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Project information

Circus Evolution

Circus Evolution takes circus out of London, giving audiences outside the capital an opportunity to see quality work where they live. We work with venues across the UK, we extend the reach of circus into regional communities and bring magical, memorable, and moving experiences for all to enjoy.

January 2015 - December 2015

Charity information: Crying Out Loud

Crying Out Loud logo
  • Need


    Contemporary circus is an accessible art form, with wide appeal, but most of it takes place in large cities and festivals. There is a big gap between audiences in London, who have access to high quality work on their doorstep and many areas of the UK. Regional venues are keen to programme circus, but they are not confident as it can be technically challenging; and involve many artists. Also, they want tickets to be affordable so people can take a chance and see something different.


    Circus Evolution works with ten regional venues in Barnsley, Coventry, Derby, Great Yarmouth, Hull, Huddersfield, Ipswich, Luton, Oxford, Poole. Each has a different level of experience working with contemporary circus. We will:
    1) Enable them to understand, programme, and market circus work and help them curate more contemporary circus into their seasons.
    2) Introduce new UK and international circus shows to UK audiences outside of London

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Bring high quality contemporary circus to venues and communities where it is not normally available


    » Research the best shows available for regional touring, through networking and attending showcases.

    What success will look like

    Success will be measured by sourcing two shows that the partner venues are keen to present to their audiences.

    Aim 2

    Introduce contemporary circus to new audiences, including those with low engagement with the Arts.


    » Select high quality, moving and memorable circus shows that are audience-friendly for first-timers
    » Provide venues with marketing material, including a wide-range of images and video, to entice their audiences
    » Work with venues in creating ‘events’ around new shows to increase engagement with audiences
    » Utilise social media to provide ample word-of-mouth reviews to inform audiences of what to expect

    What success will look like

    Success will be measured by box office numbers, social media/online engagement, and the number of new and repeat audience members at other circus shows.

    Aim 3

    Empower partner venues through experience and training to understand more on programming circus.


    » Provide skill development sessions to train technical staff on circus-specific technical needs
    » Develop specialist marketing support specific to audiences at each venue
    » “Go and See” activity for programming staff to book shows appropriate for their audiences

    What success will look like

    Success will be measured by venues feeling confident to continue programming contemporary circus into their regular seasons.

  • Impact


    Audiences, new and old to circus, will benefit from having exciting work tour to venues closer to home. Growing audiences and improved expertise will enable venues to become more confident that they can afford to programme circus for audiences in the future. This initial support can benefit the longer-term opportunities for more audiences to experience contemporary circus and more shows being programmed across the UK.


    Some of the venue audiences have no experience with this particular type of work. We mitigate this risk by conducting audience surveys and research on audience behaviours for each location. By understanding audience needs we know what type of work appeals to them and how we need to market it.

    Venues could lose staff, funding, or dropout for other reasons. Should a venue need to leave, we have alternative venues that wish to be involved.


    We thank all donors, personally, and also ask if they would to be thanked on our website. We plan donor updates on the project as it reaches particular milestones. For donors over £100 we offer two complementary tickets to one show. We reply to any individual requests for information from donors.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £189,407

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £102,000 Artists' Fees Performing artists' fees
      £63,653 Artists' Accom. & Subsistence Artists hotel costs and subsistence
      £11,074 Travel Artists travel and production/equipment freight
      £12,680 Production & Management Organisation and producing the tour

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Arts Council England £70,500 Guaranteed
    Venue Income £89,700 Conditional
    Fundraising (Embassies, Trusts, etc.) £17,207 Conditional
  • Background


    Our locations are Barnsley, Coventry, Derby; Huddersfield, Hull , Great Yarmouth, Ipswich, Luton, Oxford, Poole.

    These locations contain communities with low engagement with the arts. In partnership with the venues we wish to encourage these audiences to experience contemporary circus. Circus is inherently accessible - it has no language or auditory barriers, nor does it require any specialist knowledge, so families or groups with mixed needs can attend together.


    Audiences and regional communities will benefit from high quality work touring to their towns.

    The participating venues will benefit in gaining new skills and tools to better understand their audience market. By programming circus, they may also attract new audiences and increase overall audience numbers.

    UK and international circus artists will also benefit by being able to tour regionally and have extra tour dates – therefore reaching a more diverse and greater audience.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Since 2002, Crying Out Loud have created an unparalleled reputation for discovering and touring the best of international and UK contemporary circus. Trusted by venues and festivals, we fulfil a crucial role in recommending and providing work. As our experience has grown so too has our role, in a thriving sector we play a leadership role in developing artists, audiences and infrastructure to support sector development.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Rachel Clare

    Rachel Clare, Artistic Director, has produced contemporary circus for many years. Her knowledge of artists and shows is key to the project.

    Jackie Friend

    Jackie Friend, Marketing and Audience Development Manager leads this critical area, working with venues, and enabling the success of our shows.

    Axel Satgé

    Axel Satgé, Touring Manager, holds the overview of all current tours and ensures that all the practical logistics are sorted with venues and artists.

What is Circus?