In October of 2019, CircusTalk went to Spain to participate in FIRCO and we made it a point to visit Escuela de Circo Carampa, the circus school in Madrid. Since 1994, the Carampa big top has been nestled in a huge park in Madrid, the area dotted with matching caravans. In the large tent is a professional circus school that trains an international student body and attracts teachers from around the world.
In 2011, they received theNational Circus Prize awarded by the Ministry of Culture, and the director of the school Donald Lehn is an active and founding member of FEDEC. We visited the gorgeous campus in Casa de Campo park where Lehn introduced us to students, gave us a tour, and let us poke around in the resource center before we interviewed him about the school’s future dream to grow their institution by expanding into a permanent brick and mortar facility.
During out October visit to Carmpa, Lehn felt the school was perched on the cusp of potential growth and ready to expand, as the government considered whether to go ahead with cultural plans that would allow the school to move into an existing facility that was developed for the arts (including circus) but which has been on hold for many years. But now that the COVID-19 pandemic has hit Spain heavily, who knows whether these plans will be able to be prioritized? Lehn recently joined our panel discussion (Urgent Concerns–Panel Talk: Circus Schools Respond to COVID-19) as we weighed the impact of the virus on circus schools around the world that have shuttered their doors temporarily.