Crying Out Loud’s Axel Satgé in Chile

In early June, the circus festival Charivari took over Matucana 100, a venue based in the centre of Santiago, Chile. During this time, FACE (Fresh Arts Coalition Europe) invited a group of European producers, programmers, and artists, including Crying Out Loud’s Axel Satgé, to the festival to promote the exciting circus scene of Santiago and tour venues in the surrounding area.

5 June was spent visiting four spaces around Valparaiso. The first was Carpa Azul, a small creation centre in the hills overlooking Valparaiso bay. After that was El Trafon, a tent and outdoor amphitheatre that presents shows and trains young artists.  Next was the Parque Cultural de Valparaiso, which until recent renovations had been a prison. It was turned into a state of the art cultural centre with an entire space dedicated to circus. The fourth and final space was Centro Cultural Playa Ancha, another tiny creation centre in the middle of Valparaiso, with an area for a tent and a breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean.

6 June was dedicated to Santiago: The morning was spent visiting GAM (Centre Gabriela Mistral), a striking new large scale venue in the heart of the vibrant Belles Artes neighbourhood. GAM features a large auditorium, a concert hall, a few studios, a recording studio, and a museum. The group then explored Nave, a private space dedicated to contemporary dance and used by Latin American artists to create and work on pieces. The space also includes a rooftop with views of the Cordillera. Finally we took a trip to the Santiago Metropolitan Region, an hour away from the centre of town, to visit Talagante Casa de la Cultura. This is a cultural centre that regularly programmes circus, and is a part of Santiago Al Limite, a group of culture centres who have gathered to share knowledge and practices.

7 June continued the tour around Santiago, traveling into the residential area of La Reina. The early morning was spent viewing Circo, a creation centre attached to Centro de la Artes Aréas. It hosts a wide range of activities including circus school and public performances. The building features an impressive hangar, perfect for working at heights, and was built with ecological standards in mind. The afternoon was filled with FACE presentations and pitches from artists and festivals.

8 June consisted of a visit to Circo del Mundo, Chile’s only professional circus school. While the graduates had showcased their amazing skills a few days before at a Charivari show, the group spent most of its time with the 1st years. The students shared their doubts and hopes, ask questions about life in Europe, and talk about their future goals.

9 June began with visits to spaces outside of town: Espacio Cebra in the business district and Espacio Jiwasa Jatiña in the popular barrio of Quillicura. The rest of the day was filled with professional meetings where companies pitched their work and venues from all around the country shared their projects and ambitions for the future.

While the overall aesthetics, history, and challenges of Chilean circus are different than those in the UK, they both share a drive to create and collaborate. With circus being a developing art form, there are an increasing number of opportunities for artists and audiences to meet, especially on an international level.