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  • Writer's pictureMia Ferreira

Eagle eye on the ring

Updated: Nov 10, 2022

Looking for hints that could lead me to better understand the current circus situation regarding sustainability I went on a quest trying to find out the impact of my own journey as a performer. Soon enough I could realize that for the significant analyses of my individual path it would be necessary a very complex database that I do not possess. As an alternating between freelancer and hired circus artist there is nearly no “regularity” on the environmental impact of my professional activity. From one day local gala event to long term contracts abroad, it would require arguably an impossible record of the impact of each one of this specific productions, including energy source and distribution, diversification in trash disposal legislation, etc. Apart from a detailed journal of my single activities related to the development of my work, along with a precise diary of rehearsal schedules, places, locomotion, third party involvement and their percentage of involvement on the final creation, etc. One could point out that a roughly analyses could take place, but it would probably as well be on the edge of nonsense to believe that research that aims to contribute to such a large scale problems could be somehow based on the ballpark figures of a single individual. Realizing the impossibility of gathering representative and even significant data about my professional environmental impact as an individual I decided to check out the ongoing developments towards sustainability of circus as a branch, and dough a similar lack on collecting and recording data appear to be the case. It's quite clear that many people have been busying themselves on taking somehow the environmental polemic to the rings, tents and circus stages. There are a vast range of fields that unfolds when the idea is to transform structures along with adapt minds and actions for a society more polite towards its own natural resources. From this big, big pool two topics appear to win more space in circus spaces: both very much focused on the pedagogical aspect: conscientization of audiences, productions with consciousness rising motifs ; tutorial conscientization through the learning process, often connected to social development programs. Companies like “Acting for climate” from Scandinavia are starting to pop up and use the language of contemporary circus to rise awareness about the environmental topics. Another interesting example is the French company “Cirque Bidon”, they do not directly merchandise their practices as a contribution to the sustainability of the world resources but embodied very much the principles of it. Traveling on horses to present their contemporary and modern circus performances for audiences on the countryside, carrying on a tradition and a concept that in itself is very friendly to the global resources. On the didactic field many initiatives like the “3S” from Brazil are getting funds to teach environmental ideas to kids and young people through circus performances and workshops. Even traditional circus are engaging in the problematic and taking action, like several English circuses that clearly express their concern on their new policies, regarding mainly CO2 emissions. Zippos Circus from the UK for example sets an emission reduction plan and points out the general lower consumption of dwellings on a circus in comparison with standard city households. Unfortunately a great amount of these declarations and policies stay on the realm of beautiful words and better feelings for the spectators, but happily enough the seed is planted and if we tend it right and well we have great chances of harvesting sweet fruits from the beautiful and magical three of life.

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Welcoming you and the future generations

I welcome you, reader of this blog post, in this little journey of exploring ideas around the theme “Sustainability in circus productions”. I welcome you, so you and me can welcome the next ones after

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