The UK’s leading contemporary circus company, NoFit State, have announced that they will be renewing their flagship programme of support for the Welsh circus sector thanks to the funding of the Arts Council of Wales. The new programme sees some exciting changes and will provide increased support for contemporary circus artists at key points in their careers.

Since its launch in September 2018, the ‘Transitions’ project has supported over 600 engagements from circus practitioners from across the breadth of the sector. Designed to provide circus artists and professionals with vital support as they transition between key stages in their careers, the programme has offered a wide range of specialised training, targeted financial support and specialist advice to professionals based all over Wales.

Speaking of the programme, NoFit State’s Executive Director, Alison Woods, said “We are absolutely elated that the Arts Council of Wales have decided to fund the Transitions project for another year.

As a proudly Welsh circus company, we are committed to sectoral development and supporting circus professionals across Wales. We have already begun to see the real difference that the Transitions project is making and are delighted it can continue. It’s an exciting time for all of those involved in circus and NoFit State are proud to play a role in shaping the future of the sector.”

Building on the first year of the project, the renewed programme will focus on activity across four main strands to best support Welsh circus practitioners as they make the transition from one stage of their careers to the next. The focus of the 2019/20 programme will be:

  • Circus Skills Development: a mixture of both introductory and high-level sessions relating to specific circus disciplines alongside dedicated sessions on applying this to teaching practise
  • Professional Skills Development: practical, hands-on classes designed to develop circus practitioners’ broader professional and business skillset
  • Young Artist Residencies: five-day skills-based residencies for artists aged 16-25 covering the breadth of act creation, working with directors and accessible practice
  • Micro Fund and Mentoring: providing support for Welsh circus practitioners’ personal professional development through ongoing expert advice and targeted financial assistance

Through these four strands NoFit State aims to provide support for circus practitioners at many stages of their careers, from young and emergent artists, right through to established circus teachers and those who make a living working as performers. This is reflected in the programme design and the mixture of entry-level and more advanced sessions.

Building on the first year of activity and in direct response to the needs of the sector, NoFit State have designed the programme to be as far reaching possible. The popular Masterclasses will return alongside a new series of introductory sessions covering subjects such as health and safety, marketing and fundraising.

The Micro Fund and Mentoring elements of the programme will return. The Micro Fund provides one off instances of financial assistance to cover the direct costs of professional development activities such as training courses, offering each applicant up to £250 worth of support. The mentoring support matches applicants with specialist mentors, guiding them in their professional development within the industry through personalised support.

Micro Fund recipient and young circus artist José Pedro Fortuna said: “the Micro Fund has given me the vital chance to meet new practitioners from my diverse field of practice which was very inspiring for me in order to deepen my skills and network. As a result, I feel more confident to create new work from what I have learned through the workshops, which will have a positive impact on the rest of my career”

As part of an exciting set of key changes, the programme will see a series of inspiring visiting artists from across the circus sector working closely with participants, focussing on developing their teaching practise, or their own circus skills. For the young artists this will be complemented with two five-day skills-based residencies; an intensive development course to prepare them for their first steps into the world of circus careers. Due to the huge success of the Micro Fund in its first year, the new edition of the programme will offer special opportunities for increased support, with 6 of the most inspiring and exciting applications becoming eligible for higher levels of support.

With various aspects of the programme still in the design phase, there are still many more announcements to be made with regards to masterclasses, visiting artists and more. To find out about the Transitions programme and the support offered head to: www.nofitstate.org/en/projects/transitions-project or contact ed@nofitstate.org