Circus News

Making Heartbreaking Decisions–Circus Is Canceled

As bad news on cancellations are flying into our inboxes left and right, it seems like the whole world is canceling everything, including circus for now. What impact this will have on our extended community of performing artists and on circus in particular, we cannot say, but we do know it will be a difficult time for all. We plan to keep our finger on the pulse of the industry, and to report on changes as they emerge.

CircusTalk as a team made the difficult decision to postpone any non-essential travel at this time in response to the global COVID-19 outbreak. Even as we were making that decision, travel restrictions were being put into place that would prevent or complicate  travel from country to country.

The sad news arrived today March 13th, that Festival UP! had to cancel just four days before the launch of their event in Brussels due to government mandates. In an announcement letter, the festival organizers shared their heartbreak, stating “Our thoughts also go out to our partners, 18 places in Brussels, invested alongside us to put the spotlight on the thirty shows that were playing at the UP! Festival. Not to mention the hundreds of artists who were expected throughout these 10 days of the festival, and who will no doubt be the victims most directly affected by these decisions.”

“We will not have the pleasure of sharing well-filled rooms, welcoming thousands of enthusiastic festival-goers, hearing extended clap-claps and frank & sincere reminders. We will not have the opportunity to make you discover the singular universes of these artists yet impatient to share these exceptional moments on the stages and the sets which, finally, at the end of March, will remain strangely empty.”
We appreciate all of the work Festival UP! ¬†and conference organizers around the world have put into the spring circus events they organize– and will sorely miss these circus shows we were so eager to experience as well as the professional gathering of colleagues. We are heartbroken at the impact such a health crisis will have on our industry, but we feel that at this time prioritizing the health of individuals, staff, families, and communities will ultimately make the circus community bounce back even stronger. While we all adjust to these sad tidings, let’s stay connected, and plan for future collaborations and gatherings in better times.
CircusTalk.News has also published an article that outlines current thinking on how circus schools and spaces can prevent the spread of the virus called Prevention of COVID-19 in Circus. We will update this article regularly with information from various sources as it arises. If you are a circus student, educator or administrator, please take the time to read the documents linked and to let the wider community know here what steps you are taking. If you are the representative of a circus studio or school, or a circus festival who would like to share the details of a temporary closing, please inform us by email and we will share those updates here as well. Stay tuned for further communications, including a panel talk with circus professionals this coming week on the topic of community impact.

Meanwhile, here are some additional resources:

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.