Over the years, as well as presenting memorable events, Crying Out Loud has been instrumental in developing networks that promote artistic collaboration, skills exchange and sector development in the UK and internationally. In 2018 we connected artists, audiences and professionals in more places than ever.
Throughout the year, the Crying Out Loud team zig-zagged the world taking part in conferences and symposiums on the future development of contemporary circus. In February, we were delighted by the 2nd African Circus Festival in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; in March we gave talks on audience development and the state of contemporary circus at Fresh Circus, Circostrada’s International Seminar in Brussels; and finally, in November, we were wowed by the newly opened National Kaohsiung Centre for the Arts in Taiwan (the largest arts building in the world) where we gave a presentation on the development of circus in the UK as part of their annual circus festival. These talks are always an opportunity for us to engage with international colleagues, promote UK contemporary circus and research new collaborations.
These peer to peer activities often lead to opportunities for artists to present their work and 2018 has been particularly rich on the international front. We developed our presence in Asia with the support of the Circus Asian Network (CAN) and our partner in Korea, Group Producer DOT: in May, UK companies Cul de Sac and Nikki & JD were at the 1st Seoul Circus Festival to create a unique double bill for the amazing Oil Tank Park with the support of the Arts Councils England and Korea’s ARKO; Nikki & JD were then invited by the BIRD Theatre Festival in Tottori, Japan to present the long version of their hit show Knot. Meanwhile, the 3rd edition of Spotlight UK Circus took place in Avignon with a programme that included them and 4 other UK companies.
Closer to home, and with the support of the Creative Europe programme of the European Union, we co-produced Union Black with Subtopia in Sweden, Cork Midsummer Festival in Ireland and Le Plus Petit Cirque du Monde in France. The piece blends hip and circus and was performed by Far From The Norm and a bespoke company of international circus and dance artists resident in Sweden, Ireland, England and France.
In the UK, we celebrated 250th anniversary of the formation of the modern circus by presenting 80 artists, working with over 200 young people in performances that attracted nearly 20,000 audience members. We organised music and juggling skills workshops all around the country, toured Now or Never by French musical acrobats Circa Tsuica in a big top to 6 regional cities. In London we curated Circus Sampler, two weekends of free events at Somerset House with Gandini Juggling, Far From The Norm, Marawa the Amazing and her Majorettes and Rose English all giving audiences a glimpse of the wide range of styles that currently make up the UK contemporary circus scene.