Photo: Martí E. Berenguer

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Circus and street arts companies currently working in the country

According to data from the Department of Culture of the Generalitat, from FiraTàrrega, and from the 2015 directories of companies produced by the Ramon Llull Institute and the l’Associació de Professionals del Circ de Catalunya, Catalonia has around a hundred active street arts and circus companies.

The street arts cover all the professional companies in theatre, dance, music, clown, animation, installation, object or visual arts, who, with greater or lesser regularity, have used public spaces as their performance venue.

Regarding circus, the data gathered by the Department of Culture indicates that, in 2014, there were 1894 performances by circus companies of 94 shows, 70% of which took place in Catalonia, 12.5% in the rest of Spain, and 17% abroad.

Examples

Joan Català

A curious observer interested in the visual arts and in movement in which the body and/or objects are the communicators, Joan Català studied visual arts and circus in different schools. He also trained in contemporary dance, physical theatre and clown. He has been working with renowned dance and circus companies since 2005. In 2012, he started to develop his own perspective on the performing arts, focused on street and urban landscapes. The result is his first creation, Pelat, which premiered at the 2013 FiraTàrrega and has since been seen in many international festivals.

Animal Religion

One of the most ambitious companies in the current scene, Animal Religion is the collaborative effort of Niklas Blomberg (FI) and Quim Girón (ES), both graduates from the University of Dance and Circus in Stockholm who made their name in 2013 with the show Indomador. Since then they have created three shows for which animals are the starting point and inspiration: Chicken legz, a site-specifc show of circus and movement, and then Tauromàquia and Sifonòfor, large-format shows co-produced with the Auditori of Barcelona. Among their awards, we can highlight the audience award at FiraTàrrega 2014 for Chicken legz and the Gran Premi BBVA Zirkòlika 2015 award for Sifonòfor.

Companyia La Tal

One of the all-time classic Catalan street arts companies, La Tal began its professional career in 1986. International renown came in 1993 with Carrilló, and since then the company has focused on the creation of visual shows which include a great deal of interaction with the audience. Over years of professional experience, La Tal has taken shows to many places in Europe, as well as to prestigious international festivals. Their latest creation is The incredible box, first performed in 2013 at the Kleines Fest in Hanover, and the winner of the award for best show at the Kulturbörse Freiburg 2015.

Kamchàtka

An international reference point for new dramaturgy in street theatre, Kamchàtka arose from a meeting between a group of artists of various nationalities / artistic disciplines, who had come to Adrián Schvarszstein’s workshop to study techniques of improvisation in the street in relation to the question of immigration. The result was Kamchàtka, frst performed in March 2007. After that, there was a tour of over 300 performances in 25 countries, and the company set about making a trilogy of pieces on immigration. Habitaculum was premiered in 2010, and in 2014 the cycle was completed with Fugit. With only four shows, Kamchàtka has become a model for modern street theatre for its dramatic use of public space and the people who inhabit it.

Xavier Urbano

— Communication, Ateneu Popular 9 Barris

What are the most important challenges for circus / street arts in your country, particularly when it comes to marketing and audience development?
"One of the ongoing challenges we face is how to consolidate circus as an artistic discipline among all the others programmed in the theatres and venues of Catalonia. Doing that will help to open new venues to the artistic language that is taking shape and developing here. If there are no venues available, the artists who have trained here move away, and if there is nowhere to train, we will never manage to consolidate an artistic circuit rooted in our own area."

Photo: Martí E. Berenguer