Apply For VOLT: Bristol’s Circus Scratch Night

Apply now to take part in our next South West circus scratch night! VOLT Autumn 2022 takes place on 20th October 2022, and applications close at midnight on 30th June!

We’re looking for applications from artists who want to try their work out at a professional circus venue for a warm and supportive audience. This is a development opportunity – test ideas, gauge reactions and take home constructive and useful audience insights.

The emphasis is on potential, not polish. We can accept applications from circus artists aged 16+ who are based in South West England or South Wales.

About VOLT

VOLT is a regional circus scratch night, creating opportunity for circus artists in South West England and South Wales to share work-in-progress pieces in a professional environment. Artists present short pieces of new work to a public audience, discuss their work in live sessions, and invite the audience to provide further feedback to take away.

The emphasis is on potential, not polish. You might see the first draft of a brand new piece, or a reworked extract from an existing show. Artists may be making their solo stage debut or moving from studies to professional performance, or they could be an established circus artist trying something completely new.

VOLT takes place twice a year in March and October; applications open approximately five months in advance. Selections are made by a rotating panel of regional industry professionals from companies including Cirque Bijou, Circus City, and Circomedia.

VOLT was orginally launched in 2013 by Ausform in partnership with Circomedia. In 2019, VOLT was relaunched by Circomedia as part of Circus City. It is now presented biannually at St Paul’s Church, Bristol.

VOLT Spring 2022

Why Apply To VOLT

VOLT aims to offer artists a valuable professional development experience, not just on the performance night but during preparation and after the event. Artists taking part in VOLT will benefit from:

The opportunity to present your work in a professional venue to a public audience

The chance to test new ideas and develop or rework pieces in a safe environment

Live discussion with the audience to gauge audience reaction, initial thoughts, and ideas for development

Written feedback from the audience, focused on specific questions that you wish to explore

Professional technical support on the day; basic professional lighting and sound design

Professional photographs of your performance for your personal and professional use

Video footage of your performance for applications, promotion, and personal reflection

In-house support in shaping your feedback questions and helping you get the most out of the experience

A nominal artist fee towards expenses

Rehearsal and training space, where available, at Circomedia’s two Bristol-based sites

VOLT Spring 2022

Application Guidance

Circomedia can accept applications from artists aged 16+ who are currently residents of South West England or South Wales. You do not need to be a professional circus artist or have a professional circus qualification.

Pieces should be 5-15 minutes’ long, at first draft stage or a bit further ahead – we’re not looking for a tour-ready piece that’s super-rehearsed with no room for change. We need to see that you have clear ideas and a strong sense of your intentions and ambitions for the piece, but you don’t need to have a fully formed piece at the time of applying.

Consider why you feel your piece would be right for VOLT: What do you hope to get out of the experience? Why do you feel now is the right time to present it to a live audience and invite feedback? Are there particular elements you’re keen to explore and focus on?

A note for Circomedia students & alumni: VOLT is open to all regional circus artists, including but not limited to Circomedia students & alumni. Please note that we cannot consider material originally devised as a Circomedia student performance piece (e.g. FMPs, spring projects) unless the idea has been developed or altered. VOLT aims to overcome the difficulties of finding space to share and discuss work, so we cannot offer students the opportunity to showcase the same work again without clear evidence of development and evolution.

If you have queries about eligibility or the general VOLT process, please get in touch with our VOLT producer at mia@circomedia.com.

Apply For VOLT

Current VOLT opportunities are detailed below. Click on a date to see full details and links to our application forms, and ensure you apply by the deadline shown.

To apply for VOLT Autumn 2022, complete our online application form by midnight on 30th June 2022:

VOLT Autumn 2022 Application Form

For an informal discussion with our VOLT producer before you apply, contact mia@circomedia.com.