The Circus Village - It takes a village to raise a circus.
The Circus Village is a response driven by a partnership of circus companies and individual artists to, in some small way, try to address the void of genuinely accessible professional development opportunities for UK circus artists.
The village will be a creative space; a living, learning, and working environment. A place for circus artists to explore what we do, what we can learn from each other, to try and test new ways of doing things – all whilst celebrating every aspect of the circus artform we share, together.
Borrowing from the Big Top touring culture we all know and love, the village site will house three circus tents and a varied programme of activity. We are especially interested in providing opportunities for mid-career artists with ambition to develop their practice, and artists from outside the mainstream.
The village site will be accessible and inclusive. It will be free to attend and travel and subsistence will be covered. Childcare and financial bursaries will also be available to those in need.
the circus village festival
13 - 16 April 2023
The Circus Village 2023 will have 3 main programme focuses available to the applicants, supported and encouraged by a professional creative team from across all reaches of the circus world.
Welsh Youth & Community Focus
As the hosting country for the village, the initial focus will be geared specifically towards young people and community participants within the Welsh Circus community and developing the needs and skills of those in it. This will involve a 3-day period for young people and organisations working with young people, followed by a second 3-day period for community participants and non-professional artists looking to develop technical, teaching and performance skills. There will be valuable opportunities throughout both periods for everyone to learn, develop, collaborate and grow. Elements of the programme will be delivered bilingually and there will be opportunity to create work in the Welsh language.
Who is it for?
This Welsh focus will be exclusively for Wales-based artists, community participants and group leaders or teachers regardless of skill or discipline. Young people must be no younger than 12 years of age, and people under the age of 18 must come as part of an organised group or with an appropriate guardian.
Applicants from outside Wales are welcome to apply to any of the other programme focuses. Professional applicants from Wales are also welcome to apply for any of the other programme focuses.
Teaching & Training
For both experienced teachers and trainers, as well as those wishing to transition into teaching, we will facilitate a sharing of knowledge and skills throughout the sector in an open and fun environment. Focussing on achieving best practice through tips, techniques and a range of masterclasses from specialists in different areas of circus teaching, there will be something for everybody. Alongside developing the technical skills, we will also explore ways of drawing out the artistry, working out how we can best create opportunities to inspire students and improve creativity in circus classes.
Special consideration will be given to exploring the issues around increasing diversity and inclusivity within our programmes, as well as how to adjust our focus when inspiring and engaging with young people.
Who is it for?
Experienced teachers and trainers and those wishing to transition into teaching.
Challenging Your Creative Practice & Professional Development
This is the substantial strand of the programme and an opportunity to energise and engage with our artistic selves. Working in small groups over 3 or 6-day intensive residencies with different directors and practitioners we will inspire ideas within ourselves and each other.
With provocateurs and facilitators from a wide range of different backgrounds with different skill sets, we will focus on the breadth of our performative and technical abilities. Outside of the timetabled sessions, there will be plenty of time built into each day to train together and try things out.
Challenging Your Creative Practice & Professional Development strands include:
- Choreography of the Circus Body (17-19 March)
- Residency with a Director (17-19 March; 20-22 March)
- Creative Rigging (20-22 March)
- Experimental Circus (20-22 March)
- Stage Craft & Performance (24-26 March)
- Developing Your Own Idea (24-26 March; 27-29 March)
- Performance Protest (31 March - 2 April)
- Working Outdoors (31 March - 2 April)
Who is it for?
Professional, established, emerging and mid-career performing circus artists and practitioners.
Why we have created the Welsh Circus Village
In 2021 - amidst a lockdown - the Welsh Circus sector wanted to reach out, listen, watch, and learn from each other, connect with our fellow circus friends, and open up conversations with those around the world who want to do the same. Our village became a supportive place where people can take risks and generate exciting ideas ready to launch into the wider world.
Everybody has a creative and social part to play here - with the aim of developing the Circus sector, ensuring its quality, longevity, and accessibility are crucial to the future of our art form; a future that depends on all of us.
In 2023, we will bring back the working Circus Village, and every one of us will share responsibility for our welfare, the art we make together, and the shared ideas that will bring new and impactful ways of working both home and abroad.
Who is The Circus Village for?
The village will be open to applicants based in Wales, Scotland and England - circus and cross-artform makers, artists, technicians, trainees, and to the curious creative collaborators of the future.
People from all backgrounds, cultures and a variety of abilities are warmly welcomed in the village. We welcome applications from people at any stage of their career; whether you’re a mid-career performer looking to carve a new niche, an emerging aerialist wanting to challenge yourself, or a professional juggler hoping to build new networks.
In 2021, there was not a person out there who wasn't able to find something new and, perhaps even more excitingly, bring something of theirs to the table.
the circus festival & residencies
Circus celebration kicking off the 2023 season: 13-16 April.
Immediately after this year's Circus Village, we are hoping to host a small number of residencies for companies already developing or reworking shows. This creative development opportunity would allow these companies to use the resources of the village to adapt their work for big-top spaces, to play with new ideas, or to get existing ideas show-ready. The whole village season will then end with a 3-day Circus Festival, showcasing work from Wales and the UK, including NoFit State's show SABOTAGE.
life in the circus village
What to expect
We ask that applicants to the village stay for a minimum of 3 days, and ideally 6 days to get the most out of your experience!
All normal Big Top touring facilities will be provided. Camping facilities or space to park your caravan are available on site and all meals will be provided for free as part of your stay. There will be showers and laundry facilities on-site too.
Support to access
We will be making every effort to ensure that the Circus Village programme is as accessible as possible and will make adjustments depending on the needs of the programme's participants. We can provide some accessible accommodation in the village. There will be step-free, level access across the site, and accessible toilets will be available. We can provide additional format documents and additional support as needed. The Circus Village team are available to discuss your access needs and how the village can provide you with what you need to take part. Please contact us if you have access support needs: email@example.com 07576 392025
Costs & available support
With the support from our funders, the Circus Village is completely free to attend. Travel costs and a small stipend towards expenses will be paid to all, and childcare is available. However, if you need additional financial support to be able to attend, please do get in touch to find out what’s possible as bursaries are available. Please contact our Project Manager, Bron, for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Circus Village team works part-time and will respond to your queries as soon as they can.
welsh steering group
Articulture, Citrus Arts, Elle Edwards, Ellis Grover, NoFit State Circus, Syrcas Cimera, Syrcas Byd Bychan, Upside Down Circus, Zoe Munn.
Articulation Arts, Circus Change Up, Cirque Bijou, Greentop Community Circus Centre, Crying Out Loud, Jackson's Lane, National Centre for Circus Arts, Ockham's Razor, Swansea Council, Take Art, Upswing