Dea Birkett, ringmaster of Circus250 (the UK and Ireland-wide organization coordinating 250 years of circus in 2018) writes about the need for circus fans, and especially circus funders, to consider traditional circus and contemporary circus as arts of equal value to the public.
Earlier this month, London’s new Bridge Theatre announced its opening season for October 2017, including especially commissioned work from leading contemporary playwrights and a Shakespeare revival. It boasts of being an entirely new theatre built on a wholly commercial basis – the first in the capital since the 1930s. It is supported by venture capital and run by Nicholas Hytner, former director of the subsided National Theatre, and Nick Starr, previously executive director at the NT (alongside Hytner) and the Almeida. From taking the subsided theatre shilling, they’re shifting to making a few shillings.
This marvellous mash-up of subsidised and commercial is at the heart of much UK theatre. But in another area of performance – circus – there’s no such magical mixing. The gulf between two wings – commercial and subsidised, traditional and contemporary – is wide. And as a result, all circuses lose out.
Link to Full Article at The Stage.
Main Image: Compagnie XYs It's Not Yet Midnight at the Roundhouse, London. Is it really so different to more traditional shows such as Cirque Berserk (pictures below). Photo: David Levene