With year-long celebrations of the 250th anniversary of British circus on the back of a wave of popularity for Box Office smash hit ‘The Greatest Showman’, 2018 has been a good year for Circus. This is especially true for Wales, with more people learning, studying and performing the art form here than ever before.
Hoping to support and sustain this growth, the UK’s leading contemporary circus company, NoFit State Circus is launching a new, year-long professional development programme. named Transitions. The project is open to circus professionals, teachers and youth circus graduates from across the nation, and is funded by the Arts Council of Wales.
Nick Capaldi, Chief Executive of Arts Council of Wales said: “NoFit State have a well established reputation for their exciting and innovative creative practices, so we welcome the investment that the company is making in helping to develop the skills of future circus practitioners. This project offers a wonderful opportunity to benefit from the company’s internationally renowned expertise and to share skills and techniques with some of Europe’s most exciting circus professionals.”
Through a transformative programme of business masterclasses, teacher training and mentoring, along with a focused creative project for youth circus graduates, the project aims to support Welsh circus professionals at different stages of their careers to realise their creative ambitions.
NoFit State’s Artistic Director, Tom Rack said “After the success of the our two sector support projects in 2018 in Newcastle under Lyme and Avignon, we are delighted to ensure our ongoing commitment to sectoral development and strengthened creative practice through this groundbreaking and extraordinary project.”
The masterclass programme will see the benefit of the project spread across the UK as NoFit State partners with the two UK circus schools, Circomedia in Bristol and National Centre for Circus Arts in London, to deliver these sessions. The support from Arts Council of Wales will ensure that Welsh circus professionals will be able to access these classes free of charge.
Circomedia’s Projects and Development Manager, Robin Peters said “We are thrilled to be working closely with NoFit State, the programme is a game-changer for the sector, offering practitioners – many of them Circomedia alumni – high quality support and new opportunities for professional development.”
In addition to the training opportunities the project also sees the launch of a brand-new micro fund for circus professionals. The first of its kind in Wales, the new professional development fund will allow circus artists, teachers and practitioners to apply for small pots of money to support their own professional development.
NoFit State’s Executive Director, Alison Woods said: “The idea of creating a dedicated pot of money that individuals could apply to came directly from our conversation with artists, companies and teachers.”
“It will be simple to apply to the new fund and will give artists the autonomy to define the support they need. It will offer valuable practice of applying for funding, which is a key skill everyone needs to develop as their creative ambitions grow.”
Over the next 12 months, NoFit State hopes that the project will make a lasting impact on the Welsh circus sector and support the artists, teachers and practitioners to gain the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to continue to grow.