LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, BOYS AND GIRLS... welcome to the big top blog of Douglas McPherson, author of CIRCUS MANIA, the book described by Gerry Cottle as "A passionate and up-to-date look at the circus and its people."

Sunday, 9 March 2014

National Centre For Circus Arts takes circus to new heights in the UK

Circus Space
Once a derelict power station, now the new
National Centre for Circus Arts

For years, circus has existed on the fringe of British entertainment, much less culture. The very word 'circus' is often used as a derogatory term: media circus, for example.

But this week the world of acrobats and funambulists will attain a new level of respectability as culture minister Ed Vaizey announces the government’s decision to elevate Circus Space, London’s leading circus school, to a new status - the National Centre for Circus Arts.

National Centre for Circus Arts represents a major step up for the profile of circus in the UK, and also recognises the increasing use of circus skills in mainstream theatre productions and other spheres of entertainment.
Flying high
the new National Centre for Circus Arts
More than just a change of name, having a

Theatre director Stephen ’Billy Elliot’ Daldry, who collaborated with Circus Space for his staging of the London 2012 Olympics ceremonies described the new national status as "a great validation," while Jane Rice-Bowen, joint chief executive of the National Centre said: "This word 'national' will help people to realise that circus is something special. Our vision is a culture of circus in the UK. So, when mum sees little Tommy climbing up the curtains or doing something terrifying on the climbing-frame, she doesn't go, 'Oh my God, you're going to kill yourself, get down'. She’ll say, 'that kid could be the next great circus artist'."

Founded 25 years ago by a group of performers looking for a space to train and teach, Circus Space grew from the ash and pigeon feathers of an abandoned Victorian power station to become Britain's only training facility to offer a BA Hons degree in Circus Arts.

Read the full story of Circus Space in Circus Mania - a backstage journey through the world of sword-swallowers, tiger trainers, trapeze artists, clowns and showmen. The Mail on Sunday described Circus Mania as “A brilliant account of a vanishing art form.”

But, hey, perhaps the circus ain’t quite ready to vanish just yet.

Gerry Cottle (l) and Dr Haze
from the Circus of Horrors
help author Douglas McPherson
launch Circus Mania at
what was then Circus Space
and is now the
National Centre for Circus Arts
Click here to read about Britain's only degree course in circus arts and click here to see pictures of the new National Centre for Circus Arts when it was still a power station.

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