Our Senior Producer Leila Jones explains just how important circus is to us.
When the Roundhouse re-opened its iconic doors in 2006 it placed contemporary circus at the heart of its programme, boldly stating its intent with the genre-defying Argentinian spectacular Fuertzabruta. The following year we showcased the very best of national and international work with a two month run of poetic, thoughtful, bombastic and radical work, which went on to become Circusfest, which is now a firm part of our programming. Every year the Roundhouse presents a new show which moves the art form on in a different direction; from immersive circus pioneers Nofit State to the down and dirty urban powerhouse that is Circolombia. Contemporary circus is in a very exciting place at the moment and we are proud to be firmly at the centre of it.
The joy of presenting work that is non text based is that we can work with companies from all around the world. Our Street Circus programme is developed in association with Circolombia and their schools in Cali and Bogata called Circa Para Todos. Over the past ten years we’ve presented Guinean, French, Moroccan, Swedish, Brazilian, Colombian and Australian companies and are talking to companies from a huge variety of countries as we plan future shows.
Young people are also very important to circus at the Roundhouse. Every week we work with 100+ 11-25-year-olds in community centres, schools, estates and here in the Roundhouse Studios teaching them circus, street dance and free-running. By teaching the central qualities of commitment, strength and trust needed for circus, we have learnt that it’s an excellent tool for engaging and inspiring hard to reach young people. From this project we audition and recruit the best of the best; the Street Circus Collective (which was developed in in association with Circolombia and their schools in Colombia) are the public face of this programme and they regularly perform at the Roundhouse and around the country.