Circus News

New Data Reveals COVID’s Devastating Impact on the Circus Sector

En Piste, the National Circus Alliance of Canada, released the results of their survey on the the impacts of COVID-19.  The first headline of the report sends warning signs already, reading “Very bleak prospects if new stimulus measures are not put in place in the short term.”  The report surely confirms the alarming picture that we have all been experiencing about the immediate needs of the circus and performing arts industries. We publish here En Piste’s highlights, but you can access the detailed results via their website.  The Canadian survey, totaling 381 respondents, was conducted by En Piste in collaboration with Simon Bastien and took place from November 23 to December 7, 2020.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the cessation of almost all professional activities has had dramatic effects in the circus arts sector despite its strong roots, resilience and the hope of a return to the stage. The results of the second survey on the impacts of COVID-19 on the community are both striking and alarming, and will become even more so if the prospect of resuming professional activities does not emerge in the short term. In fact, it reveals a steady deterioration in the situation for both professionals and organizations, despite the resumption of certain activities and access to government measures and assistance.

These results show that, unfortunately, the measures and assistance granted are not sufficient to support the high challenges faced by artists and companies, for whom maintaining a high level of performance and excellence is essential for a return to the stage.

Amongst individuals
  • Circus arts revenues have dropped 65% in 2020 compared to 2019.
  • More than 80% are unable to plan their professional futures and practise their craft, while 94% are considering a career transition.
  • 65% suffer from depression or anxiety.
  • 36% of respondents have experienced an increase in personal debt, while 5% had to resort to a food bank.

Amongst organizations
  • In average, total revenues decreased by 51%, while own-source revenues dropped drastically by 78%, representing average losses of $963,913 for the current fiscal year.
  • The number of spectators reached collapsed by 94%, while the number of participants in educational and social circus programs fell by 77%.
  • A 53% reduction in the number of employees resulted in a cutback in paid hours, loss of expertise and work overload.
  • More than 60% of organizations say they will cease operations if no additional funding is allocated to them after March 31, 2021.

In the closing statement of the highlight En Piste emphasizes that it is important to remember that the Canadian circus arts sector has a pool of knowledge and expertise that makes up its strength and vitality, and that has contributed to its worldwide renown. It is therefore essential that we quickly support this sector, helping it to initiate a constructive recovery and regain its creative momentum. The national circus arts alliance, En Piste, assures its members to continue its actions in this regard and calls on government partners to maintain vigorous support for a high-performance, innovative and much-appreciated sector.