Katy Snelling, Programme Manager at Oxford Playhouse one of Crying Out Loud’s partners in Circus Evolution, writes about this year’s CIRCa in Auch.
‘What a fantastic weekend in Auch with Crying Out Loud! Seeing such a breadth of work across genres, from street performance to traditional big top; from clowning to acrobatics, really strengthened my understanding of all the different styles of circus and its development. But on top of watching performances was the understanding of how circus in France contributes back to its communities – be this because of the extraordinary level of volunteering and obvious pride in the town surrounding the festival or Le Cabaret Perdu’s method of working with local residents. This was not a festival I’d even considered going to before so the guidance and careful planning from the passionate experts at Crying Out Loud was very welcome and allowed maximum opportunity for creative thought and minimum worrying about how to get from one venue to another without being able to speak the language. The open and welcoming atmosphere at Circa and La Grainerie permeated all our moods and made for some really useful, collaborative conversations with colleagues from the UK which aren’t usually possible in the limited time in usual day to day activity. I’ve come back feeling truly invigorated and am even more excited about the potential for the Circus Evolution programme within my venue.’
CIRCa began in 1988 as a meeting of circus schools, and throughout its expansion and growth it has kept that purpose at its core. Each year for one week the festival takes over Auch, a small town in Southern France. The festival provides promoters with the chance to see shows in their most nascent form. It gives an overview of the year’s artistic work, and perhaps a chance to see the next big thing.