15 years ago, the first edition of the international contemporary circus festival New Circus Weekend was held at the Arts Printing House in Vilnius. It was the first time when Lithuanian audiences encountered the fascinating world of contemporary circus, and we are very glad to see the amazing progress Lithuanian circus has made throughout these years.
Lately, contemporary circus in Lithuania has been on the rise – a couple of years ago, the Contemporary Circus Association was established; in addition to that, we now have two major circus festivals in the country (New Circus Weekend and Cirkuliacija). Cirko Sapiens, a brand new contemporary circus school, has been established this year; we can also see more and more artists coming back to Lithuania after finishing circus schools abroad. All of this looks very promising, so this year the Arts Printing House has decided to take a step further and introduce the very first Lithuanian Contemporary Circus Showcase!
The coronavirus pandemic has brought about some rather disastrous changes to the performing arts field, however, it has also become a chance to discover new opportunities and novel solutions. A brand-new art residency program called “Creative Summer at the Arts Printing House” was introduced in late spring, giving artists an opportunity to work on their performances on the premises of the Arts Printing House.
Over the course of the residency program, two contemporary circus performances were created: Nionia by Elena Kosovec and Clothes and Us by Kanta Company. These residents were not the only circus artists working on their creations during the time of quarantine: the narratives of distance and isolation directly contributed to the themes developed in “Where Do I Connect” by Džiugas Kunsmanas and Adrian Carlo Bibiano, while Marija Baranauskaitė embraced the power of Zoom in her international piece The World Around Sofa. Spaces of the Art Printing House had also become the creative playground for Aleksey Smolov and Konstantin Kosovec during the summer; Justė Liaugaudė and Indrė Mickevičiūtė-Petrauskienė, long-term residents of the Art Printing House, also developed their new piece around this time.
What became the marvellous outcome of this creative experiment was the Lithuanian Circus Afternoon which took place during the New Circus Weekend festival in September. It surprised the critics, surpassed all expectations of the spectators and left the organizers completely astounded! After seeing all these amazing works in progress, the people at the Arts Printing House and Contemporary Circus Association decided to show them to the world and organized the Lithuanian Contemporary Circus Showcase in November. In this online showcase, one can get acquainted with the emerging Lithuanian circus scene, get to know all the amazing artists and find out a little bit more about the future of European contemporary circus because we are quite sure that’s how the future looks like!
See the showcase here: https://newcircus.lt/showcase/