The future is bright for the circus sector in the south-west!

2 November 2023

A new Arts Council England funded project will showcase the innovation and creativity of the circus sector in the area, cultivating and touring incredible circus shows Around and About the south-west in 2024. 

Circus Around and About 2 will build on the successful 2021 pilot tour and go to new lengths to foster the burgeoning UK contemporary circus sector and tour extraordinary circus shows to rural and urban communities across the region. This 21 month project is spearheaded by a partnership between Somerset-based Take Art, London and Portsmouth based Crying Out Loud and national touring Extraordinary Bodies.

As part of a South West network, Super Culture is thrilled to continue on this exciting journey with Circus Around and About 2, having brought a diverse range of circus and outdoor arts acts to the locality during the pilot period. These included shows at Whirligig Festival and Party on the Green in Weston, Portishead Summer Show and a series of one-off events at the Marine Lakes in Clevedon and Portishead that provided socially spaced entertainment as communities came out of lockdown. 

The second phase, in collaboration with Diverse City, will focus on access, enabling Super Culture to build on the success of its recent partnership with the company and co-production of SW!M 75, which celebrated the 75th anniversary of the NHS as part of the Weston Arts + Health Weekender. 

Fiona Matthew, creative director at Super Culture, said: 

“The popularity of our Whirligig Festival shows just how much circus and outdoor arts excite and resonate with North Somerset communities.  ‘Circus Around and About’ is a brilliant opportunity to work with national partners such as Diverse City and Take Art to ripple that circus energy throughout North Somerset’s year, and to explore how we can make the offer as accessible and inclusive as possible.”

Circus Around and About 2 will add value to everyone involved in the under-supported circus sector. The new and ambitious project will work with: 

  • Educational institutions like Circomedia in Bristol, supporting rising circus artists to tour to audiences and progress their careers
  • Professional UK-based and international companies to create suitable work for rural audiences, and communities to present shows that provide access to great entertainment for their friends and neighbours
  • Organisations like Extraordinary Bodies, incorporating inclusive and progressive routines in everyday practice
  • Festivals, organisations and venues like Strike a Light (Gloucester), Super Culture (Weston Super Mare & North Somerset), School of Larks (Stroud), Artspace Cinderford (Forest of Dean) to programme high quality contemporary circus shows
  • Rural touring agencies including Carn to Cove (Cornwall), Beaford Arts (North Devon), Villages in Action (Devon), Artsreach (Dorset), Air in G (Gloucestershire) as well as Take Art (Somerset)
  • Bristol’s Circus City festival network and Circus Change Up, a national advocacy organisation, in collaboration with Bristol based Handstand Arts

“Through Circus Around And About II we hope to strengthen the south-west rich mix of contemporary circus artists, training schools, festivals and local touring networks.” Ralph Lister, Executive Director, Take Art

“We are delighted to be following up the CAAA pilot with a second scheme bringing more circus to more people, connecting communities through memorable and magical experiences.” Rachel Clare, Artistic Director, Crying Out Loud

“We are so looking forward to broadening access for local audiences to great circus experiences. It will be brilliant to share what we have learned so everyone can take part in entertainment on their doorstep.” Becky Chapman, Executive Director, Diverse City for Extraordinary Bodies



Images by Marie-Dominique@JustUsPhotography.