Circus News

Rejoice in the Circus Libraries of the World! (UPDATED)

The circus library–ideally, every circus professional has their own section of the bookshelf cordoned off for the circus classics. But having access to rare circus documents, magazines, historic photos, circus posters, and up to date tomes on circus research and trends is something most of us only dream of. Circus is especially challenged in the preserving of its ephemera due its historically mobile nature. For two hundred years, artists have been touring and leaving behind no trace except for the memories and a few flyers. It is thanks to the fans, photographers, biographers, reporters, reviewers and the academics determined to preserve developments in circus history, that we have these records at all. Many circus institutions have gone as far as to set up libraries and archives of materials to showcase and inform folks about not just how circus used to be, but how it is today. 

In recent years, the professional circus school has become influential in providing circus students and visiting academics with the materials needed to research anything from historical precedent (has anyone ever juggled 10 clubs?) to methodology, to exploring multi-disciplines, and researching sports medicine for preventing injuries. But of course, circus libraries go beyond providing written or multi-media resources for their students. They also provide a respite for them, and a place of research for circademics–the new breed of circus professionals who are cropping up in universities around the world and moving the art form forward on many fronts–dramaturgically, on apparatus creation, on funding research and in science. The circus libraries that do exist are often a repository for archives donated from around the world, and a rare treasure for those who seek to understand, interact with or document the art form. So let’s take a...

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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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