Our Top Circus Articles of 2017-A Year in Review - StageLync
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Circus News

Our Top Circus Articles of 2017–A Year in Review

Since Circus Talk launched in June 2017 it has published over 300 circus-related articles. Often, we share circus news from around the world, monitoring the news circuits for breaking news that impacts the circus world. But other times we write the articles to reveal some aspect of the industry to you that we think you will find helpful or interesting– something to inspire your work or inform you of changes and trends. We’ve offered everything from advice by seasoned professionals, to festival reviews and interviews with industry leaders.
2017 was a challenging year for many people, politically, economically, socially and ethically. There was social and economical change and upheaval on many fronts. Of course, circus did not escape unscathed. But it wasn’t all bad news. America lost a time-honored tradition in Ringling Brothers but gained a national circus school in Circadium and the corpse of Big Apple Circus was revived by a skilled spinal surgeon. In Canada, Cirque du Soleil continued to broaden its corporate identity beyond circus, and in Europe circus festivals, conferences and organizations thrived while gearing up for the 250th year celebration of circus in 2018. At Circus Talk, we scrambled to cover it all and to highlight interesting people and moments. But what resonated most with you, our readers? Check out our most liked and read articles from 2017 to find out:


1.  Circus Life, Between Cues: A Photo Essay of Chicago’s Midnight Circus

Book Kennison works as a professional juggler and has performed for several seasons with Midnight Circus in Chicago. He also happens to be an excellent photographer whose warmth and affection towards his subjects (in this case his circus family) juxtapositions quite well with his very geological method of composition. Kennison’s photo essay was the top article of 2017 and rightly so, as it was a reassuring and timely balm in a turbulent time for big top circus–proof positive that the family circus lives on in our communities and can even impact them, as Midnight Circus is known for its charitable contribution to the city parks of Chicago.  Link to Article

2.  5 Top Tips To Get The Most From Your Physical Therapy Appointments

James Wellington has made healing circus bodies his life work. Fortunately for us, he also likes to share his knowledge and has volunteered to write a physical therapy series for Circus Talk, which started with this wildly popular article about when to go see a physiotherapist, key signs that you need one and how to prepare for the appointment. Link to Article

3.  Put It In Your Back Pocket–The Rise of the Small Circus Company, A Case Study

This group of dynamic young performers embodies all the circus dreams of the aspiring professional, and they shared it all in their exclusive interview with Circus Talk–the pluses and shortcomings of modern circus education, the thrills and exhaustion of life on the road, the privilege of being involved with the world’s most famous circus company, and the business mind and planning grit needed to break off and do their own thing as a young company they call Back Pocket. All of that, plus an amusing Instagram campaign about not doing everything right, an emerging trend among the new generation of circus realism that is aptly hashtagged #notsoacrobats. Link to article

4.  Contemporary Juggling Star Wes Peden Tells All–A Quick Talk

 In Wes Peden’s interview he proved to be  a thoughtful and funny person–and also a guy whose groundbreaking juggling is as important to the juggling world as his groundbreaking entrepreneurial skills (as a self-promoting artist) are to circus artists. In 2017 he released and distributed his juggling video Gumball to a rabid fan base in between touring and developing new shows. His DIY style could be seen as a primer on how to move forward in one’s artistic development. Link to Article

5.  6 Steps to Apply to Young Stage Festival and Competition 

How to do things like apply for festivals, grants and competitions is part of what Circus Talk wants to help emerging artists figure out, which is why writer Fiona Bradley delved deep into the process of what it takes to apply to the Young Stage Festival. By interviewing festival organizers, judges and a former participant, Fiona outlined the steps and level of hutzpah required to participate in this annual event for young people that will take place this May in Switzerland. Good, news, its still not too late to apply!  Link to Article

6.  What’s the Point of a Degree in Circus Arts?

There is a growing global trend of academics who are doing important circus research work. Circademic Alisan Funk’s work focusing on circus education and the differences among degreed programs, touching on informal, formal and accredited training, highlights the variations in quality training and the need for programs to address academic courses that will create more educated and nuanced artists. Link to Article

7.  How to Land a Life at Sea

Seasoned circus artist and writer Viveca Gardiner wrote a three part series about life at sea for circus artists, beginning with this first article on how to get the job, than branching off into do’s and donts and finishing up with what to expect on board and how to keep the good gigs coming. Full of solid and often amusing advice and good stories from professional performers like Adam Kuchler and Team Rootberry, the articles gave readers a fairly solid picture of how to create an itinerant life and what the trade offs might be along the way. Link to Article

8.  Field Guide To Circus Dramaturgy

What is a dramaturge and how can they help circus? Long considered the domain of theater productions, dramaturgy is being thoughtfully applied to contemporary circus in meaningful, show-improving ways, and Alison Bowie is a daramturge with a foot in both worlds. Her article describes the ways in which applying dramaturgical principles to a circus production can improve the show and enhance the marketing and educational components of a circus production as well. A must read for circus directors, producers and companies. Link to Article

9.  What Makes Performing Arts Possible?

In part one of her two-part series about performing arts, Nicki Miller  delves in to the paltry world of arts funding, calls out inadequacies and hypocrisies and highlights the limited statistics available about global circus funding and the connection between circus education through national circus schools and government funding. In part two of the series, Nicki goes from the broader concepts to the personal by honing in on her experiences over the summer as she tours Europe working with circus and theater companies, testing her personal theories, inquiring about practices and making some meaningful progress in her understanding of what steps the industry needs to take in order for the art form to move forward.  Link to Article

10.  10 Ways Circus Is Getting Hi-Tech & 5 Tips to Get Tech in Your Work

Designer and academic Katalin Lightner wrote this fascinating article which explores how circus is staying relevant and cutting edge with technology. She breaks down actual techniques used and gives examples of shows which used them, then she outlines approachable ways in which circus artists can incorporate technology in their own work. Link to Article

11.  Quick Talk with Grandma the Clown’s Alter Ego, Barry Lubin

With the revival of the Big Apple Circus this year came the triumphant return of Barry Lubin, AKA Grandma the clown, who it turns out wasn’t missing at all but was just gallivanting around the globe on various personal and professional clown missions. That’s why it was important to ask Barry some questions about his motto, his travel tips, the meaning of clowns and what he missed about Big Apple Circus when he was free ranging it. Link to Article

12.  Tightrope Walking and Zen: a Way to Be Trained to Balance

Italian circademic Giulia Schiavone wrote about one of her idols and the focus of her thesis work, Andrea Loreni in this thoughtful article about the connections Loreni explores between Zen Buddhism and his trade as a wire walker who traverses great heights. Although the metaphor of balance is almost too painfully obvious to point out, the connections she draws are often surprising and echo the social circus principles of circus training as something with personal and societal benefits bigger than the sum of its parts. Link to Article

13.  Men In the Ring — the Rise of the Boy Bands of Circus

Spanish circademic Maria Folguera addresses the gender imbalances portrayed in circus, with particular interest on the gender stereotypes, in this case ones foisted on men. Using several contemporary companies as case studies, she investigates the messages they send with their comic and tender actions, the cultural codes they smash or embrace and then declares the need for artists to take risks beyond the physical. Link to Article


Kim Campbell
Writer -USA
Kim Campbell has written about circus for CircusTalk.News, Spectacle magazine, Circus Now, Circus Promoters and was a resident for Circus Stories, Le Cirque Vu Par with En Piste in 2015 at the Montreal Completement Cirque Festival. They are the former editor of CircusTalk.News, American Circus Educators magazine, as well as a staff writer for the web publication Third Coast Review, where they write about circus, theatre, arts and culture. Kim is a member of the American Theater Critics Association.

Editor's Note: At StageLync, an international platform for the performing arts, we celebrate the diversity of our writers' backgrounds. We recognize and support their choice to use either American or British English in their articles, respecting their individual preferences and origins. This policy allows us to embrace a wide range of linguistic expressions, enriching our content and reflecting the global nature of our community.

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Kim Campbell

Kim Campbell has written about circus for CircusTalk.News, Spectacle magazine, Circus Now, Circus Promoters and was a resident for Circus Stories, Le Cirque Vu Par with En Piste in 2015 at the Montreal Completement Cirque Festival. They are the former editor of CircusTalk.News, American Circus Educators magazine, as well as a staff writer for the web publication Third Coast Review, where they write about circus, theatre, arts and culture. Kim is a member of the American Theater Critics Association.