Circus school benefits from arrival Circolo in Tilburg

Campaign image Circolo Campaign image Circolo

By Tim Durlinger l Tilburg, June 5 2018 l This article in Dutch, dit artikel in het Nederlands

The fact that the circus festival Circolo has moved from Liempde to Tilburg, is great news for FHK’s circus school. According to John van Riemsdijk, Head of Studies of Fontys Academy of Circus and Performance Art (ACaPA), it creates ample possibilities, also for the other FHK academies.

Circolo will take place in the Tilburg Leijpark during the autumn break, from October 12 to October 21 2018. ACaPA is strongly connected to the festival; there is a close collaboration with its managing director Marc Eysink Smeets and artistic programmer Wendy Moonen. Under the supervision of a Circolo director, second-year students will create short acts in natural surroundings; a guide will accompany the audience to these spots. According to John, this part of the programme is highly appreciated: “It is sold out every single time.”

In addition, Circolo will also present frequent performances from ACaPA alumni. They include Solvejg Weyenteth, at the Swiss Zirkusspektakel FahrAwaY. The Collectif Malunés  from Belgium, was founded by artists who then, in 2009, still were undergraduates at the Tilburg Circus Academy. “Furthermore I expect our students to appear in the fringe programme, performing in the foyer and in small tents, but also as ‘guides’ who will accompany Circolo visitors from the centre of the city to the Leypark,” the Head of Studies explains.

High level

The collaboration of both parties is of great value, according to John, but not just because of the performances. “For students it is the ultimate opportunity to get acquainted with different performances of an internationally acclaimed quality level, and doing so without having to travel extensively. They can participate in the workshops of the participating companies, gain experience and extent their network; and when I say ‘students’ I mean all FHK students. Come and experience! There is free access, so an ideal opportunity for large groups to soak up the atmosphere. You only have to pay for the performances.”

With the arrival of Circolo in Tilburg a new phenomena emerges. In the odd-numbered years the festival presents a five-day indoor programme at Theaters Tilburg, theatre De NWE Vorst and FHK.  “There is a real possibility that our other students will be asked to participate in the programme, “John indicates. “It means that we can also organize symposia or lectures that will be interesting for students and teachers from other educational programmes.” The Head of Studies has already noticed that students of dance and those of circus have no difficulties in connecting with each other. “Students of dance are interested in combining dance with acrobatics. Our students want to integrate dance into their performances.”

At the end of June, the final performances of the third- and fourth-year students of ACaPA will take place. “These performances are always visited by the programmer and the managing director of Circolo,” John says. “More than once the creator of such a performance has been invited to come and play at the festival either at a later date in the same year or in the following year." For those who want to have a taste of what they can expect at the Circolo Fstival, it is absolutely crucial to visit these final performances. For further information, please check the FHK Agenda.


* Over the years, the Academy for Circus and Performance Art (ACaPA) has received up to a number of 71 students. The coming academic year ACaPA is expected to allow 75 students to enter the programme.
* Last year, more than 80 potential students auditioned; 25 of them were allowed to start the programme.
* 95 % of the students are of foreign origin because outside the Netherlands the circus culture is more extensive.
* At first, ACaPA students had to practice in a circus tent at the Stappegoor campus. In 2014, the school acquired a hall fully equipped for the circus situated at the same location; indeed, a fine example for many circus schools in Europe.


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