As Arron posted a few weeks ago there was recently a Circus Open Space event in Bristol. Circomedia are now hosting an online forum to continue the discussion, so head over here: http://www.circomedia.com/circus-open-space/ to find out what the hot topics of discussion were and join in with the conversations.
I got quite excited by this conversation because it’s the main reason I became interested in circus. I love tricks.
I have a poor memory when it comes to names and other important details about artists but for some reason I remember tricks. I get annoyed when people dismiss this element in traditional circus, so many times I’ve heard the equivalent statement that contemporary circus ‘stays with you’, implying that an awesome trick doesn’t. Well it does for me. And here is (putting the ethics debate to one side) an awesome trick:
From an unknown circus on Nanwan Monkey Island situated in Lingshui County, South China’s Hainan Province (according to YouTube).
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.
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.
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.