Festival of Contemporary Circus in Bratislava

Nouveau cirque, or contemporary circus, belongs to the newest genres of the performing arts. It was born in 1970s in France out of independent theatre’s need to search for new forms by reviving and using long forgotten rituals, dramatic traditions, circus and street theatre skills. Contemporary circus is characterised by narrative form of storytelling; it expresses metaphors, themes, theatrical images and stories by using traditional circus skills. The presentation of its artists’ virtuosity, dangerousness and equilibristics of particular circus skills is secondary. Nouveau cirque is a modern phenomenon reflecting on contemporary forms of expression. Emotions, absurdity, poetics, yearnings, dreams, humour, self-irony, provocation and dreamy romance of fairy tales are all dotted around the spectrum of aesthetic values of contemporary circus.

Vision of the project is to establish first international festival of contemporary circus in Slovakia. By joining world metropolises like Paris, Tokyo, Amsterdam, Milan, Prague or Monte Carlo, Bratislava will keep up with current trends and theatrical tendencies. Festival of contemporary circus will be realised in French baroque garden in the centre of Slovakia’s capital city. Our ambition is to become an opening event of Bratislava Cultural Summer. Cirkul’art is a showcase of top acts and productions within the genre of contemporary circus. Our mid-term aim is to search and scout talents and encourage local artists to explore the possibilities of creating new theatrical productions by using contemporary circus methods. Our long-term aim is to research and map contemporary circus, network and create database of circus artists in Slovak republic. Festival Cirkul’art will repair and refurbish benches and street lights in Medical Garden due to their dilapidated technical state.

Aims and objectives of Festival of Contemporary Circus – Cirkul’art Slovakia
• our ambition is to be an opening event of Bratislava Cultural Summer”
• repair and revive Medical Garden, restore its original cultural functionality
• establish new tradition of a festival of contemporary art
• initiate establishment of a school and workshops of contemporary circus
• monitor the artistic scene home and abroad
• search for new, unconventional and inspiring art forms
• co-operate with renowned personalities and artists
• scout new talents and works of art; commission new work
• create international partnerships

Prepare workshops, discussions, seminars and conferences that would help to establish and develop contemporary circus in Slovakia.

Mid-term aim of the project
is to scout local artists and encourage their activity that would lead to creation of contemporary circus productions. We want to support development of contemporary circus in Slovakia. The fruits of this process should be first, original productions of contemporary circus in Slovakia. We want to provide information, nourishment, care and support to the newly established groups and performers of new circus. We support the idea of creating an international jury that would award festival’s international prize.

Long-term aim of the project
is research, mapping, networking and creating database of contemporary circus artists and performers in Slovakia. We want to help Slovak artists to make their breakthrough abroad. We want to actively participate in the role of a cultural operator. We want to educate professionals in the area of contemporary circus technique.

Place and ideal location for project’s realisation
Festival of Contemporary Circus – Cirkul’art takes place in the garden in downtown Bratislava. French baroque garden, that is generally known as Medical Garden, was built by count Jan Gobert of Aspermont in the times of Queen Maria Theresa. Later, the garden was bought by an art loving count Esterházy, who would fill the garden space with various artistic activities. Today, garden is part of Bratislava’s city centre and borough of Old Town. Medical Garden is Bratislava’s most beloved public park. Maintained green yards, flower beds and old trees create perfect environment for relax and cultural activity. The biggest problem of the garden is the dilapidated state of its accessories – bins, benches, street lights, etc. We aim to address this issue and help to solve it. Unfortunately, the last two local governments haven’t made an effort to restore Medical Garden, an important part of the city’s cultural heritage to its former glory. Festival of Contemporary Circus will repair and refurbish the street lights and benches, so they can be used by the public today and in the future.

For more information and the events schedule, visit the event website

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