‘Night Circus’ extravaganza to raise funds for hospice

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Dunedin fire dancer Josh Smith (front), of Dunedin Ninja Training, demonstrates a "fire sword" for Otago Community Hospice Night Circus event organisers (from left) hospice fundraising co-ordinator Amy Ruthven, chief executive Ginny Green, Dunedin Casino front of house manager Nikki Pulham and food and beverage manager Clare Bulmer. PHOTO: BRENDA HARWOOD

The Otago Community Hospice will wrap up Hospice Awareness Week with a “Night Circus” extravaganza – complete with fire dancing, magic, music, and show girls.

The inaugural Night Circus, to be held on May 18 at the Otago Polytechnic Hub, is a major fundraiser for the hospice.

Otago Community Hospice chief executive Ginny Green said the Night Circus was born out of a “the good, the bad, and the ugly” debrief from the last Hospice gala event.

“We felt that we were swimming in a really crowded pool of black-tie dinner fundraising events.

“We wanted to create a point of difference, and to give our supporters a unique experience,” Ms Green said.

Hospice fundraising co-ordinator Amy Ruthven said there would 16 elements to the Night Circus entertainment, with “ringmaster” Mark Hadlow keeping things moving along.

As well as an array of circus-style performances, some cabaret and burlesque, there will also be music from local musician Amanda Goodwin, and well-known good-time band The Oxo Cubans.

“People who come along to the Night Circus should expect the unexpected – it is designed to be a night of surprises,” Ms Ruthven said.

Dunedin Casino has come on board as major sponsor, and will provide the street-style food for the event, while Otago Polytechnic and Gravity Events support it.

With the Dunedin Casino, Otago Polytechnic, and performers all donating their time and resources, every dollar raised through the Night Circus will go to the hospice.

Dunedin Casino general manager Karen Williams said the organisation was thrilled to be part of an event which supported the region’s vital hospice service.

“This event has come together beautifully, with our casino team being able to add a real flare and energy to the event, creating a true spectacle,” Ms Williams said.

The work of the Otago Community Hospice, which provides its services free of charge, will be highlighted throughout Hospice Awareness Week, May 13 to 19.

The hospice receives funding for 56% of its costs through the Southern DHB, with the rest covered by fundraising.

The fundraising target for the year ending June 30 is $2.5million.

Night Circus tickets are available online at eventfinda.