Circus News

An Open Call–BETA CIRCUS Launches Two Year Project for EU Artists

Bruno Costa, co-director of Bùssola and co-organizer of LEME Contemporary Circus Festival in Ílhavo, Portugal, has reached out to CircusTalk to announce the open call for an exciting new two-year long project that he and colleagues have been developing called BETA CIRCUS co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union in partnership with Bússola (Portugal), Teatro Necessario (Italy), Ludifico (Serbia) and Rigas Cirks (Latvia).
Who: BETA CIRCUS is co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union in partnership with Bússola (Portugal), Teatro Necessario (Italy), Ludifico (Serbia) and Rigas Cirks (Latvia).

What: BETA CIRCUS project will select 12 participants for an international open call

The 2-year project will involve emerging artists training for new circus arts trends, focusing on new magic

When: Open call October 15-December 15, Project dates October 2020-July 2022

Where: Multiple locations--Portugal, Italy, Serbia, Latvia and live-streamed conferences.

Application link 

Tell me about the Beta project? What is its focus or purpose?

BETA CIRCUS is a European cooperation project that aims to address new trends in contemporary circus and to offset the lack of opportunities for artists to get trained at a high professional level. Also, it proposes moments for the audience to experience those new languages and concepts with live performances, especially in partner countries.

For 2 years, the project will highlight a specific new trend in contemporary circus aesthetics: illusionism and new magic.

It is a cooperation project that expects to develop a new European vision dedicated to the capacity building process for emerging contemporary circus artists looking for innovative works, trends and languages in Europe, with special focus on countries with a lack of high-level circus education and reduced recognition of the circus domain in the field of contemporary arts. 

BETA CIRCUS opens up an international programme to support the training of emerging professionals, based on transnational mobility for learning and gives them the opportunity to take a step forward, internationalizing their careers and introducing them to new aesthetics and techniques. For 2 years, the project will highlight a specific new trend in contemporary circus aesthetics: illusionism and new magic.

Audiences, programmers, and institutions will discover new trends in circus, illusionism and magic. With the sum of these activities, BETA CIRCUS aims to promote an international supporting circuit for the dissemination of these new tendencies in contemporary circus languages, promoting new artistic and research projects throughout a capacity-building process, increasing transnational cooperation and activities, based on the mobility of artists, professionals and partner teams, helping them to discover different realities, artists and audiences.

Can you define the four aspects of the project: train, feel, talk and try? Do these aspects mainly involve the circus practitioner or also the organizations that help produce circus?

BETA CIRCUS expects to touch different target groups with the full programme of the project. Even being a capacity building programme, the structure of the project makes it possible to involve  a large field of participants. In the first impact/session, 12 emerging artists, with multidisciplinary profiles will be selected to participate in the main programme. In addition, six extra ‘local’ participants will be selected in each hosting country of where the activities take place. With the other arms of BETA CIRCUS we expect to achieve connection also with other cultural professionals, current circuses and performing arts students, journalists, policymakers, as well the general audience for the public performances. The four aspects or “axes” of the project can explain, in short words, the main goals:

  • TRAIN: Includes training weeks (workshops and mentoring sessions) for a group of 12 artists selected by a European open call; in addition, in each country (Portugal, Italy, Latvia and Serbia) 6 extra local participants can join the workshop; 
  • FEEL: Public shows for a general audience, performed by the main trainers of each training session; these actions take place during the same dates as training weeks;
  • TALK: A large programme of talks for concrete groups and a specific alignment of conferences and seminars for a professional audience, with different goals and particular target-groups: in     Serbia with focus on public policies for circus arts – May 2021; in Italy, mostly focusing new trends for circus arts, especially new magic – November 2021; and in Portugal, at the end of the project, a full day to discuss what we learn from the project and concrete good practices – July 2022. 
  • TRY: At the end of the project there will be a final public exercise created and performed by the main group of 12 participants, presented in Latvia and Serbia.

More information about the dates of each activity are available at BETA CIRCUS website

Who is involved in planning the project?

The project was born from the idea to develop a strategy to connect countries without high-level circus education for testing new models for dissemination of new trends. Bússola (coordinator), Teatro Necessario, Ludifico and Rigas Cirks are the main project partners and get funding to make it happen from the European Union through the Creative Europe programme. Opening the European vision and with a goal to connect with more geographies in Europe some associated partners are or will be involved for specific parts of the project, including 23 Milhas (Portugal), Parma 2020+21 (Italy), ATER (Italy) and Novi Sad 2021 (Serbia).

Who should apply for the open call and what type of material will they need to submit? 

BETA CIRCUS training is open to participants with a broadband background in the artistic fields [magic, illusionism, circus, dance, theatre, visual arts, scenography, and others]. No age limit is defined, however, the participants should demonstrate strong motivation to develop something new or innovative in their artistic careers. Applications will be accepted from all the European Union countries, as well other countries currently eligible for Creative Europe Programme, including UK and candidate countries to the European Union.

The application can only be done through BETA CIRCUS website until 15th December 2020, by completing the specific form for that purpose. The questions include topics regarding the educational, artistic and professional background of the candidates, as well the motivations to take part on this project and the ability for international cooperation projects. 

BETA CIRCUS aims to address new trends in contemporary circus and to offset the lack of opportunities for artists to get trained at a high professional level.

BETA CIRCUS expects to select a distinguished group with 12 differentiated profiles responding to the criteria of emerging in the field of arts, including turning-points and motivations to change careers in the definition of “emerging”. The participants will be selected based on their education and professional background, balanced with their motivations to integrate the project and learn new skills. The selection will focus on the diversity of backgrounds, looking also for the specificities of an international project based on mobility, where the ability to work in big international teams should be a mandatory requirement. Age range, gender balance and European geography diversity will be also taken in consideration in the last phase of the selection methodology. 

How is LEME involved and what is LEME’s role in the project and hosting?

LEME has been organized since 2017, in partnership with Bússola and 23 Milhas focusing the strategic development of contemporary circus performance in Portugal, in close connection with the local circus schools. BETA CIRCUS is the perfect project to solidify the educational strategy of this project, and it also supports the audience engagement strategy. Based on that background and as both LEME co-organizers are connected to BETA CIRCUS, it makes sense that the training week scheduled in Portugal connects with the festival in 2021, creating a full week of plenty of activities, including workshops, talks, mentoring sessions, performances and special events for audience engagement. Supporting this special edition of the festival, new magic and circus education are the topics that will guide the professional discussions proposed for the third edition of CIRCUS FORUM (December 2021).

 What type of performances and publications will emerge from this project?

The project will highlight current performances and artists, taking advantage by then to promote a concrete and strategic capacity building programme for emerging artists on European level and a local audience engagement strategy in the partner countries. On the other hand, BETA CIRCUS aims to create opportunities and good practices for the international market. Looking for that purpose, the 12 main participants will be involved in a final public exercise, directed by a guest mentor, in order to test the learned skills and their abilities. Finally, BETA CIRCUS aims to discuss the strong and weak point of the developed strategy during and after the activities: all the conferences and seminars will result in a digital publication with the conclusions, supporting a final output of the project in two levels:

  1. A final publication/book, with focus on good practices on circus education by integrating new trends on artistic lines and circus technics; this book will focus professional audiences and researches, being also an advocacy document able to open connection with policymakers;
  2. A video documentary focusing the experience of the participants during the activities and their feelings and evolution during the different legs of the capacity building programme.

Both the book and the documentary will be presented and discussed during the final project conference in July of 2022.

Kim Campbell
Editor-in-Chief at CircusTalk.News, Writer -USA
Kim Campbell is the editor of CircusTalk News. They have written about circus for Spectacle magazine, Circus Now, Circus Promoters and were a resident for Circus Stories, Le Cirque Vu Par with En Piste in 2015 at the Montreal Completement Cirque Festival. They are the former editor of American Circus Educators magazine, as well as a staff writer for the web publication Third Coast Review, where they write about circus, theatre, arts and culture. Kim is a member of the American Theater Critics Association.
In 2019 as editor for CircusTalk News, Kim was on the jury at el Festival Iberoamericano de Circo (FIRCO) and presented the first CircusTalk Critic's Choice Award.
 

Kim Campbell

Kim Campbell is the editor of CircusTalk News. They have written about circus for Spectacle magazine, Circus Now, Circus Promoters and were a resident for Circus Stories, Le Cirque Vu Par with En Piste in 2015 at the Montreal Completement Cirque Festival. They are the former editor of American Circus Educators magazine, as well as a staff writer for the web publication Third Coast Review, where they write about circus, theatre, arts and culture. Kim is a member of the American Theater Critics Association. In 2019 as editor for CircusTalk News, Kim was on the jury at el Festival Iberoamericano de Circo (FIRCO) and presented the first CircusTalk Critic's Choice Award.