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Festivals and venues programming circus and street arts

There is no existing mapping of Swedish festivals and venues presenting circus and street arts. Venues or festivals exclusively presenting circus and/or street arts are very rare; however, several performing arts and music festivals/venues programme circus and street shows alongside other forms. Estimating the number of venues and festivals that frequently present Swedish or international companies, it’s around 25. In the autumn of 2015 a network of these venues was created, CircusNet Sweden, which will develop its agenda during 2016. The Swedish national touring theatre Riksteatern has also recently shown a tendency to programme more circus in the venues in their touring circuits around Sweden. If we were to count festivals and venues that have either an outspoken commitment to presenting circus / street arts, or just an obvious record of doing so, we would get only a handful.

Examples

Stockholm Street Festival

Founded in 2010 and produced by Funnybones Production, Stockholm Street Festival takes place every year in July, filling the area Kungsträdgården in Stockholm city centre with busking by Swedish and international street artists.

Halmstad International Street Festival

Halmstad International Street Festival has been an annual four-day festival since 1998, inviting street and performance artists from all over Europe as well as from other parts of the world to perform in the streets, alleys, squares and parks of Halmstad.

Hangaren Subtopia & Subcase

Hangaren Subtopia is situated in Botkyrka and was inaugurated in 2010. Hangaren presents Swedish and international circus shows, from intimate to large-scale. Since 2009, Subtopia presents an annual showcase for Nordic contemporary circus, Subcase, which gathers some 300 presenters and artists over four days.

Stockholm Culture Festival

Stockholm Culture Festival is a six-day cultural city fest created in 2006. The artistic leader Claes Karlsson was a pioneer in bringing international circus shows to Sweden in the early 90s and still today partly dedicates the festival to circus and street shows.

Stora Teatern

Stora Teatern in Gothenburg was inaugurated in 1859, a beautiful three-balcony theatre that is today a well-preserved historic building filled with contemporary performing arts. Stora Teatern presents Swedish and international theatre, dance, circus and music – including six circus productions per year.

Karavan

Karavan is situated in a former garage in Malmö and run by the circus company Cirkus Saga. It was inaugurated in 2009 as a venue and working space for independent practitioners, with the aim of establishing contemporary circus in southern Sweden. Karavan presents Swedish and international companies in an annual festival.

Umeå Teaterförening

Umeå teaterförening is part of Riksteatern’s touring circuit for performing arts, and presents theatre, dance, circus and performance. Through the years they have increasingly booked international and Swedish circus and street shows. In 2014 in the context of Cultural Capital Umeå 2014, they presented a festival dedicated solely to contemporary circus.

Pernilla Appelqvist

— Programming Producer, Stora Teatern

In terms of audience and market development - what are the most important challenges for circus / street arts in your country?
"Stora Teatern’s aim is to present a broad spectrum of diverse international circus shows. This is a challenge for the marketing department: to inform the audience that these shows, being characteristically so different from each other, are all so-called ‘contemporary circus’. If the audience, after having seen an entertaining acrobatic show like Cuisine & confessions, returns with expectations to see something similar, they might be very confused to see an absurd dark nouvelle magie show like Oktobre."