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It’s Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain this weekend and there are two UK acts taking part, perhaps a milestone for UK circus.

One part of me thinks the contest element is stupid, how and why does circus compete in any meaningful way? Why does this format still exist? Apples and organgutangs etc.

Another part of me recognises that the festival launches careers, it showcases amazing artists and it has a historical significance which has had a direct and indirect impact on me. Mark Robertson competed for goodness sake!


Demain always reminds me of Luke Wilson. I think back to Luke and Ilka competing as LukaLuka in 2003, the fist Circus Space alumni to reach a truly internationally respected circus platform with their own work.

Luke had a great story of meeting Francis Brunn at the festival. Francis asked to see his hands, saw they were all callused and broken and said, “Good”. Luke was immensely proud of that.

Luke returned to the festival stage in 2011, he got picked to be a volunteer for a pickpocket. It was slightly set up as Luke had been given objects specifically for the act. As Luke pointed out, he would never utilise a belt and braces at the same time, for obvious reasons.


I’m proud of the NCCA, it’s so excited to see artists go through the UK system and come out on a level on par with the rest of the world. LJ and Korri are a credit to the progress being made in UK circus and obviously they’ve also worked crazy hard to get into the festival.

Good luck to them both and the other artists involved in the festival.

I’ll be watching the live stream here:

http://concert.arte.tv/fr/38eme-festival-mondial-du-cirque-de-demain

Circus Hackathon

NOLA Hackathon 2011
NOLA Hackathon 2011 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been reading a bit about new ways technology is allowing people to collaborate, things like Google Drive, GitHub etc. It seems as usual circus has a bit of catching up to do!

In Wired a while ago I read an article about Hackathons and thought it would be great to see/take part/organise a circus equivalent. Hackathons are a chance for coders to meet up, work like crazy in small teams and produce a sketch version for a new service or product.

Earlier this year when I was in Montreal I spotted Impro Cirque, something quite close to my idea. Unfortunately I left before it took place but from video it looks pretty fun…

I’d love to see a more informal version done in the UK, perhaps no ‘public’ audience. No one gets paid- All it would need is some interested circus artists and some space (perhaps some pizza and beers at the end of it). Perhaps two days manic work and a fun showing at the end of it? Best team performance judged by a panel wins a years supply of Apple products (or not)?!

Just a thought….

Patfield on beauty

Juggler, rope walker and friend of mine Chris Patfield recently wrote this article for the Guardian:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/feb/19/beauty-of-highwire-walking

This bit reminded me of an older post I shared here

 It saddens me to see that this great discipline is increasingly rare in contemporary circus, which no longer invests as much in high-risk performances such as the highwire or trapeze.

Circus Futures

For those of you who may not be aware there’s a large (for UK standards) circus event happening at the end of November which could prove to be very interesting….

Circus futures is a showcase/conference taking place on the 30th of November and 1st of December in Bristol designed to bring policy makers, producers and artists together.

The event will consist of keynotes, showcases and panel decisions centring around,

“…the creation and distribution of contemporary circus work in this country and beyond.”

I shall be there, probably sharing my thoughts on Twitter as I go. Hopefully there will be more artists in attendance at the discussions than there were at circus open spaces earlier this year.

http://www.circusfutures.org/

Newcomershow Krystallpalast Varieté

Saw this on the Krystallpalast Facebook page and thought some of you may be interested in entering… good luck!

“XVIth Newcomershow from 6th to 8th July 2012 at the Krystallpalast Varieté Leipzig.

Attended by the Managers, Artistic Directors and Agents of all german Variety Theatres.
Contact for information and application forms available at u.jaeckle@krystallpalastvariete.de (Urs Jäckle)

Deadline for applications is the 3rd May 2012.”

Circus Open Space

Funny I should find myself writing this on a bus on my way home from Bristol after just reading Jessie’s blog post about the very same commute.

But I’m not on a national express coach, I’m on a bus kindly organised by Circus Space to take anyone who wanted to attend Open Spaces, an event at Circomedia.

It’s Circomedia’s 25th anniversary and as part of the celebrations they have organised a networking/conference event for people interested in the future of British circus.

I’m a little surprised at the lack of artists on the trip but unfortunately it coincides with the 3rd year show at Circus Space so I suspect that didn’t help numbers and the coach also left at 7:15. Us circus artists are a driven bunch but morning people we are not!

The day was run on the Open Space method hosted by Improbable. The over all title of the day was ‘Devoted & Disgruntled. What are we doing about circus in the UK?’. Anyone can suggest issues they want to be raised and set up their own conversation at a given time and place in the room. One can drift in and out of conversation as one please and interject if feeling inclined. You can read more about it here.

The intro to Circus Open Space

I suggested a topic about ‘Circus & The Internet’ which a handful of interested people came and listen to me rant and rave about the failing of circus to embrace the internet and the various free useful web tools available to circus artists (watch out for an essay on this in the near future). It was great to meet the brains behind Sideshow Magazine and hear of some future projects they have planned.

Overall I found the experience a little frustrating, it felt like the conversations didn’t produce any clear outcomes or future goals – an action plan. While I think it’s great that people interested in circus actually meet each other and share opinion, it’s all rather academic if there is no real change. You can easily share opinion in the comfort of your own home and be far more concise and clear. Solution takes longer to work out and benefits most from dynamic conversation. I’m not convinced the conversations I heard produced real steps that people could undertake.

It’s too early to tell if there will be any lasting positive change from today’s Circus Open Space but I really hope there are. I enjoyed meet new people and listening to other passionate people talk about circus.

Thanks to all those who came and contributed and special a thanks to Circus Space, Ciromedia and Improbable.

Funny I should find myself writing this on a bus on my way home from Bristol after just reading Jessie’s blog post about the very same commute.But I’m not on a national express coach, I’m on a bus kindly organised by Circus Space to take anyone who wanted to attend Open Spaces, an event at Circomedia. It’s CMs 25th anniversary and as part of the celebrations they have organised a networking event(?) for people interested in the future of British circus.

I’m a little surprised at the lack of artists on the trip but unfortunately it coincides with the 3rd year show at CS so I suspect that didn’t help numbers and the coach also left at 7:15. Us circus artists are a driven bunch but morning people we are not! BTECH?

The day was run on the Open Space method hosted by Improbable. The over all title of the day was ‘Devoted & Disgruntled. What are we doing about circus in the UK?’. Anyone can suggest issues they want to be raised and set up their own conversation at a given time and place in the room. One can drift in and out of conversation as one please and interject if feeling inclined. You can read more about it here.

I suggested a topic about ‘Circus & The Internet’ which a handful of people came and listen to me rant and rave about the failing of circus to embrace the internet and the various free useful web tools available to circus artists (watch out for an essay on this in the near future).

I found the experience a little frustrating, it felt like the conversations didn’t produce any clear outcomes or future goals – an action plan. While I think it’s great that people interested in circus actually meet each other and share opinion, it’s all rather academic if there is no real change. You can easily share opinion in the comfort of your own home and be far more concise and clear. Solution takes longer to work out and benefits most from dynamic conversation. I’m not convinced the conversations I heard were real steps that people could undertake.

It’s too early to tell if there will be any lasting positive change from today’s Circus Open Space but I really hope there are. I enjoyed meeting new people and listening to other passionate people talk about circus.

Thanks to all those who came and contributed and to Circus Space, Ciromedia and Improbable.