Internationally acclaimed performer Karina Strong, of Nanaimo, has been entertaining audiences across Vancouver Island with her troupe, Vesta Fire Entertainment. Strong, a social worker trained as a professional circus artist, founded Vesta Fire two years ago as a way to share her knowledge of performance with others.

In 2012, Strong, her husband Kevin, and their two young children traveled to Thailand to volunteer with Spark Circus, an international collective of circus performers who provide entertainment for disadvantaged children refugee camps, migrant schools, hospitals, and orphanages along the Thai-Burmese border.

The Strong family spent two months teaching children the creative art of circus performance. Strong says that the experience was “amazing” and says that although she was initially worried about teaching with a language barrier she found that movement was an effective means of communication.

“[What] I was the most worried about going into the experience was how I was going to teach, and then it turned out to be one of the easiest parts,” says Strong of her teaching experience with Spark Circus. “We found that sound effects, body movement, and body language work sometimes even better than verbal language.”

On Sunday, Jan. 13, Strong and her family will be giving a multimedia presentation at the First Unitarian Fellowship of Nanaimo. The presentation will include personal photographs as well as performance videos from the Strong family’s mission in Thailand. They will be sharing stories of their experience working with children and bridging the language barrier through physical performance.

The presentation will take place as part of the regular Sunday service beginning at 11 a.m. in the Unitarian Hall at 595 Townsite Road.

For more information on Vesta Fire and Spark Circus, check out their websites at <>, and <>.