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Marseille, the city in the south of France, will see the Biennale internationale des arts du cirque for the third time from January 11 to February 10. The French are in the habit of organizing spectacular events and they pride with circus and circus arts. Both traditional and contemporary circus are rooted here, and circus arts receive substantial support from the state.

The aim of the biennale organizers is to present as many French companies and artist to professionals from all around the world as possible. They have a chance to present their new productions to international promoters and managers. This is the reason for staging many premieres, with the festival being the starting point for their journey to other festivals and world stages.

Besides the fact that the professionals meet at performances, they have an opportunity to participate in seminars focusing on different topics, such as promotion, production, marketing, funding, earning and many others. The main topics of the biennale are “women in circus” and “new magic”.

Performance and events linked to the Biennale internationale des arts du cirque will deluge the whole region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. There are more than 40 towns in the south of France participating in the project – from Arles to Nice, from Briançon to Toulon. The biennale will see more than 270 performances including 30 premieres.

The event will take place at 12 venues in Marseille – in small and big theatres, such as the National Theatre in Marseille or at Le Merlan, Théâtre du Gymnase or Théâtre Massalia. The most important and iconic venue is a circus village, or Village chapiteaux, on Prado beach.

This year will see the circus tent of the Welsh company No Fit State, which had a guest performance of Bianco at Letní Letná festival in Prague in 2015. The circus village will also host Czech company Cirk La Putyka on February 8-10 with its most recent performance of ADHD directed by Rostislav Novák.

The legendary company Théâtre du centaur or Centaur Theatre, which has ranked among the outstanding representatives of contemporary circus since the 1990s, will present the new performance of L´Envol. Moreover, it is a company that has been based in Marseille since 1995. Théâtre du centaur’s poetics is based on modern and progressive concept of creative employment of horses. Company’s philosophy is based on an equal relationship of people and animals. Another striking feature of the company is a venue in which it performs. The circus tent designed by Patrick Bouchain reminds us of a volcano. The French architect Patrick Bouchain has been engaged in this kind of dismountable buildings and is a sought-after professional, who has published several books on circus architecture. Some of them can be found in the Cirqueon library.

A large team of Czech professionals – representatives of Letná Letná festival or the art center Jatka78 as well as Cirqueon – are present in Marseille for several days. Thus, we may see some of the performances in the Czech Republic. Let it be a surprise.

Veronika Štefanová