The Circus Manifesto, a statement about the values and significance of circus arts in Europe, calls upon European circus professionals and organizations to address the needs and challenges of the current state of circus arts in Europe, while fostering communication and collaboration to explore new opportunities. The manifesto declares: “As circus developed, both institutional and legislative systems have failed to adjust the environment to the new needs and requirements of the circus industry. At the same time, some representatives of circus arts have not adapted sufficiently to the demands of this new era.”
The manifesto was ratified last week at the 41st International Circus Festival in Monte-Carlo. The first signatory of the document was Her Serene Highness Princess Stéphanie of Monaco, President of the Festival International du Cirque de Monte-Carlo and honorary president of the Federation Mondiale du Cirque. Other signatures followed from numerous members of the European circus community, such as European Circus Association, Fédération Mondiale du Cirque and Circostrada Network.
Signatories of the manifesto call for a more efficient cooperation between the circus and tourism industries in Europe. They demand the harmonization of rules, regulations and licensing for circuses within the EU, as well as initiating a state subsidized system for circus schools and encouraging the recognition of circus pedagogy in Europe. Click here for the full length Circus Manifesto.
The Circus Manifesto was originally initiated by Istvan Ujhelyi, Vice Chair of Transport and Tourism Committee in the European Parliament with the intention of preserving the values of European circus arts and promoting its positive impact on social and economical development within the European Union.
Mr. Ujhelyi also intends to introduce a rating system of European circuses. The Big Top Label, similar to the restaurant industry’s Michelin-star certification, is described in the manifesto: “We support the initiative that puts forward the establishment of an independent body that would rate – recurrently as well – European circuses and ensembles in the framework of a special, jointly developed quality assurance system, the Big Top Label. It would guarantee a quality threshold of circuses taking into account a wide range of factors and conditions including the enforcement of safety and animal welfare regulations, the respect of workers’ rights, the level of professional education of employees and their further training opportunities, the promotion of traditional circus values, the ability of progressive renewal, or the willingness to take social responsibility.”