Review: The Contemporary Circus Handbook

Circus News

Review: The Contemporary Circus Handbook

Modern Vaudeville Press’s new book The Contemporary Circus Handbook, written by Eric Bates and edited by Kim Campbell with Benjamin Domask-Ruh and Thom Wall, argues that not every circus artist has to learn how to build a show the hard way. Bates’ writing style is not only educational, but also encouraging. He understands the complexity of creating a successful contemporary circus show and acknowledges the lack of existing instruction for artists on the administrative side of show creation. In short, this approachable, succinct, and well-researched guide to collaborative creation should be mandatory reading for every new circus artist who thinks, “I’ve got an idea for a stage show.”
About the Book After touring with 7 Fingers, performing with Cirque Éloize and Cirque du Soleil, and presenting an award-winning street show (among other impressive accolades), Eric Bates, along with his Cirque Barcode collaborators Alexandra Royer, Tristan Nielsen, and Eve Bigel, felt a desire to create a full-length, touring stage show. The problem? Circus performers are not always privy to the inner workings of funding, touring, and producing a show. As Bates explained it to me in an interview with him, “You really just see the tip of the iceberg in the creation room as an artist, and you don’t realize all the other stuff that’s happening behind the scenes.” So, Barcode had to learn how to do things the hard way. And after the difficult creation and production process for their first show, Sweat & Ink, Bates started to analyze the process of making a show more deeply. Barcode’s next production, Branché, would bring other creator...
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Morgan Anderson

Morgan is a PhD candidate in Theatre and Performance Studies at York University in Toronto, ON. She is also a hobbyist juggler and has performed at juggling festivals across North America. A long-standing member of Cirkus Syd’s international Circus Thinkers Platform, Morgan was a co-editor and chapter author for the group’s 2020 and 2022 Circus Thinkers publications, and co-presented/performed alongside Dawn Dreams at the 2021 Circus and Its Others conference. She is currently involved in Cirkus Syd’s Circosonic project which investigates where circus and sound intersect. When not writing, Morgan loves to run, train on the silks, and make videos for her YouTube channel: