• Sideshow Timeline

    National + International Activities

    Sideshow milestones + developments


    19-22 June

    Mirabilia Festival

    @ Fossano, Italy
    Sideshow is invited to Mirabilia Festival to participate in professional meetings with the European Circus Magazines Network.

    4-8 June

    Silence Festival

    @ Kaukonen, Finland
    Sideshow is supported to visit Silence Festival, an annual event held in a remote village in Lapland, in order to write about the festival.

    31 May - 4 June

    Circus Village

    @ Oslo, Norway
    Sideshow visits Norway's Circus Village to observe a residency by the Nepali troupe Circus Kathmandu.

    12-15 February


    @ Subtopia / Hangaren, Sweden
    Sideshow attends Subcase, a three-day showcase of Nordic circus to conduct interviews for the Deconstructing Circus project. The event also includes a seminar on international cooperation.


    22-27 October

    Festival CIRCa

    Sideshow attends the 26th edition of Festival CIRCa to see shows, meet the representatives of international organisations and networks, and conduct interviews for the Deconstructing Circus project.

    August 2013 - January 2014

    Deconstructing Circus

    Sideshow receives a G4A grant from Arts Council England for Deconstructing Circus, a project producing 30 interviews with circus artists and directors.

    14-16 August 2013

    Unpack the Arts

    @ Edinburgh Festival Fringe
    Sideshow's editor is invited to give a talk on circus schools and aesthetics as part of the first UK edition of Unpack the Arts, a European project to introduce cultural journalists to contemporary circus work. The group also visit shows at Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

    8-11 August 2013

    RE RE Riga

    @ Riga, Latvia
    Sideshow attends RE RE Riga, a new festival of circus and world music tied to Riga European Capital of Culture 2014.

    20-23 June 2013

    Mirabilia Festival

    @ Fossano, Italy
    Sideshow is invited to Mirabilia Festival to participate in professional meetings with the European Circus Magazines Network. Sideshow's editor appointed network lead alongside Adolfo Rossomando (Juggling Magazine) for the next six months of activities.


    Circus Now

    @ various London venues
    Sideshow creates the website for Circus Now, a UK contemporary circus showcase aimed at producers, promoters and the representatives of funding bodies. During the showcase Sideshow's editor presents on contemporary circus aesthetics.

    28 February - 3 March

    Unpack the Arts

    @ Les Halles, Belgium
    Sideshow's editor is invited to give a talk on circus schools and aesthetics as part of the Belgian edition of Unpack the Arts, a European project to introduce cultural journalists to contemporary circus work. The group also visit shows at Hors Pistes festival in Brussels and La Piste aux Espoirs festival in Tournai.

    13-16 February


    @ Subtopia / Hangaren, Sweden
    Sideshow attends Subcase, a three-day showcase of Nordic (and, in 2013, Catalan) circus. The event also includes a seminar on touring networks and tours of the facilities of Subtopia, Cirkus Cirkör and DOCH.



    Sideshow Version 6

    Sideshow shifts over to version 6, which, along with a slight visual refresh, marks the start of a newly adjusted editorial focus. With v.6 the magazine begins to experiment with digital art, data journalism, online writing, interactive narrative, and interactive mapping; to focus on developing greater international coverage; and to act as a platform for a series of self-contained projects undertaken in partnership with other companies and organisations.

    25-30 October

    Festival CIRCa + Circostrada Meeting

    Sideshow attends the 25th edition of Festival CIRCa (formerly Festival Circa) and with it the opening of the Centre d'Innovation et de Recherche Circassien (CIRC). Sideshow also participates in an associated Circostrada meeting and a number of other industry events at the festival.

    22-24 August

    Circus Skills - Circus Art Seminar

    @ Circus Village, Sandvika, Norway
    Sideshow is invited to participate in the 'Circus Skills - Circus Art' seminar held at Sandvika (alongside a number of performances) as part of Circus Village. The seminar, moderated by Camilla Damkjaer and Jean-Michel, combines contributions from circus artists, critics and researchers in exploring the intersections of different branches of practice and thinking.

    26-28 July

    Surge Festival + Circostrada Meeting

    Sideshow attends the Surge Festival in Glasgow, organised by Conflux, and the connected Circostrada Meeting.

    13-15 June

    Meeting of European Circus Magazines Network

    @ Mirabilia Festival, Fossano, Italy
    Members of the European Circus Magazines Network meet at Mirabilia Festival to discuss:

    i) How the network magazines can embrace new media and discover new models for revenue.

    ii) The possibility of making a joint application to the EU Culture Programme to fund developmental activities.

    iii) The potential creation and use of a simple portal website that would present the network and its individual members.

    12-13 April

    Fresh Circus

    @ Parc et Grande Halle de la Villette, Paris
    A two-day seminar dedicated to establishing the best working practices and models for the sustainable growth of contemporary circus, Fresh Circus drew 400 industry professionals to Paris’ Parc et Grande Halle de la Villette. The bulk of the programme was ten working sessions that ran in two parallel sets of five. Sideshow’s editor John Ellingsworth was one of two critics selected to present in the session ‘How do you criticise circus arts?’, giving a short presentation on criticism and the necessity of finding conditions to experiment with the format and delivery of cultural journalism. John Ellingsworth wrote about the seminar for Circuscentrum’s CircusMagazine.


    Circus Post

    In April Sideshow is contracted to work on a mini-documentary series on contemporary circus produced for the BBC / ACE collaboration The Space. Sideshow’s editor John Ellingsworth feeds into the documentary at the planning stages, helping to shape the narrative and themes of the project, and writes the narration text for specific films. The results can be seen here.


    Kindle Collections

    To complement the individual article downloads, Sideshow releases two free Kindle books that collect all the site’s reviews from 2009 and 2010.


    Research Section Launched

    With the site redesign, Sideshow launches a new Research section. This area of the website provides a list of organisations around the world that are conducting research into contemporary circus, and gathers together a database of off-site research documents that can be sorted by type.


    Open Data

    In line with its commitment to open data, Sideshow begins to make some of its data exportable. The site is developed to be capable of generating CSV files for:

    i) Circus events listed on Sideshow - current and archive.

    ii) Circus festivals from Sideshow’s map.

    iii) Circus training spaces from Sideshow’s map. The data is made available in the hope that it can be reused in other contexts or for new research projects.


    Downloadable Articles

    As the first in a series of planned experiments with format and delivery – how people read writing, where they get it from, how it’s presented – and as an action toward Sideshow’s goal of reconnecting readers with long-form journalism, Sideshow offers downloadable versions of all new articles (and begins to convert old ones).

    All reviews, features and interviews on the site can be downloaded, for free, in Kindle (.mobi) and ePUB formats, as a plain HTML file, as Word and Open Office documents, and as a PDF. Text-only versions are provided partly to improve access for people using screen readers.


    Site Redesign

    Sideshow launches a redesigned website. The new design:

    i) Responds to the rising number of users viewing the site on mobile and touchscreen devices by improving navigation.

    ii) Adds a Research section, makes articles downloadable, and reinforces Sideshow’s commitment to open data.

    iii) Introduces RSS feeds for specific content types.


    Magazine Issue 2

    The second issue of Sideshow Magazine is published 26 February 2012, with a special focus on Auch, France and Festival Circa. Issue #2 is published only in digital formats, and collects ten articles and reviews, including a major interview with the director Aurélien Bory, an article by the US choreographer and artist Kevin O’Connor on his work with ensemble aerial, and a preview of the Roundhouse’s CircusFest.


    European Circus Magazines Network

    At the beginning of 2012 Sideshow joins a new informal network of European circus magazines. The members of the network are: Sideshow Magazine (UK); Stradda (France); Kaskade (Germany); Juggling Magazine (Italy); Zirkolika (Spain); Ambidextro (Spain); Sirkuspyramidi (Finland); CircusMagazine (Belgium).

    The goals of the network are:

    i) To advertise the work of other members in the network and to collaborate on joint promotional activities.
    ii) To identify emergent trends in arts journalism and to exchange ideas on content production and delivery.
    iii) To share information concerning upcoming festivals and events and to explore the possibility of working together to broaden international coverage.



    Print and Digital Magazine Issue 1

    After a two-month period of writing, editing and design Sideshow releases a 48-page magazine.

    Issue #1 of Sideshow Magazine contains 14 articles and reviews, including a lead feature on the circus scene in Bristol, England, a preview of Sugar Beast Circus’ {Event(Dimension):}, and an interview with Ivan Kralj, the director of Croatia’s Festival Novog Cirkusa.

    The issue is available in both print and digital formats (PDF, .mobi (Kindle), ePUB, Word and Open Office). The print and digital editions are priced roughly the same, and the purpose of releasing the magazine is partly to test which format readers prefer. By the end of the year there is approximately a 60/40 split of print to digital.

    21-27 October

    Festival Circa

    @ Auch, France
    For the second year running, Sideshow travels to Auch for Festival Circa. Work by Karl Stets, CNAC, Kitsou Dubois, DeFracto, Bibeu et Humphrey, Le GdRA, and others is supplemented with professional meetings such as a Circostrada-organised presentation of new projects seeking financial and production support.

    Sideshow’s report from the festival formed the bulk of the magazine published later in February 2012.


    Artists Map Launched

    Sideshow opens its map to users of the site. Circus artists can create a profile and appear both on the map and in a list of artists that’s sortable by country and discipline (corde lisse, trapeze, handbalancing, etc). The purpose of the project is raise the profile of the artists listed on the map, but also to suggest connections between artists based on location and skills.

    10-15 July

    Circostrada Visit to Montreal

    With the support of the festival Montréal Complètement Cirque, Sideshow joins a small group of European circus and street arts professionals visiting Montreal as part of Circostrada’s Explore Third Countries programme. The group visits the Cité des arts du cirque (La TOHU, the Cirque du Soleil headquarters, and the École nationale de cirque), the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, and the Édifice Gaston-Miron (the building for the Conseil des arts de Montréal), as well as attending performances at Montréal Complètement Cirque. An extensive report of the visit can be read here.


    Training Spaces Map Launched

    Sideshow’s map gains another layer of information with the addition of circus training spaces. 29 training spaces are listed, in 11 countries, that offer open training for circus professionals.

    The goal of the service is to promote the mobility of circus artists by connecting them to local networks outside their normal context, and to provide guidance to those practitioners (especially in the US) who are isolated from facilities.

    4-8 May

    Circostrada Network and Cirko Festival

    @ Cirko Center, Helsinki
    In May Sideshow attends Cirko Festival for the unveiling of the new Cirko Center, a refitted ex-gasworks at the Suvilahti facility in north east Helsinki. Sideshow also joins Circostrada (a European Network of circus and street arts organisations collaborating to promote best practice) and sits in on a series of meetings and working sessions taking place within the frame of the festival. John Ellingsworth wrote about the festival and the new Center here.

    16 April

    Circus Advocacy Day

    @ macrobert, University of Stirling, Scotland
    Organised by Iron Oxide to promote the development of contemporary circus in Scotland, the Circus Advocacy Day schedules a series of short talks and performances for a small group of venue programmers and circus professionals. John Ellingsworth represents Sideshow at the event and delivers a short presentation on the state of criticism in the performing arts and on the adjustments that need to be made within the relationship between critics and arts venues to ensure a healthy critical ecology.


    Market Launched

    Sideshow opens an online market where users can purchase books, DVDs, magazines and digital downloads. The market stocks literature that is otherwise not available in the UK, but, in its first year, also has customers from Switzerland, the US, Denmark, Canada, the Netherlands, Ireland, Italy, Germany, France, Sweden, Norway, Argentina, Belgium, Slovenia, Japan, Estonia, and Australia.

    14-19 February

    CASCAS Trip to Sweden

    @ Stockholm, Sweden
    Awarded a place on the CASCAS programme (a European project to promote the international mobility of circus and street arts operatives) Sideshow’s editor John Ellingsworth is part of a small group led on a six-day tour of Sweden’s impressive circus infrastructure. Sites visited include Subtopia (home to Cirkus Cirkör, a circus village, and the dedicated circus venue Hangaren), Södra Teatern, Stockholm Academy of Dramatic Arts, Kulturhuset, the University of Dance and Circus, and Orionteatern. During the last two days of the trip, the CASCAS group attend Subcase, a curated showcase of Scandinavian circus. An article documenting the visit and disseminating its findings can be read here.


    Library Launched

    Sideshow opens its Library, which collects together information and listings on books, magazines and DVDs relating to contemporary circus. Along with Sideshow’s market, the library:

    i) Addresses the lack of circus literature published in the UK by directing users to available resources.

    ii) Contributes toward Sideshow’s long-term goal of further connecting production activity and the work of artists with critical thinking and research practice.


    12-14 November

    Festival Novog Cirkusa, Zagreb

    With the support of the festival, Sideshow attends the historic sixth edition of Festival Novog Cirkusa, a one-day iteration where presentations of work by Compagnie Non Nova and The Red Room cabaret artists are accompanied by a Museum of Festival Relics and a lecture from Jennifer Miller of New York’s Circus Amok.

    6-7 November

    Jeunes Talents Cirque Presentations

    @ Theatre de la Cite Internationale, Paris
    Sideshow travels to Paris to attend the Jeunes Talents Cirque Europe presentations – a series of 20 minute performance extracts from the twelve companies supported by the JTCE scheme, shown to an industry audience of 400 press, promoters, directors and funders. While in Paris, Sideshow also visits the Espace Périphérique, where the UK JTCE laureates Kecca Rocca are undertaking a short residency, and tours the Académie Fratellini building in Saint-Denis.

    25-30 October

    Festival Circa

    @ Auch, France
    With the support of the festival, Sideshow visits Festival Circa in Auch, France. In documenting the festival, Sideshow publishes 8 reviews and 2 features, covering work from France, Belgium, Spain, and Switzerland.

    24 October

    Village de Cirque

    @ Parc Pelouse de Reuilly, Paris
    Sideshow attends the Village de Cirque festival in Paris’ Pelouse de Reuilly park to report on works by the French companies Collectif AOC and Cie Barolosolo.

    23 October

    Promoters Exchange at Carte Blanche

    @ Lighthouse, Poole
    Sideshow attends a one-day promoters exchange at Lighthouse, Poole. The event is organised as an activity of the Cross Channel Circus Alliance, and seeks to increase the understanding of contemporary circus work among venues and producers and to develop potential new collaborations between agents in England and France.

    The exchange aims to:

    i) Provide promoters with a taste of the contemporary circus work being produced by emerging and established artists.

    ii) Provide British (and French) programmers and producers with networking opportunities and encourage collaboration.

    iii) Provide networking for artists and promoters to meet each other.


    News + Newsletter

    Following the site redesign, Sideshow opens a news section and begins to publish festival previews, company and industry news, and jobs and opportunities for professional circus artists. Sideshow’s users can also sign-up for a free monthly newsletter that summarises the site’s recent activity, or can subscribe to receive news via RSS.


    New Site + The Map

    Following a three-month redevelopment, Sideshow switches to a new site build, and a new CMS. Moving from Joomla! to Drupal enables the site to capture more meta data and to map content by location with the use of the OpenLayers library.

    The goal of the map is:

    i) To give a quick, simple overview of contemporary circus activity in Europe.

    ii) To facilitate the mobility of circus artists by introducing them to the artform’s international context.

    iii) To begin to make connections with countries under-represented in existing European projects (the South American countries, China, Cambodia, etcetera).

    iv) To collect location meta data in a reusable format (WKT Collection Points) that can be easily imported into other systems.

    6-13 May

    Cirko Festival, Helsinki

    Sideshow’s editor John Ellingsworth is selected as one of eight participants in the second Arts Writers & Circus Arts seminar arranged by Circostrada in partnership with Cirko Festival, the Finnish Circus Information Centre, and the New Nordic Circus Network. During this four-day seminar (9-12 May) cultural journalists from around Scandinavia see work at Cirko Festival, interview the presenting artists, attend lectures from contemporary circus experts, and exchange their experiences of working in media in Europe. Each of the participants contributed an article to a PDF that was published later in the year.

    8-9 April

    Cross Spring

    @ La brèche, France
    Sideshow attends Cross Spring, a mini-festival programmed within Cherbourg’s larger Spring season to showcase UK work to French audiences and promoters. While there, Sideshow also attends the Circus at the Crossings Seminar, organised by La brèche in collaboration with ODIA, Performing Arts Touring and Information Office in Normandie in order to exchange on the differing statuses of contemporary circus in England and France.


    Event Listings

    Sideshow opens an events listings service that covers the whole of UK contemporary circus. The purpose of the listings is both to raise the profile of current work among audiences in and outside the country, and to begin to create an intelligent archive of circus activity in the UK that’s interconnected with rich meta data. Events are tagged with their company/artist, their date, and their location.

    15-16 February

    Jeunes Talents Cirque Europe

    @ Stratford Circus, London
    Sideshow is invited to watch extracts of seven of the projects selected for the Jeunes Talents Cirque Europe 2010-11 shortlist, and to sit in on the jury presentations. John Ellingsworth wrote about the JTCE scheme here



    Guardian Mentoring

    In August 2009, the Circus Development Agency arranges for Sideshow’s editor, John Ellingsworth, to be mentored by the Guardian critic Lyn Gardner in reviewing and writing for mainstream media. As part of the mentoring programme, John writes a number of reviews under Lyn’s guidance, as well as a handful of blogs that are published on the Guardian website.

    To complement the Guardian mentorship and to facilitate the further transfer of skills, the CDA arranges for John to in turn mentor emerging critical writers. Three new writers are accompanied to see a number of circus productions and are then guided through the process of writing a review. The two interlinked schemes were arranged by the CDA to raise the profile of contemporary circus in the UK’s national media at the same time as developing grass roots critical practice.


    Sideshow Launches

    In May 2009 Sideshow launches as an online magazine for contemporary circus, with three sections covering reviews, interviews and features.

    The goals of this first iteration of Sideshow are to:

    i) Create a body of critical literature around contemporary circus that is aware of the artform’s history and context.

    ii) Address the lack of coverage in the UK for circus productions playing outside of large-scale venues and festivals.

    iii) Promote UK circus internationally and introduce overseas programmers to UK artists and companies.