This August, with the support of City Parks SummerStage and the New Victory Theater, Circus Now produced Speaking Circus NYC.

Speaking Circus is the first of an ongoing series of seminars designed to give cultural journalists the tools to write and think about contemporary circus.

Journalists from the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Newsday and more were invited to see two shows: Racehorse Company’s Petit Mal and Circus Now’s SummerStage show featuring AcroArts Productions, Frequently Asked Questions, and Hybrid Movement Company. In between, the journalists convened for the seminar in a beautiful meeting room overlooking Times Square at the New 42nd St Studios Building.

The seminar featured presentations and panelists who explored such topics as: programming contemporary circus, the history of circus, where theater meets circus, and the most fundamental question of all: what is circus? All this with the intention of elevating the discourse about contemporary circus in the U.S.

All in all, we here at Circus Now think Speaking Circus was a huge success. There were a total of 35 participants including the following presenters:

Karen Fricker (theater critic and professor at Brock University), Mary Rose Lloyd (Director of Artistic Programming at The New Victory Theater), Monique Martin (Director of Family Programming at City Parks Foundation), Joe Melillo (Executive Producer at BAM), Lotta Vaulo (Managing Director of Circus Info Finland), the members of the Race Horse Company and Suzi Winson (founder of Circus Warehouse).

The participants all responded positively and several wrote about the seminar afterwards. The Wall Street Journal’s Pia Catton asked “Circus, Performance Art, What’s the Difference?” Newsday’s Linda Winer wrote that it was “Time to pay attention to the circus scene.”

We’d like to offer our sincerest thanks to the venues, facilities, and organizations that supported us in our inaugural seminar and we look forward to producing more of these events around the country. If you’re interested in helping organize or support an event in your community, please contact us at events@circusnow.org.