FYI Vol. VIII, No. 1


One Way of Expanding Your Marketability

One possible solution for circus artists suddenly finding work hard to come by is to expand their acts into an entire show and seek bookings as solo artists in regional theaters.  That seems to be what Johnny Peers has done with his Muttville Comix act that has been a staple in circuses for many years.  His solo show has already begun playing regional arts centers.  Of course it is a lot easier ( or perhaps I should say financially feasible) to expand a dog act than it is to achieve variety by adding humans.  Judging from shows I’ve seen recently five multi-talented individuals is the bare minimum needed.


Ensuring Quality in Circus Operations

The European Parliament has established a prize to be awarded annually to circuses exhibiting an objective degree of quality based upon legal requirements, employee and consumer protection rights, artistic standards, and strict animal welfare guidelines. An independent jury of circus professionals will evaluate those circuses which have been inspected during the year and reward those deemed worthy of the title of Big TopLabel [sic].  This year three European circuses have been recognized for the honor: Cirque Arlette Gruss of France, Circus Krone of Germany and the Blackpool Tower Circus of Great Britain. Initiators of the Big TopLabel expect that this quality assurance system will outgrow Europe and serve as recognition for quality circuses worldwide.   Is that a weird title for an award or what?


Australia Provides a Model of Cooperation Between Circuses and Has Fun Doing It

Australia is one of those countries where the circus arts are flourishing. As evidence of this is the circus community’s willingness to embrace all kinds of circus from the traditional to the new contemporary shows.  Consider the annual event staged by the circus community called Karnidale.  The 2019 version will be staged over the weekend of January 19 and 20.  Tickets for the entire weekend are priced at $125 Australian dollars.  It includes free camping grounds, four big tops, a full-size outdoor flying trapeze rig, a unique venue called the bus stop station and numerous quirky venues including the infamous Reg Bolton Bar named after one of the pioneers in the worldwide youth circus movement.  Among the attractions is a spectacular show in the Lunar Sensation Big Top, street performers from around the world, circus shows presented all day long, an outdoor cabaret, late night shows , three bars, food and market stalls, circus workshops and even the Circus Olympics.  All this plus a line-up of live music  with some of the best bands in Australia rocking it all day and into the night.

This is an event that ought to be the model for any national circus seeking to promote the art as well as cooperation and a sense of common commitment.


Circus Mojo Goes into the Brewery Business

One of the most innovative entrepreneurs involved in the youth circus movement has to be Paul Miller, whose Circus Mojo located in Ludlow, KY has just opened its latest innovation, a craft beer brewery dubbed Bircus Brewery.  It shares a space in a converted theater on the national registry of historic sites with a performance area where patrons can enjoy various circus acts performed by youngsters involved in Circus Mojo while enjoying  a variety of  novel brews.  If the fact that a brewery embedded in a circus is not novelty enough, the enterprise has been registered with the national stock exchange which means that if you’ve a mind to you can buy stock in the brewery.

Meanwhile in Baraboo, WI:

The Al. Ringling Brewing Company Inc. will open this coming spring or summer. Its  proprietors are Don  Horowitz , Joe Colossa, Jon Bare, and their Brewmaster is Griffin James. They will be turning the mansion’s ballroom into a brewery and restaurant. They have found a Ringling family beer recipe (which got them thinking about a brew pub) among other papers and photos hidden away while doing some renovation in preparation for a closet to be turned into a bathroom  for the soon to open four bedroom  Al. Ringling Inn. The brewery, restaurant and inn will be a nice addition to the  guided tours already offered at the historic mansion built in 1906.


Circus Harmony to Stage New Production

Circus Harmony’s annual confluence of music and circus arts is the circus spy thriller Accelerando.  The show will feature Circus Harmony’s flying children with all new acts including Chinese pole and hoop diving, some of which have been coached by Circus Harmony graduates who are touring the world performing these acts with Cirque du Soleil and les 7 Doigts de la Main (7 Fingers).  The show will feature a new band making its debut this year. Accelerando will be presented at the City Museum, St. Louis on January 19, 20, 26 and 27, with shows on Saturday at 12 and 2 pm and on Sunday at 2pm.  For more info


Opportunities for Advanced Training Available

The National Circus School of Canada has set audition dates for all candidates aspiring to become future circus artists. The closest city in which this examination will be given is Montreal, Canada in February.  Registration deadline is January 15,  2019. The other cities where the audition will be held are either in Europe or other Canadian cities.  I am not sure what we should  infer from the fact that none are being held in the U. S.   More information may be obtained by clicking on the school’s  ad to the right of this page.

In other news from the school, a new session of the highly successful online Instructor of Circus Arts program will begin on February 16. This hybrid course is offered in either French or English and runs 17 weeks.  It involves virtual classroom sessions and an intensive in-person week in Montreal in the school’s studios.  Deadline for registration is February 4, 2019.


More Opportunities for Training at New England Center for Circus Arts

NECCA’s ProTrack has been creating professional circus artists for over a decade.  It is the longest running Professional Training Program for circus artists in the United States, with graduates performing with Cirque du Soleil, Les 7 Doigts, Pippin, Cirkus Cirkor, Cirque Mechanics, and an array of touring shows, international festivals, cabarets and cruise ships. Students from all over the world come to NECCA for training, expertise, and guidance and, as a result,  graduates continue to fill the world stages. Curious if you too could turn your training into a career?  Applications for the 2019-20 school year are now being accepted.  NECCA is located in Brattleboro, VT.  For more information go to  Deadline for applications is January 31, 2019.