A Woking gymnastics club has become the first UK partner of the contemporary circus giant Cirque du Soleil to search for the next generation of performing stars.

Prime Acrobatics, based at Heather Farm in Horsell, has become only the sixth partner around the world of NexGen, the Cirque du Soleil talent development programme. The club will host a NexGen workshop at its new centre in Camberley with six days of training with a Cirque du Soleil coach.

Prime Acrobatics founder and director Chris Bowler was a head coach for Canada-based Cirque du Soleil, before setting up his club in 2012 and opening the Heather Farm gym four years later.

Chris Bowler, Prime Acrobatics founder and director
Chris Bowler, Prime Acrobatics founder and director (Prime Acrobatics)

Chris said: “This is an exciting chapter for us.

“Becoming a partner centre for Cirque du Soleil’s NexGen programme means we can support the elite end of acrobatics, and the company’s vision to detect and nurture talented athletes, who may wish to pursue a career in performing on stage.”

André Lachance, senior director of casting at Cirque du Soleil said: “With 3.6% of our artists coming from the UK, we were looking for a high-calibre, trusted partner to develop our NexGen workshops in this region.

“Prime Acrobatics appeared as a prime candidate, both with the opening of their new training and circus centre and with the experience of Chris Bowler with Cirque du Soleil.”

The workshop will take place from August 13-18 at Prime Acrobatic’s new premises at the Yorktown Business Park in Camberley to supplement its existing Heather Farm site which has more than 1,600 members and a waiting list.

Prime Acrobatics children's class
Prime Acrobatics runs classes for for all ages, from Fun4Baby to training for adults (Prime Acrobatics)

The new gym at Prova Court, formerly used as science laboratories, has nearly been completely fitted out and is expected to open next month.

A lengthy programme of works included removing two-thirds of the first floor to provide the necessary height for gym and acrobatic equipment, with the rest kept for offices, a viewing area and a studio, with a cafeteria which will be added later.

Sourcing the site and securing the change of use was achieved by Woking property consultancy Vail Williams.

 Vail Williams partner Charlie Nicholson, said: “Prime Acrobatics is a valued and progressive client with whom we have been working for some years, including acquiring extra units at Heather Farm to facilitate recent expansion there.

 “The search for a new unit was complex, but at Prova Court we found the perfect premises, also being in an excellent location for easy public access.”

Chris said: “Opening this new facility in Camberley will allow us to bring more opportunities to children, young people and adults to take part in our wonderful programmes.

“Our varied class programme includes traditional gymnastics activities as well as tramp wall, parkour, juggling, aerial silks, trapeze, tight wire, teeterboard, Chinese pole and more.

 “Our ethos is simple; to give more children and adults the opportunity to enjoy exercise and benefit from living a healthy lifestyle and to help them challenge themselves to reach their full physical potential within a safe and happy environment.”