In a recent press release,NoFit State made a big announcement about an initiative they have created to support up-and-coming circus artists and companies.Building on the momentum of sold out performances of their latest show LEXICON at the Biennale International des Arts du Cirque in Marseille, the Cardiff-based team are giving their support to developing the UK circus sector with their new Associate Artists program. This is a bold and much needed move in the circus world, and no surprise that it would be undertaken by a company whose mantra since 1986 has been: We celebrate the contradictions within ourselves and our work–Creating beautiful carnage–And organised anarchy–We embrace the human condition in all its dirtiness.
A representative of NoFit State who spoke with CircusTalk explained,“It’s not quite a residency as such, but more of a close relationship tailored very specifically to what each individual needs to develop- almost like a company-wide mentorship. Whilst we won’t be providing our Associates with actual cash help, we aim to alleviate some of the financial obstacles to producing their art by providing use of rehearsal space where possible and providing access to and the opportunity to borrow things such as equipment, tents or vehicles. Alongside this we can offer things such as advice and direction with regards to the more administrative side of things such as strategising, marketing and working with venues. Lastly, we aim to act as advocates for all of our Associate Artists and promote them and their work as best as we can, whilst also giving them the opportunity to present themselves as associated with NoFit State.”
With the support of the Fenton Arts Trust, NoFit State are proud to launch their new pilot Associate Artists program, lauded as a new opportunity for artists and companies to collaborate with NoFit State and access their knowledge, expertise and resources to develop their own artistic practice. With NoFit State aspiring to support up to three new artists or companies each year, they hope the program will bring about a sustained and significant legacy for the sector.
Tom Rack, Artistic Director of NoFit State said “NoFit State started at a time when there were no circus schools, no circus funding and a cultural vacuum of contemporary circus. These days the landscape is very different although it is just as difficult for young artists and companies to make the transition into making and touring their own work. As the aging pioneers of UK contemporary circus, we want to foster, encourage, support and nurture the next generation, so our art form continues to grow and develop exponentially.”
With potential benefits for selected artists including opportunities to make use of equipment and apparatus, professional mentoring and creative advice from the in-house team, and free use of the organization’s circus training space in Cardiff, the plan offers a personalized relationship to best meet each associate’s specific needs moving forward.
A Shared Cultural Vision
Whilst involvement in the programme will be through invitation, NoFit State welcome artists and companies to get in touch and begin a conversation, with artists being selected for the following:
- The quality of their artistic vision
- The interest in their creative aspirations
- The alignment with NoFit State’s own creative and cultural vision
- NoFit State’s capacity and capability to genuinely support their development
Most importantly, the successful artists and companies will embody an ambition that is both exciting and demonstrates a potential benefit for the artistic community as a whole.
Keeping Good Company
In launching the pilot version of this scheme, NoFit State are delighted to announce post-contemporary circus companyCompany-ish as the first to be invited to join the programme. Mixing the tradition of the touring big top with a fresh and modern approach to circus performance, Company-ish have a desire to inspire and engage with as wide an audience as possible which resonates with NoFit State’s open and accessible values.
Drawing from the experiences of working with some of the country’s top circus acts, Company-ish aspire to progress circus as an art form and reach as many people as possible, without damaging the core principles on which it was built. Moving forwards this collaboration will support the company’s artistic ambitions as they prepare for their September debut with theBig Bagaga Showin Cardiff and London.
Luke Hallgarten, Artistic Director of Company-ish said “Company-ish started with three friends sitting in a caravan in Newcastle-under-lyme, never could we have imagined the level of support and guidance we would get from NoFit State. Their dedication to supporting our young dream, their company ethos and individual humor mean the world to us.”
Following on from their collaboration with Company-ish, NoFit State are actively seeking further artists and companies to expand their Associate Artists program, in the hope of creating a long-lasting positive impact on the circus sector for years to come.
Photos courtesy of NoFit State and Luke Hallgarten