitted the Dreamtime South America tour, bringing free circus performance and workshops to communities throughout Peru. 

Three-month Peruvian Circus Tour
Expantion in Arts Education Programs 

VAGABOOM! began providing weekly after-school programming for youth at United Playaz clubhouse and music and provided a free 4 day Summer Camp for youth at United Playaz clubhouse. Additionally we began after-school programming at Ecole Berkeley.

Premier of The Case of D! & the Missing Dream

The fourth full length Dreamtime Circus production of was a twisted tale of corporate canniving in a world where not even dreams are safe from profit pillaging scoundrels. Featuring a cast of five this producition featured acrobatics, clowning, contortion, aerial performance, breakdancing, acrobalance and complex prop and costume design.

Further Growth of Arts Ed Programs Into Domestic Violence Shelters 

VAGABOOM! began free after school programs at SAVE in Fremont, CA, a shelter for women who are survivors of domestic violence.  We provided self defense classes for both kids and moms. In addition, free after-school drumming and circus programs also began at Riley Center, a shelter for women who are survivors of domestic violence. We continued our work with United Playaz and Ecole Berkeley.

Art Education Programs Expand Reach within Bay Area

This was more of a "mini-tour" compared to our six month journey in India and three month travels in Peru, but we packed in as much circus mayhem in two weeks as we possibly could! We offered free shows and circus workshops to Navajo and Hopi communities in Northern Arizona, a circus camp for under-served youth in Albuquerque, residents of a small town in Texas, autistic kids in Austin, and families in the 9th ward of New Orleans. 

Free Performances Expand in the Bay Area
Two-week U.S. Circus Tour

VAGABOOM! programs continued at SAVE, Riley Center Shelter and United Playaz. New classes began at Black Pine Circle, we facilitated a circus summer camp at El Cerrito Montessori in Berkeley, CA and provided free after-school programs in Oakland at Sister Me Home Safe House,  a shelter for survivors of domestic violence where we provided classes in Fine Art and circus arts.

Art Education Program Expansion Into New Schools and Sheters

After returning from tour, the performance troup continues to perform shows around the Bay Area offering coinciding workshops before or after each. Programs expanded to serve the elderly and several shows were put on at assisted living centers as well as in many of our traditional venues like Riley Center and the West Oakland Community Fellowship.

VAGABOOM! programs continued at Black Pine Circle, Riley Center Shelter and United Playaz. New after-school classes began at Benjamin Franklin Middle School, Hamilton Family Center and Family House, a home for children living with terminal illnesses and their parents. Additionally Living Dream Arts began providing 6 hours of weekly instruction to Lomita Park Elementary School's 250 students.

Living Dream Arts is Founded

With years of success and accomplishments Dreamtime Circus and VAGABOOM! unite as Living Dream Arts

In the schools and streets of Lima, orphanages in Cuzco, and jungle villages accessible only by boat, a circus came to town!  Our circus volunteers put on free shows and circus workshops for communities throughout the country. Dreamtime collaborated with several nonprofit organizations, schools and orphanages who greeted news of the tour with enthusiasm. The tour focused on 5 geographic regions: Lima, Chincha, Cuzco/Sacred Valley, Cajamarca and Pucalpa/Amazon Interior. Thousands witnessed the performances of "The Bus Show" and participated in workshops.

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