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Festivals and venues programming circus and street arts

According to the Department of Culture of the Catalan Government, the Platform of Street Arts, and the APCC (Associació de Professionals de Circ de Catalunya), Catalonia currently has around sixty festivals and venues programming circus and street arts.

These include twenty circus festivals, seven street arts festivals, six performing arts fairs with the presence of circus and street arts, and six performing arts festivals with circus and street arts. 70% of these are in Barcelona province, followed in order by Girona, Tarragona and Lleida.

The two leading fairs are FiraTàrrega (street arts) and Trapezi (circus). The most notable festivals include the international festival of Teatre i Animació Al Carrer in Viladecans for its age; the Mercè Arts de Carrer in Barcelona, for its size; or the Fira de Circ al Carrer in La Bisbal de L’Empordà, for its growing popularity.

Regarding venues for circus, the official register is eight venues and around twenty installations with a circus presence. These numbers include creation centres like the Ateneu 9 Barris and residences like La Central del Circ or La Vela in Vilanova i la Geltrú. There are also performing arts centres, such as the CAET, and venues, including public and privately owned theatres, that occasionally include circus in their programmes. Among these are Sant Cugat del Vallès www.tasantcugat.cat, the Antic Teatre, or the Sala Hiroshima, as well as large venues like the Teatre Lliure, the Teatre Nacional de Catalunya, and the Auditori that can programme or produce one large show per season.

Outside this category, there are municipal programmes that always include some street arts shows – especially for local festivals – or small-format circus shows in indoor venues that do not require specifc technical installation.

Examples

FiraTàrrega

This international market for performing arts is held in Tàrrega on the second weekend of September. FiraTàrrega is a great showcase of what is going on in the performing arts, with special emphasis on street arts. Its main objectives are to accompany and promote emergent artists, encourage training, and generate strategic alliances to develop transnational street arts circuits or productions.

Festival Escena Poblenou

Escena Poblenou is a festival of contemporary stage arts that programmes around five large projects: Embrions, which gives support to the most embryonic moment of the creation process; Escena +DONES, with support for women in the arts; and the three strands of Education and Community, Territory, and Residences to support artistic creation. Their purpose is to enhance the artistic fabric of the Poblenou neighbourhood and the city of Barcelona, while maintaining an international outlook and reach.

City of Barcelona

Within the cultural programming of the City of Barcelona, the street arts and circus have various windows open to the public. Two of the main events are the Cavalcade of the Magi (5th January) which has become a great parade of the performing arts, and the local festival La Mercè in September which has an extensive programme of street arts, traditional culture and circus.

Joan Morros Torné

— Coordinator, 'El Galliner' Cultural Association & Programmer, Teatre Kursaal —

What are the most important challenges for circus / street arts in your country, particularly when it comes to marketing and audience development?
"There is a double challenge: on the one hand to get the programmers of performing arts venues to decide once and for all to regularly programme circus shows; on the other, to get the audience to respond positively to these proposals. That would enable the creation of a regular circuit or network of theatres where circus companies could present their performances."

Photo: Martí E. Berenguer