>> Download the Inspiration Guide <<

Organised by 8 partner organisations and co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union, CIRCUS WITHOUT CIRCUS was an interdisciplinary research project for artists from the circus field and from all other artistic fields such as music, film, dance, theatre, design, architecture, visual arts, etc.

18 emerging European artists, 9 from the circus field and 9 from other artistic fields, have been selected for a residency programme (2021-2023) aimed at sparking artistic exchange between disciplines by facilitating one-on-one research residencies.

The overall aim was to facilitate cross-boundary research and to develop and explore cross-disciplinary working methods. The selected artists were invited to step out of their comfort zone, to let go of habits, give up control, and open up their artistic process in the encounter with another artist.

Natacha Kierbel and Elise Bjerkelund Reine (c) Hrvoje Jadric
Natacha Kierbel and Elise Bjerkelund Reine (c) Hrvoje Jadric

Inspiration Guide

At the end of the project (April 2023) we made an Inspiration Guide for future interdisciplinary artistic research projects. It’s a great digital publication with fragments from interviews, extracts from residency logbooks and beautiful pictures. Browse through the guide and be inspired!

>> Download the Circus Without Circus – Inspiration Guide



The residencies were the core of Circus Without Circus: that’s where all the magic happened. From the 18 selected artists, the partners of Circus Without Circus made 9 duos. Each duo consisted of a circus artist and a non-circus artist. These duos worked and experimented in a two-week residency in one of the partner countries.

After the first 9 residencies (all in 2021), new duos were formed with the same 18 artists and a new series of residencies took place in 2022 and 2023.

Check the residency logbook

Elliot Minogue-Stone and Bambou Monnet

Public presentations

As Circus Without Circus took mainly place behind the scenes, we provided 4 public presentations during existing festivals organised by the main partners of the project:

  • Outdoor festival Metropolis (22 August 2021, Copenhagen, DK)
  • Circus and performance festival Smells Like Circus (4 March 2022, Ghent, BE)
  • Public presentation in Reims (1 October 2022, FR)
  • Circus festival Peculiar Families Festival (18-19 April 2023, Split, HR)

These presentations provided a platform for the artistic duos to communicate about their work and artistic vision to a general public. It prompted them to make their research visible and tangible for real people. Important note: we didn’t want to force the duos to create a show for the audience. Given that our project was founded on supporting artistic experimentation, we remained open to experimental presentations.

Ward Mortier (c) Luka Dakskobler
Ward Mortier (c) Luka Dakskobler

Open call & selection

Circus Without Circus launched its open call in November 2020. After less than a month we received almost 500 (!) applications. The partners of Circus Without Circus dove into the application forms and finally selected 18 emerging artists.

Main selection criteria were: living or primarily working in one of the partner countries (Belgium, France, Croatia or Denmark), being an emerging artist (on the verge of an international career), being 18+ and not currently studying, being able to prove authorship as an artist, being open-minded, curious and eager to work and experiment in an interdisciplinary way. Only individual artists could apply, duos or companies were not eligible.

Dora Komenda (c) IvanM

Support programme

The support programme of Circus Without Circus had two goals: on the one hand to stimulate the duos in their interdisciplinary research and on the other hand to enhance the professional career of each participating individual artist.

To reach these goals, we organized three sorts of actions during each residency:

  • Artistic mentorship
  • Feedback sessions
  • Meetings with key cultural players
ilon lodewijks_c_Jasper Groen
Ilon Lodewijks (c) Jasper Groen

Main partners

    Circuscentrum (PROJECT LEADER)

    Circuscentrum is the interface organisation and expertise centre for the Flemish circus sector. They invest in the professionalization and sustainable growth of the circus arts, both through active services for the sector and through the further development and disclosure of knowledge about and within the sector – all this in close collaboration with partners within and outside the circus field. Circuscentrum connects and inspires across all kinds of borders and puts the Flemish circus in all its diversity and uniqueness on the map.
    Circuscentrum website

    Questions about Circus Without Circus? Contact and

    Metropolis – københavns internationale teater

    Metropolis is an annual curated platform for international performance and art in urban space. Metropolis is organised by Københavns Internationale Teater, which for more than 40 years has created change and development in the Danish performing arts scene through the introduction of new genres and formats. During the summer season, Metropolis presents a site-specific, outdoor programme of performances and installations. They also organise an international residency programme in public space as well as workshops and seminars in the intersection between art, culture and urbanism. Metropolis explores the city, physically and metaphysically. The methodology is the restaging of the everyday through the intermingling of fictive scenarios and real situations.
    Metropolis website

    Room 100 / Positive Force

    ROOM 100 is a contemporary circus collective from Split founded by Antonia Kuzmanić and Jakov Labrović in 2010. With their first performance, C8H11NO2, they were awarded as Jeunes Talents Cirque Europe laureates in 2011. Besides producing and distributing contemporary circus performances and other artistic works of the collective, ROOM 100 manages HALA 100 – a venue hosting residencies, performances and workshops for international contemporary circus as well as a programme of film screenings, Kino Cirkus, in several Croatian cities and implementing other projects for the development of the audience in the contemporary circus sector. Since 2020, they also organise a contemporary circus festival, Peculiar Families Festival. ROOM 100 is a partner in the EU-supported circusnext PLaTFoRM and a member of Circostrada network.
    Peculiar Families Festival website

    Le manège de reims

    Le Manège, the Reims National Theatre, is a multidisciplinary venue dedicated to performing arts that are “100% movement”: dance, circus, puppetry and the transversal forms in-between these disciplines. Le Manège aims to support creativity and to propose a varied multidisciplinary programme with a focus on contemporary creation; to be an important actor in the regional cultural landscape; and to promote access to culture for all members of the population, whatever their socioeconomic background. Le Manège is an active player within the local community as well as at a broader international level. It hosts two resident companies for a period of three years and is currently supporting two artists through its mentorship programme for the 2020/21 season.
    Le Manège de Reims website

Associated partners

    Dynamo Workspace

    DYNAMO is a workspace for circus and performing arts located in the middle of Denmark at Odense city harbour. As a production house and cultural gathering place, DYNAMO wants to create sustainable conditions for performers and increase the quality of artistic production through mutual aid. DYNAMO opened in January 2017 in an old warehouse that now houses productions from national and international performers and a yearly festival. They also facilitate the framework for artistic work in progress, development of ideas, residencies, courses, masterclasses, and open training. DYNAMO is a driving force for the development of the cultural life of Odense, primarily for circus and performing arts, and also reaches out with out-of-house activities and collaborations.
    Dynamo Workspace website

    Arts Academy Split

    The Arts Academy in Split was founded in 1997. It consists of three departments: fine arts, music and theatre arts. The activities include artistic creation through production and public presentations and various professional and artistic training programmes that are part of the concept of lifelong learning. The Film and Video Department offers an education in the field of film and new media. The BA students acquire theoretical and practical knowledge in video, film and digital media and the MA degree provides highly professional profiles for fully independent activity in motion picture media such as film art, animated film or media art. In this project, the Film and Video Department is represented by tenured teacher Veljko Popović, an awarded and internationally renowned author of animated short films.
    Arts Academy Split website


    Césaré is one of the 8 national centres of musical creation spread throughout France. Its mission is to foster the emergence of original works at the frontier of musical styles and artistic disciplines through a policy of residency, production and transmission. They are a privileged partner of the artistic and cultural sector of the Grand Est: producer of La Magnifique Avant-Garde, co-producer of FARaway, and today partner of Exhibitronic – Strasbourg. Césaré aims to be a meeting place for artists and the public, open to the world and sensitive to the slightest tremor of creation.
    Césaré website

    Nona arts centre

    Nona arts centre emphatically underlines its role as a breeding ground for new artistic work. Artists are given plenty of opportunities to develop themselves and enter into dialogue with the public in Mechelen and far beyond. nona also works with a number of regular partners in crime: the internationally renowned theatre company Abattoir Fermé, directed by Stef Lernous, and Voetvolk, the Belgian contemporary dance and performance company, founded in 2007 by Lisbeth Gruwez and Maarten Van Cauwenberghe. Since 2017, nona has been organising the Contour Biennale, a unique platform for anyone interested in the moving image which has made a name for itself far beyond Belgium.
    Nona arts centre website