Helsinki's annual festival of contemporary circus and magic (possibly new magic), Cirko draws principally from Scandinavia's own strong circus scene but pulls in high-profile international work as well (recently, Compagnie Non Nova's strange and incomparable P.P.P.). Organised by Cirko – Uuden Sirkuksen Keskus (Centre for New Circus), the festival also embeds lectures and networking events; so in 2010, the year Sideshow was there, Cirko hosted the second leg of Circostrada's Arts Writers & Circus Arts programme, as well as providing platforms for producers to present to venue directors and programmers.
It's a professionally welcoming and extremely well-organised and tightly run festival, though perhaps for those not there as industry there's less of a sense of the festival behind the work it presents. It might be a character of Finnish theatre generally, but there's a peculiar abandonment at the end of each production – in twenty minutes, the audience has dispersed; in thirty, they're locking the venue. Cirko have recently moved into a new space though, an old gas factory that has been converted into a centre with performance spaces plus upstairs library and offices – and the 2011 festival will launch the new venue.