Education and training

Providing training in circus and street arts is one of the unresolved matters in the sector in Catalonia. Despite the historical importance of these fields, there have been no efforts to promote specific educational policies, nor are these disciplines included in the programmes of leading theatre schools such as Barcelona provincial council’s Theatre Institute or the Eòlia – Conservatory of Dramatic Arts (to name but one leading public and one private centre). However, there are exceptions that are worth mentioning:

Circus School Rogelio Rivel

Since 1990, Catalonia has had a circus school with international prestige, the Centre de les Arts del Circ Rogelio Rivel. This project is supported and recognised on the European level as a member of FEDEC (the European Federation of Professional Circus Schools) as a preparatory and professional school for training in circus arts.

In 2014, the Catalan administration, fulfilling its commitment in the Integral Circus Plan, asked the Catalan National Council for Culture and Arts (CoNCA) to produce a series of studies on circus training in Catalonia to collect all the basic data on the sector. (Videos of CoNCA's Seminar on Social Circus here and here.)

On 2 June 2015, the Generalitat de Catalunya, the Catalan administration, approved the creation of a qualification for experts in circus ‘animation’ as a form of professional training in the circus arts. These studies, unique in Spain, qualify the students to carry out animation activities (for instance, leading community workshops), to perform in public with non-specialised circus acts, or to collaborate with artists of a higher level, with standards that ensure quality and safety. escolacircrr.com

Photo: Rosa Colell

La Central del Circ

La Central del Circ also has a programme dedicated to providing ongoing training for circus professionals to enable them to develop the skills they require without having to move abroad. The current programme is divided into two strands: intensive courses and study weekends, taught by such prestigious professionals as Peter Jasko, Claudio Stellato, and Roberto Olivan. This programme is complemented by meetings of disciplines or cycles of talks.

Postgraduate studies in Street Arts Creation

There is only one degree-level course in street arts: the Postgraduate studies in Street Arts Creation, promoted by FiraTàrrega and the University of Lleida. These studies are a pioneering educational initiative with an international scope, intended to train street arts professionals in creation for public space. The programme combines theoretical and practical modules and is intended for professionals in the sector as well as directors, playwrights, actors, cultural managers or urban designers interested in the city as a space with multiple artistic possibilities. Although some of the contents are dedicated to theoretical aspects, it is a fundamentally practical experience – an immersion in the discipline based on participation in student-run projects, collective projects and external projects.

Mercè Saumell

— Head of Cultural Services and professor, Institut del Teatre de la Diputació de Barcelona

What do you see as the most important task of your organisation in the circus/street arts in your country?
"As a teaching institution in the EEES (Espai Superior d’Educació Europea), we should develop programmes in street arts and circus at degree and postgraduate levels. It is important for us to organise higher education workshops linked to these felds; to actively participate in conferences and seminars; to form part of joint degrees offered in collaboration with other European institutions; and to promote processes of creation and research (doctoral theses, accredited research, etc) in street arts and circus."

Photo: Martí E. Berenguer