La Grainerie is a much admired institution in Toulouse, France that works in conjunction with the wider circus community to help circus artists make their dreams come true–whether that be to create their own show, to identify residencies for creation, to make props for the show or to coordinate their world tour. Part venue, part career counseling or facilitating service, it is an example of the kind of program that can develop with the support of arts funding and collaboration across many institutions. Director of International Relations, Jean Marc Broqua is a soft-spoken but enthusiastic champion of the complicated network of supports and projects that La Grainerie is currently involved in. I had the chance to speak with him last summer in Montreal about the artistic work he is part of as La Grainerie ‘accompanies’ their artists through the process of discovering how to succeed at their work.
Kim: Does Toulouse have a very active presence in the circus world? Jean-Marc: Yes, it is one of the most dynamic circus communities in France and Europe. In the region, we have about 500 professional artists. K: Do most of them train at La Grainerie? J: Not everybody because the region is large. Some people are three hundred kilometers away. There are 500 artists and 120-160 active companies. We have two important schools in the region. One preparatory school that is in Montpellier called Balthazar. Then another school which is one of the three most important schools in France is called Le Lido. They really specialize in forming the artists to be creators of their own shows. K: You mean they teach people how to fo...
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