A five-year development plan that looks at the current state and future needs of the artform, Circus in Scotland: A Blueprint for the Development of the Sector 2012 – 2017 has been produced and published by Articulation, Scotland's umbrella organisation for physical performance.
The document paints the picture of a country where the interest in circus (in youth, community and social projects, as well as professional productions) and the number of practicing artists has outgrown the available facilities. Acknowledging the work of existing small companies, the Briggait and Aerial Edge, Conflux, and those providing youth and community circus classes, the blueprint identifies the need for: greater financial stability in tandem with professional development opportunities for artists; short intensive training courses and support for emerging artists and companies to create more routes into professional practice; advocacy to encourage venues to host more circus productions; showcase events to draw national and international programmers; advocacy and support for existing initiatives in youth, community and social circus and measures to train more specialist teachers; the dissemination of information and cultural materials to raise recognition of circus as an artform; and the establishment of more facilities for training and creation.
The blueprint makes a number of practical recommendations in addressing the above, but particularly noteworthy are plans to open a new circus creation centre and venue in Edinburgh, Cubed (with plans currently at the stage of a feasibility study), and the ongoing development of the Briggait in Glasgow, which expects to become a 'major centre for circus and dance in Scotland' by 2015.
There will be four large studio spaces [at the Briggait]: two dance studios, a main circus space and a ‘mix up’ creation space. The latter two spaces will be fully equipped with high ceilings, accessible rigging points, solid dance floor, soundproofing and decent storage.
Internationally there are few places that would offer the same benefits to professional artists and companies to develop and make circus: to be given enough time to play, devise and rehearse in a space fit for purpose, for that space to be housed in a building full of other artists of many varieties, and for that building to be situated in a fast developing cultural quarter of a vibrant and dynamic city.
Circus in Scotland: A Blueprint for the Development of the Sector 2012 – 2017 [PDF] has been written by Chloë Dear and Sarah Jean Couzens on behalf of Articulation.