Published by the theatre and performing arts press STUTS and a project of the New Nordic Circus Network, An Introduction to Contemporary Circus brings together five texts. The largest, by Tomi Purovaara, provides a sweeping overview of the historical developments that have directed circus' development as an artform before shifting to focus on some specific companies and aesthetic facets of the contemporary scene. The other four pieces, which make up the second half of the book, are shorter essays that go into the detail of circus' development in the Scandinavian territories: Purovaara writes about Finland; Camilla Damkjær and Kiki Muukkonen about Sweden; Sverre Waage about Norway; and Stine Degerbøl and Katrien Verwilt about Denmark.
Purovaara, formerly the managing director of the Finnish Circus Information Centre, now the director of the new CIRKO Center and one of the key figures in Finnish circus' recent startling rise, wrote the book's main text in Finnish in 2004. It was published (under the title Nykysirkus) to introduce 'this (then new) artform to the Finnish art scene and to cultural decision makers [...] but also, in a way, to give a voice to the artists who at the time didn't have any written record of their work and their art'. Republishing the book in English, 'the same intentions are relevant – to give voice and exposure to the artform – but now it's focusing on the Nordic countries. We in the New Nordic Circus Network hope that this book can be a tool for better recognition and understanding of contemporary circus among decision makers, critics and artists. And – why not – a tool to spread the word about Nordic contemporary circus to other countries and areas. Maybe some of our projects and processes could be used as an example of ways to develop circus, and of the kind of collaboration between countries that might be needed to nurture and enhance a new artform...'
An Introduction to Contemporary Circus is available through STUTS and is currently 100SEK (around £10) + p&p.