An overview of circus and street arts in Sweden

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An overview of circus and street arts in Sweden CASCAS EXPERIMENT DIVERSITY WITH THE STREET ARTS AND CIRCUS An overview of circus and street arts in Sweden Government policies and budgets in Sweden CONTENTS
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An overview of circus and street arts in Sweden CASCAS EXPERIMENT DIVERSITY WITH THE STREET ARTS AND CIRCUS An overview of circus and street arts in Sweden Government policies and budgets in Sweden CONTENTS Government policies and budgets in Sweden 3 Circus and street arts companies and artists currently working in Sweden 4 Testimonal 9 Festivals programming circus and street arts 10 Venues programming related work 12 Testimonal 15 Tented circuses 16 Education 18 Testimonial 21 Creation supporting centres 22 Advocacy agencies 24 Testimonial 27 Research 28 Case studies of three local artistic projects 30 THERE S NO CULTURAL policy on circus and street arts in Sweden, neither are there any statistics available on government or region expenditures for circus and street arts, or on estimated audiences. All support and statistics for these art forms go under the headings of theatre and dance, as do all handling of applications for funding. GENERAL OBJECTIVES The objectives for Swedish cultural policy were renewed in 2009 by the Ministry of Culture:»Culture shall be a dynamic, challenging and independent force built on freedom of speech. Everybody shall have the possibility to participate in cultural life. The development of Swedish society shall be characterized by creativity, diversity and artistic quality.«to reach these objectives, cultural policy aims to: facilitating access to cultural experience and to developing creative abilities promote quality and artistic innovation exchange and cooperation give special attention to children s and young people s right to culture. GENERAL FINANCING In December 2010 a report on the financing of Swedish culture was published by the Swedish Arts Council. In 2009 the state, regions and municipalities committed altogether 2,4 billion euro to culture, which comprises 1-2% of their total budgets. The state contributed 45%, the regions 14%, and the municipalities 41%. The largest expenditure was on adult education, museums, performing arts and public libraries. The whole performing arts sector was financed with 80 million euro by state and regions in CIRCUS AND STREET ARTS Despite the lack of public policies, it is clear that the number of projects, artists and organisations receiving public funding has increased in recent years, mainly in circus. This is linked to a change of attitude and an increased awareness within the sector. It also has to do with the fact that there since quite recently exists higher state educations within circus and street clowning. In 2009 the Arts Council supported the developing of a national federation of circus and street arts. 3 Circus and street arts companies and artists currently working in Sweden From the show Wear it like a crown with Cirkus Cirkör DEFINITIONS ARE NOT easy when it comes to the world of circus and street arts, which makes counting rather difficult. Are magicians circus artists? Are street working clowns circus or street artists or just clowns? How do we define a circus or street artist as professional? Moreover, most artists are not defineable in one category, but mix circus disciplines with clowning, magic, theatre and work in tents as well as on the street, in theatre venues as in art galleries. The estimated numbers below are therefore to be considered as exactly that: an estimatio n. Only street artists, clowns and magicians that define their work in a circus context or as working with some expression of circus are included in these figures. Altogether there are about 200 professionally working individual artists in this field in Sweden, and around companies. Roughly 50 % define themselves as circus companies, 25 % define as both circus and street companies. The rest speak of their work in terms of clowning and/or variety. Usually artists work in different companies, and in several companies simultaneously. New companies appear and disappear. The field is in constant flux. More or less everyone in the field knows each other in Sweden. Most artists work and tour abroad frequently, some having longer contracts with companies mainly in Canada, Spain, Finland and France. About 15 % of the»swedish«artists are»adopted«swedes, meaning that they moved to Sweden for education or work, and then stayed here, or still consider Sweden to be their base. Non- Swedish artists that were educated in Sweden or stayed for a period of work, but then left the country altogether, are not included in this counting. There are 7 active traditional touring tented circuses with animals, and 6 active youth 5 c ircuses. Moreover there are 4 traditional c ircuses settled in permanent venues. SOME EXAMPLES: CIRKUS CIRKÖR Cirkus Cirkör began as an independent contemporary circus group in Stockholm in 1995, founded by artistic director Tilde Björfors. In 2000 Cirkus Cirkör moved to Botkyrka, and since 2005 they have status as a regional institution. Today, being the biggest circus company in Sweden, their work comprises of touring performances in Sweden and around the world, plus events, courses and internationally recognised circus eduction at secondary school level. Current internationally touring shows are Inside Out and Wear it like a crown. From the show Blåställ with Vifira VIFIRA Vifira was the first company to spring from graduate students of DOCH, the University of Dance and Circus, in Stockholm the only higher level circus education in the Nordic countries. The company was created in 2008, and today consists of juggler Viktor Gyllenberg and dancer Malin Stattin. Vifira strives to be a vital operator within the field of circus and dance. Their latest show Blåställ has been performed over 200 times around Sweden. The next show Hello! premieres in Hangaren in Subtopia in March RUBY ROSE PRODUCTIONS Ruby Rose call themselves»the most good looking production company in Sweden«. Since 2005 Rebecca Westholm, Angela Wand and Agnes Rosenberg have produced shows, clubs, and parties. They focus on working with female artists and stagehands, to make more space for women on and around stages in the world. For 3 years they have toured the country and western variety show The Big Ass BBQ in venues, tents and streets in Sweden and internationally. A new show is in planning, to premiere in BALAGANS Balagans is a contemporary circus company established in Sweden in The four artists met at the Circus Programme of the University of Dance and Circus, DOCH, where they studied They share a passion for teeterboard, acrobatics and dance, and work for pushing the limits with a mixture of high acrobatic Clowns Without Borders in Sudan 6 TESTIMONIALS Charlie Caper Magician and street artist What are the most important challenges for circus/ street arts in your country?»i think the most important challenge is for artists to start creating more of their own independent projects. To stop waiting for an offer from a big ensemble and take destiny and art in their own hands.«ruby Rose Productions performing The Big Ass BBQ in Stockholm What do you see as your most important task in circus/ street arts in your country?»i am first and foremost an artist with a creative and entrepreneurial drive. Also I believe I am more and more acting as a link between Sweden and the international street show community.«skills and physical movement. The company consists of two Swedish and two Spanish artists. During 2010 they worked in Spain. CLOWNS WITHOUT BORDERS SWEDEN Clowns Without Borders sends artists to refugee camps and disaster areas to bring laughter, hope and joy to children and families in difficult circumstances. Since 1996 they have toured in Bosnia, Baltic states, Macedonia, India, Nepal, Mexico, Palestine, Lebanon, Western Sahara, Sudan, Kenya, Swaziland, Jordan and Burma. Many Swedish artists have at some point worked with CWB, or been educated in their clowning educations. From 2011 CWB will run a Master s Programme in physical comedy in collaboration with the Stockholm Academy of Dramatic Arts. SIRQUS ALFON Sirqus Alfon create comedy based on the interaction between four eccentric characters and borrowing imagery from old music videos, in a style of old-school slapstick, in a new-rave context. They have been touring around the world since 1997, from Chinese theaters to refugee camps in Palestine to burlesque clubs in New York City, in street festivals as well as in national theatres. Sirqus Alfon s variety performance EUROTRASH has toured since 2009 internationally and in Sweden. W WW.SIRQUSALFON.COM TESTIMONIALS Tina Pettersson The Swedish Arts Grants Committee What are the most important challenges for c ircus/street arts in your country?»the challenge is to create good conditions for all qualified circus artists based in Sweden, many of them educated at Cirkus Cirkör and at the University of Dance and Circus. During the last years contemporary circus has been well established in Sweden, and gives a lot of creative impulses into performing arts in general. The Swedish Arts Grants Committee supports many contemporary circus artists and several international collaborations and is looking forward to an increased cooperation with the circus scene.«8 Festivals programming circus and street arts international circus and street artists as well as local dance companies, DJs, film and young talents. In September 2010, the new venue for circus, Hangaren in Subtopia, was inaugurated with a 4-day festival, Subtopiafestivalen. It will most likely happen next in STOCKHOLM CULTURE FESTIVAL Stockholm Culture Festival is a broad 6-day cultural city fest for the inhabitants of the capital, created in 2006 and regarded as inheritor of the yearly Stockholm Water Festival The artistic leader of both festivals, Claes Karlsson, was a pioneer in bringing international circus shows to Sweden in the early 90 s and still today partly dedicates the festival to circus and street shows. DAFLO BRAVEFEST DaFlo Bravefest is a yearly small scale 3-day festival with a family feeling in the very middle of Sweden, in a homestead in the village of Dala Floda. This is a festival of dancing, canoeing and circus in a spirit of friendship, creativity, joy and music. Workshops in several different circus disciplines take place, along with courses in a range of dance and music styles. Shows are presented every evening. FESTIVALS EXCLUSIVELY PRESENTING circus and/or street arts are very rare in Sweden. Several performing arts and music festivals program circus and street shows amongst other things. There seems to be 6 regularly occurring Swedish festivals that are clearly dedicated to these performing art forms. Two of these are city festivals that also present dance, music and theatre; however they show a consistent interest in developing this sector. SOME EXAMPLES: STOCKHOLM STREET FESTIVAL Founded in 2010 and arranged by Funnybones Production, this festival aims to take place every year in July, filling Stockholm city centre with busking Swedish and international street artists. The first edition of the festival lasted 3 days, presenting 8 different shows. HALMSTAD INTERNATIONAL STREET FESTIVAL Halmstad International Street Festival has been a yearly 4-day festival since 1998, inviting international street and performance artists to Halmstad in south-western Sweden. Artists have come from all over Europe as well as from Australia, Brasil, USA, Iran, West Africa, Canada and Russia to perform in the streets, alleys, squares and parks. SUBTOPIAFESTIVALEN Subtopia has organised several different festivals during the years, presenting Swedish and DaFlo Bravefest 10 11 Venues programming related work Cirkus Cirkör performing Inside Out in Hangaren in Subtopia THERE IS NO existing mapping of Swedish venues programming circus and street arts. An estimation of venues that frequently present Swedish or international companies ends up around 10 however other venues have presented shows. The Swedish national touring support organisation Riksteatern has in recent years shown a tendency to program more and more circus in the venues in their touring circuit around Sweden. In counting venues that have either an outspoken dedication to presenting circus or just an evident profile in doing so, we get a handful. VARIETÉ HABLINGBO Varieté Hablingbo is a tented venue that since 2002 has presented circus and variety shows every summer. Situated on the island Gotland, it has become a major public event. From 2011 the company Salong Giraff will take over the running of Hablingbo. Salong Giraff is a group of artists, directors and musicians who have presented a success night variety show for six years in Stockholm. HANGAREN IN SUBTOPIA Hangaren in Subtopia, situated in Botkyrka south of Stockholm, presents itself as Sweden s venue for contemporary circus. It was inaugurated in September 2010, a former woodhouse renovated into a 2300 sqm flexible space with 13 m of height and a capacity of 850 people sitting/2000 people standing. Hangaren presents Swedish and international shows in circus and street arts, from intimate to large-scale, from broad to experimental. Once a year Hangaren presents a showcase for Swedish circus, variety and street art under the name of Subcase Subtopia Circus Fair. ORIONTEATERN Orionteatern is situated in a former machine workshop built in 1929 in central Stockholm. This 600 sqm wooden venue with 10 m of height presents itself as a place for artistic experimentation and collaboration that often do not fit in traditional theaters. Orionteatern presented circus shows already in the 80 s. Artistic leader Lars Rudolfsson has directed 13 several internationally renown circus shows, like TRIX with Cirkus Cirkör and FUSK with Royal Bones. They invited Cirque Invisible no less than 6 times over the years, and host variety show Salong Giraff since 6 years. KARAVAN Karavan is situated in a former garage in Malmö and run by the circus company Cirkus Saga together with a performance duo and a latin-balkan band. It was inaugurated in 2009 as a venue and working space for independent practitioners in circus and music. The aim is to establish contemporary circus in southern Sweden, where the art form had no permanent place to gather and develop. The space is 380 sqm with 9 m height. Karavan presents Swedish and international companies and takes an audience of 150 people. UMEÅ TEATERFÖRENING Umeå teaterförening is part of Riksteatern s touring circuit for performing arts, and programmes theatre, dance, circus and performance. Through the years they have increasingly booked international and Swedish circus and street shows. Usually they program circus in Idunteatern, a 150 sqm stage with 7 m of height, for an audience of around 450 people. TESTIMONIALS Kiki Muukkonen Artistic programming director of Hangaren in Subtopia What do you see as the most important challenges for circus/street arts in your country?»stable long-term infrastructure for supporting creation needs to be developed. More and more artists are educated, but after graduating they have difficulties to find spaces and funding for creation. Some stay, but many go abroad. Swedish creation centres need to be developed, so that they can offer residencies and commission work. To make this happen some cultural policies and priorities need to be changed; in effect we need support systems and perspectives that dont yet exist in Sweden.«From the show 6 mimare & 6 hästar at Orionteatern 14 TESTIMONIALS Camilla Damkjaer Ph.D in Performance Studies What do you see as the most important challenges for circus/street arts in your country?»it seems there is a need to continue defining circus as an art form and broadening its artistic scope, to develop its different aesthetic approaches in depth. In other words to continue circus in all directions: up, down, to the sides, expanding circus horizontally and vertically at the same time. This needs to be facilitated and reinforced through a continued development of the infrastructure that surrounds circus. Circus needs both the support to spread, through developing networks, and the support to focus, through spaces and places for residencies, rehearsals and exchange of ideas.« Tented circuses IN SWEDEN THERE is one contemporary and 7 traditional active tent circuses. There are no official audience numbers for contemporary circus, but the traditional circuses have done their counting: around people attend traditional circus shows every year in Sweden. The season is 6 months/year and each circus usually visits locations in a season. In some small towns and villages a travelling circus is the only live entertainment ever offered. The traditional circuses make a point of not applying for state or city funding, financing their activities by ticket sales only. On the other hand they lobby for reductions of land rents, service fees and taxes. In summer 2010 Cirkusakademien (an association for the preservation of circus, mainly traditional) wrote a letter to all Swedish cities, advocating different ways facilitate the touring of tent circuses. the mission to support long-term innovative projects. The support was given for the fabrication of a unique tent construction that semiautomatically folds in and out of a trailer. The tent holds 200 people and is unfolded and erected by 2 people in less than one hour. Varieteteatern will present their own variety shows as well as other companies and theatres in what they call their»mobile cultural house«. CIRKUS MAXIMUM Cirkus Maximum was founded in 1983 (but was until 1989 named Cirkus Minimum) by Bengt Källquist, who is still the director of the company. Their tent holds an audience of 1000 people, they have 90 employees and they own 50 vehicles. SOME EXAMPLES: VARIETÉTEATERN Varietéteatern was created in 2001 by 3 artists who live and work in the countryside south of Stockholm. In 2009 they received a support of 2,3 million SEK (about euros) from Framtidens Kultur, a state organisation with CIRKUS BRAZIL JACK The Rhodin family has a circus history that stretches back to Ever since then, the family has been in the industry. Today, Carmen and Trolle Rhodin and their two sons run Cirkus Brazil Jack, founded in Brazil Jack have given themselves the title»national Circus of Sweden«. Cirkus Maximum in Hudiksvall 16 Education From student production at DOCH, Directed by Ana Sanchez. DOCH UNIVERSITY OF DANCE AND CIRCUS In Sweden there is only one higher level education for circus artists: the circus program at DOCH, University of Dance and Circus, in Stockholm. This 3 year program leads to a University Degree, Bachelor of Arts in Circus, 180 ECTS. 18 students are admitted to the circus programme every second year. Applicants come from all over the world. Every student has the opportunity to train on a primary and a secondary circus discipline as well as a complementary discipline and basic acrobatics. Dance, music and theatre are integrated components of the programme. The programme focuses on artistic experimentation and methodology in order to develop the students own process of creation and unique artistic voice. DOCH also offers research education and residencies for artists already in the profession. By establishing collaborations with numerous individuals and networks within the national and international circus arena teachers, prominent artists and researchers a diverse environment is created, facilitating students abilities to relate their activities to the broader artistic and social contexts. A YEAR OF PHYSICAL COMEDY In January 2011, the Stockholm Academy of Dramatic Arts in collaboration with Clowns Without Borders Sweden started the Master s Programme A Year of Physical Comedy. 10 skilled performers are trained in techniques and thinking developed by clowns touring areas of crisis around the world. The students go on tour to places like Rwanda, Burma and Palestine, spreading laughs and hope to tens of thousands of people. During the year, public comedy shows and open rehearsals are arrange
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