Circus News

How to Make the Circus More Gay (And Why We Haven’t Already)–A Video Exploration

Eric McGill is a Canadian swinging trapeze artist based in the United Kingdom. In 2010, he graduated from the National Circus School (ENC)in Montreal. With his swinging trapeze and aerial straps acts he has worked in cabarets, big tented shows and large outdoor festivals around the world including Germany, Mexico, Australia, Canada, and the UK, and he just released a 20-minute video that cheerfully delves into the topic of how to make circus more gay.
LGBTQ circus
Circus artist Eric McGill

Why does he advocate for more representation and normalization of gay identities in circus acts and shows? “I’d say the reason I made this video was [because] for a long time I’ve been seeing opposite-sex duos using romance and courtship as a through-line for their acts and their shows, but hardly ever with same-sex duos, and I thought, why not? So I asked around.”

McGill further explains the impetus for his video project, “I have been working on a special video documentary talking about gay representation in the circus. Specifically, duo acts where the theme of romance is very prevalent in opposite-sex pairs, but is virtually non-existent when it comes to same-sex pairs. It’s a topic that I’ve been reflecting on for some time, and the video plays out as a visual podcast created from my own thoughts and a series of interviews I did with friends from different sectors of the industry. Included are artists from Cirque du Soleil, Casus, Chivaree Circus/Independent, and a teacher from the National Centre for Circus Arts in London.”
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“We talk about the creative process behind building romance into an act, and the challenges one faces when trying to represent gay romance on stage in a way that is both palatable and not too subtle to be read. Through four interviews … we discuss the trappings of certain cliches and how to work against them to create new interesting and diverse representations of human relationships on stage.”
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Now McGill is back to performing. He just started rehearsals for the summer season in the Hippodrome Great Yarmouth. It’s a classical/modern circus run out of a 120-year-old circus theatre on the east coast of England. They plan to open to a socially-distanced audience, on the first day this is permitted, the 1st of August. Hopefully, he’ll have some energy left to make more visual podcasts about the circus world!
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.

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