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Pressemitteilung : La Nuit du Cirque 2021


25 OCTOBER 2021

Event organized by Territoires de Cirque with support from the French Ministry of Culture in collaboration with Circostrada, circusnext, and the Institut français

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*Founded in 2004 after the success of the Année des Arts du Cirque [Year of the Circus Arts], today the Territoires de Cirque network brings together 56 organizations – including the 13 official national circus centers in France – that are committed to supporting the emergence, creation, and distribution of the contemporary circus. The members of the network are open to all types of aesthetics in the performing or specialized arts, and they include research laboratories, national or nationally recognized performance venues, city theaters, cultural services, festivals, heritage sites, production facilities, and other organizations.




12, 13, & 14 NOVEMBER 2021

In metropolitan France and overseas France, across Europe, and around the world…

After the health crisis and the associated restrictions on travel and gatherings meant that the 2020 edition had to be transformed into an online event, this year’s Nuit du Cirque will be an opportunity for reunions, freedom, momentum, and movement. More than ever before, the program selected by Territoires de Cirque reflects the event’s dynamic spirit and its capacity to cross frontiers…

Thanks to the support of our international partners and the enthusiasm of cultural organizations worldwide, the Nuit du Cirque will offer nearly 220 happenings, including 50 in European countries outside of metropolitan France, seven in Overseas France territories, and shows in Argentina and Burkina Faso! This diverse program is the encouraging result of the Territoires de Cirque’s steadfast commitment to an international outlook in the wake of the Covid era.

Territoires de Cirque was supported in these efforts by the Institut français (a public institution responsible for France’s international cultural initiatives that is under the joint supervision of the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Culture), Circostrada (the European network for circus and street arts), and circusnext (the European circus label).

The Nuit du Cirque is organized by Territoires de Cirque and supported by the French Ministry of Culture. In addition to the members of the Territoires de Cirque network, numerous distribution and production facilities, local governments, circus schools, artistic teams, and other organizations, both throughout France and abroad, are taking part in this edition of the Nuit du Cirque.

– The members of Territoires de Cirque*

A vibrant synergy has emerged among the 12 countries and overseas territories that are taking part in this year’s Nuit du Cirque, and it reveals how the collaborative dimension of the event is echoing beyond the borders of metropolitan France. The Nuit du Cirque is an opportunity to weave new connections within the framework of the event and to reinforce existing cooperations between French and international organizations.

In Germany…

The association Forum Neuer Zirkus in Berlin (in partnership with BUZZ, the German network for the contemporary circus) coordinates the Nuit du Cirque – “Zeit für Zirkus” – for the entire German territory. In addition to member organizations of the Circostrada and circusnext networks, many other partners are taking part in the third edition of the Nuit du Cirque. In total, Germany will host 35 events, including 24 shows, workshops, screenings, and discussions that are being held by 19 organizations in 13 cities, including Karlsruhe, Cologne, Berlin, Hamburg, Herne, Munich, and Bremen. 

The momentum for the Nuit du Cirque in Germany has been enhanced by the active Franco-German cooperation facilitated by Le Palc, the national circus center in Châlons-en-Champagne in the northeast of France. 

Le Palc is a partner of the Zirkus ON program, which supports circus creation in Germany. For this new edition of the Nuit du Cirque, Le Palc will host the French premiere of “René”, a show by the Sinking Sideways company that Zirkus ON selected in 2021. In January 2022, Le Palc will participate in the selection of newly created performances and will host a company in residence and present their show. This cooperation is born from the desire to create a dialogue between aesthetic and artistic approaches, to encourage the distribution of works on both sides of the Franco-German border, and to promote cross-border initiatives. There is still only a limited range of venues that regularly program contemporary circus performances in Germany. For artists supported by Zirkus ON, having an artistic residency and giving a performance in Châlons-en-Champagne is an excellent opportunity to make new contacts, benefit from new perspectives on their show, and eventually be distributed in France. 

Through the Festival Loostik, Le Palc will also present another show at the Nuit du Cirque: “TRAIT(s)” by the SCoM company and Coline Garcia. This collaboration with the Festival Loostik provides a platform for an emerging company and makes an important contribution to the development of contemporary circus writing for young audiences.

These multiple areas of cooperation are part of a positive dynamic that is laying the groundwork for a larger cross-border project in Europe.

Also within the framework of the Nuit du Cirque, two French companies have been programmed at venues in Germany with the support of the Institut français: the show “La Fuite” by Olivier Meyrou, featuring Matias Pilet and Leonardo Ferreira, will be performed at La Maison des Francophonies at the Centre Français de Berlin, as part of the Festival des Francophonies de Berlin; meanwhile, the show “Inquiétude” by the Rouen company El Nucleo will be performed at the Zirkus Salto cultural center in Hannover.

Alice Greenhill of Forum Neuer Zirkus and BUZZ in Berlin explains that “the motivation is to gain international visibility and to show that thanks to the commitment of many organizations, things are happening at the local level despite the lack of means. In 2021, many shows were created as a result of the first program launched by the German government at the federal level to specifically support the contemporary circus (as part of a larger program to support the cultural sector during the pandemic). With the Nuit du Cirque in Germany, we are creating a platform to present these shows along with other new creations.” She also notes that the event allows public authorities to see the vitality of the contemporary German circus scene:“Germany is known above all for its tradition of variety shows. There are few companies based in Germany. Artists go abroad for their training and not very many return to Germany because residencies, distribution possibilities, and subsidies are rare. Participating in the Nuit du Cirque gives us a chance to attract the attention of public institutions in Germany, to show them the dynamic nature and the potential of the German circus scene.” And finally, she explains that the event is part of efforts to mobilize a well-structured programming network. “With this project, we are creating a network of programmers who are committed to the contemporary circus and are inviting new venues in Germany to open up to this art form. We hope to gain resonance with the media and attract new audiences.”

You can find the entire program for the French/German cooperation on and on the Zeit für Zirkus website.

In Switzerland…

ProCirque, the professional association for the circus arts and a member of the Circostrada network, is coordinating the third edition of the Nuit du Cirque in Switzerland.

For the Nuit du Cirque in Switzerland, five venues will present six shows and a total of 13 performances in cities such as Sion, Zürich, and Bienne.

Performances will include “Stickman”, a highly original contemporary show by Darragh McLoughlin, “Wagenvarieté”, a unique show where artists from various disciplines perform in individually designed circus wagons (mulled wine and sweets are even offered to the audience in the Wagon-bar); “Voodoo Sandwich” by Augustin Rebetez and Niklas Blomberg, a do-it-yourself voodoo ceremony; “Lab Rats” by the Cie Moost – Marc Oosterhoff; “Vol d’usage” by the Cie Quotidienne; and “Spectacle O’Chap” by the Cie O’Chap.

For the complete and updated program, visit and, for the Swiss program, The contemporary circus in Switzerland is creating a place of its own!

A creative dynamic that is also flourishing in overseas territories! 

The Le Séchoir performance venue in Saint-Leu in Reunion Island has helped expand the circus adventure to territories such as Madagascar and Guadeloupe, where the Métis’Gwa cultural association, despite the multiple constraints linked to the health crisis, has been able to adapt and present events such as a screening of “Villes invisibles intermédiaires” [Invisible intermediate cities] and a series of urban circus walks.

And in the near future, there will be even more circus events and more circus companies if we are to believe the infectious enthusiasm of Gilles Cailleau, the director of Le Séchoir: “I predict that this very fundamental appetite for sharing will continue to unite us and become the starting point for a genuine network that extends beyond the national territory to include places like South Africa, Mauritius, Mozambique, etc. I believe this all the more because this kind of evolving network can help everybody because it will support training and facilitate exchanges, a kind of ‘Era Circus’ in the making!” (Interview for the Nuit du Cirque 2021 Media Kit).

Still more! Events or performances in Burkina Faso, Argentina, and Serbia…

Thanks to the support of the Institut français, contemporary circus creation from countries such as Burkina Faso, Argentina, or Serbia will also be in the spotlight during the third edition of the Nuit du Cirque. Within the event’s open and innovative framework, creation is prolific and tends to extend both beyond borders and off the beaten track. As Vanessa Silvy, Circus Project Manager at the Department of Development and Artistic Cooperation, explains: “Circus performances are increasingly successful on an international level and programmers are very interested in this discipline, they no longer hesitate to take big chances by hosting daring shows.”

In Burkina Faso, an initiative began in 2010 to train and support young people in the circus arts. The program is managed by the Espace Rencontre Jeunesse de Dafra (ERJD), Africa Unite, and the Institut français in Bobo-Dioulasso with the support of the national circus center in Châlons-en-Champagne and the École de Cirque de Lyon. The program has evolved over the years, and it eventually led to the creation of the Festival des Arts du Cirque de Bobo-Dioulasso, whose seventh edition is scheduled from 8 to 13 November 2021. 

The Festival des Arts du Cirque de Bobo-Dioulasso is a platform for shows where the classical circus mixes with acrobatic, traditional, and contemporary dances. It aims to be a moment for development, reflection, and sharing of experiences between artists, and between circus performers and the audiences, especially young people. In the future, it hopes to become a laboratory for the circus arts that fosters the mixing of circus techniques, acrobatic traditions from different regions of Burkina Faso, contemporary dance, and theatrical techniques (performances and street arts) – disciplines that have a strong presence in Bobo-Dioulasso and constitute the city’s artistic DNA. This festival is only the visible phase of work that has been carried out over the last ten years to promote the circus in Bobo Dioulasso through initiation workshops, training courses, and the development of the coaches and circus artists involved in this one-of-a-kind festival in the region. The program for Burkina Faso includes the show “I am a Man” by the Sencirk company from Senegal; a round table on creating a circus ecosystem in Burkina Faso; a dance/circus performance with the winner of the “Simply the Best” competition from the Ankata next generation event at the Ankata choreography center; and the projection of the films “Une vie de cirque” [A life of circus] by Bruno Lemesle, and “Royal de luxe, retour de Chine” by Dominique Deluze in conjunction with the IFcinéma platform by the Institut français.

For the Nuit du Cirque in Argentina, the company NDE, directed by Nicanor de Elia, will be in Buenos Aires and Rosario to present the shows “Juventud” and “Copyleft”, to hold workshops for professional and amateur groups, and to participate in a round table on the contemporary circus. 

The Cirque Français has been active in Argentina for many years, and in 2021 they opened a program with the NDE company, called Estreno, to foster exchanges and training actions. In addition to Argentina, this program involves five of the eight other member countries of the Relais Spécialisé Spectacle Vivant* initiative piloted by the Institut français: Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Uruguay. The objectives of this program are to support training spaces dedicated to the circus (mainly university courses and facilities connected to the European Federation of Professional Circus Schools), to meet the needs of young circus artists in training, to explore the processes of contemporary creation and, finally, to encourage international mobility – notably through the creation of scholarships allowing access to the entrance exams for French training centers and graduate schools. A film has been produced ( that explores the paths, aspirations, and ambitions of young Latin American circus artists who have studied at major French schools such as the CNAC national circus center, the Ésacto’Lido, and the Académie Fratellini. The latter school is actively involved in this training project and, for 20 days, will design and supervise an intensive training course and a creation workshop (staging, scenography, costumes). The show that is created as a result of this project will be presented in France and in the member countries of the Relais Spécialisé Spectacle Vivant network.

Finally, this edition features the participation of Serbia with the show “Duel” by the Un Loup pour l’Homme company, which will be presented in Belgrade.

*To strengthen the performing arts and the visual arts, the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Culture, and the Institut français have created specialized “Relais Spécialisé Spectacle Vivant” networks in Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Southeast Europe, China, the United States, and Spanish-speaking South America.

And also…

In addition to Guadeloupe, Reunion Island, Madagascar, Germany, Switzerland, Burkina Faso, Argentina, and Serbia, numerous other countries are hosting events for the Nuit du Cirque: 

Belgium: “Du cirque sur tous les territoires” by École de cirque de Marchin, Cia Doïsacordes, and Cirque Barbette // “Portraits” by Side-Show // “L’Absolu” by Les Choses de Rien, Boris Gibé // “Dieselnation” by Mardulier en Deprez 

Portugal: “Mutabilia” by Teatro do Mar // “HOSE” by Daniel Seabra

Austria: “Extreme Symbiosis” by Acrobalance // “Cuir” by Un Loup pour l’Homme

Spain: “Suspención” by Nueve Uno // “Masa Madre” by Compañía Caí

Latvia: “Surface” by Familiar Faces, “Ol’that” by Aleksy Smolov

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