Spring is a circus festival that spreads over the French region of Normandy but that has its heart at La Brèche, a creation centre in Cherbourg dedicated entirely to contemporary circus. The centre's facilities are extraordinary, but most of the year it's not a producing venue – the space is taken up by resident artists who are there to work on their shows, whether in the earliest or the latest phases, and who don't perform there outside of the context of informal and work-in-progress showings.
So Spring is a once a year chance to put on full, finished productions. Naturally the programme favours artists and companies who've been resident at La Brèche, but within Spring there's also an embedded mini festival, Cross Spring, that collects a small programme of work from another country: in 2010, artists from the UK; for 2011, Quebec. They come to perform, but are able as well to take a small residency in the centre beforehand.
« I don't know if it was the French sentiment or the fact that it [The Sugar Beast Circus Show] was happening at La Brèche and people were very familiar with circus, but it felt like people were looking at our work and not just saying, This is a piece of circus, but maybe looking at it like it was also taking onboard ideas of performance art and installation and narratives that are less linear – and the idea that objects can play a role as characters.
I'd done two weeks at La Brèche in the caravans the year before [working on Layla Rosa's What If...?] and then we were there for a week and stayed in the other housing. And both experiences were just... there's a sense that, I don't know, the process of working on a project and presenting something is part of life – the kind of breath of being supported and being in a nurturing environment allows everyone to relax. And of course the facilities in the big space are amazing. Rigging in there was such a treat – there's this mesh grid and you can hang everything exactly where you want it. The show looked really good in there, because the space facilitated it. When you've worked in a theatre that supports your work so well it makes you more confident in what you're making. »
Geneva Foster Gluck, Artistic Director of The Sugar Beast Circus, who presented work at Cross Spring 2010