Circomedia Coronavirus Updates

Update: 18 September 2020

Adult and Youth Circus Classes

We are really excited to announce the phased return of our Adult Classes and Youth Circus public programme from 21 September 2020. We have worked extensively over the summer to reimagine how our venue can offer circus classes in a safe and Covid secure way. This has meant changes to both the classes we offer and how they are run, and it’s important for us to be clear and transparent about how we will now be running the space and what changes you can expect to see.

Both our Youth and Adult Class student numbers have been reduced, and the classes that we offer have also been scaled back to ensure we can run them safely. Our Youth Circus is following guidance from OOSS (Out Of School Settings) and NYA (National Youth Agency), and our Adult Classes will be abiding by the ‘Rule of 6’, with a tutor being included in the 6.

Each week the following classes will be running:

Portland Square
9 Youth Circus Classes
6 Adult Classes

Kingswood
3 Youth Circus Classes
6 Adult Classes

Unfortunately due to the current situation and our need for a phased return, we are currently unable to offer the following:

Drop-In Training Sessions
Adult Taster Sessions
Youth Circus Taster Sessions
Beginners’ Aerial Classes
Family Workshops
Parent & Toddler Classes
No Weekend Classes until at least November

How Will Equipment Be Shared?
The only equipment that will be shared between different areas of our schools are the wipeable safety mats and roll mats, and the wipeable trapezes and aerial hoops.

The Youth Circus, Adult Classes, Higher Education courses, and BTEC will all have their own independent supply of equipment for their students.

Monitoring and Tracking
As practiced with our Summer Youth Circus Camp we will be carefully monitoring, rotating, and quarantining our equipment when needed. Students will be working in bubble groups within classes that will remain the same week after week so we can continue to accurately trace who has been in contact with whom.

Additionally parents, carers, and friends will no longer be allowed to enter the premises while Youth and Adult students are attending a class unless given authorisation beforehand.

Additional Cleaning
Finally, as can be expected we will be frequently cleaning touch points, toilets, and communal areas in our studios before, during, and after any classes. This is in addition to the general cleaning of the equipment and mats. To aid with this, class duration has also been reduced across all public classes to allow for cleaning to take place between one group leaving, and another entering.

We hope that this information has helped to answer any questions or concerns you may have had about our public classes starting back. If you would like to read a more detailed breakdown of our policies and procedures you can find our Youth Circus policies here, and our Adult Class policies here. We’re really excited to be welcoming you back to our studios.

If you have any questions about our public classes programme, please let us know at classes@circomedia.com.

Hires & Events

Large scale hires have come to a halt this year given the circumstances; however, this has not stopped us holding some special supper events throughout Autumn. We will be diversifying the hires offer and have some exciting plans for regular supper events and an outdoor bar for Spring/Summer 2021. The events will be carefully planned so that all necessary safety requirements will be met to make sure people can relax have a good time in a safe setting. Find out more about upcoming events and hire.

Academy

The academic year has officially begun and we want to assure our community that the safety and wellbeing of our students and staff, and the quality of the education we provide in these exceptional circumstances remains our utmost priority.

We have been working hard to assess and evaluate our resources, and feel confident in our ability to offer a safe learning environment, in line with government guidance and sector- wide consultation to date. We are committed to proactively review and adapt our regulations and practice throughout the year. This means that we can do our utmost to deliver the best possible courses that conditions allow.

Although the courses may look and feel a little different, as we head into the Autumn term, as always, our main focus is to create a safe and inclusive space where our students can discover their physical, emotional and creative potential and unlock the transformative possibilities of circus.

Update: 26 August 2020

Circomedia is now planning the gradual reopening of its sites and activities from September 2020 onwards. You can read about our plans for the Academy below (statement from 17 June 2020).

Our public Adult & Youth Circus classes programmes are also due to start in September 2020. We are currently finalising details, and there will be changes to our timetable and to our normal class processes – a public update will be released as soon as possible. Regular bookers will be contacted directly via email.

Following the success of our Summer Youth Circus Camp 2020 where we delivered two weeks of Covid-secure, socially distanced circus activities for 120 children, we are confident in our plan to restart safe and engaging public classes in line with current Government guidance.

Update: Statement issued 17 June 2020

At CIRCOMEDIA we believe in creating transformational experiences that change the way people view and experience circus. Covid-19 and physical distancing have challenged us all to teach, learn and present contemporary circus and physical theatre in new ways. Our staff and students, across all of our formal and informal courses, have risen to that challenge and shown energy and imagination in continuing to innovate and create in a virtual environment throughout the summer term.

We are now planning for the start of the next academic year. In September we aim to re-open both our Kingswood and Portland Square sites. Teaching will be a combination of virtual and in-person, with the balance between the two being adjusted according to government and NHS guidance on physical distancing and our own reviews of our practice.

We are, of course, very aware of the physical and social nature of our artform and will make every effort to ensure that there is as much practical, hands-on learning and access to equipment as possible. We will be working hard to ensure that this is as safe as possible, in consultation with staff and students. The timetable will be revised to accommodate smaller groups and fewer changes of studio, as well as sessions delivered with digital technologies. We will all have to acknowledge that the pattern over the next year will be different, and we have to seize the opportunity to explore new approaches of blended learning.

Performance is intrinsic to everything we do. Until it is safe to re-open our Portland Square venue for audiences, we will continue to find ways of presenting work digitally or at small scale.  As physical distancing is lifted, we will work towards reinstating our programme of student and professional performances in full.

The safety and well-being of all students and staff is our priority. We will be taking all relevant measures to maintain hygiene and will work throughout the summer to ensure that both our buildings are well prepared for the return in September. Subject to the government guidance, and our own risk assessments we anticipate that some youth circus and other informal classes will also be able to start at the same time as the diplomas and degrees. Across all areas of our activity, we are working closely with the wider circus and performance sector to explore innovative ways for delivery, research and performance. 

We will be undertaking a major block of more detailed planning from now to mid-July, including consultation with students, and will publish more details shortly after this. We are confident that the contributions of our passionate and skilled staff will ensure that the next academic year will be a rewarding and stimulating one for all associated with CIRCOMEDIA.

PREVIOUS UPDATE 4pm 4th May 2020

Like many arts organisations, Circomedia has adapted its normal output and working methods significantly in line with the current UK lockdown and government advice. Circomedia’s priority is first and foremost the health and wellbeing of our students, staff and visitors, and as a result our buildings continue to be closed for the foreseeable future. However, we continue to run many elements of our contemporary circus output in a reimagined, digitally-driven manner, and we are delighted to still be connecting with our community in many ways.

The response we have received from the Circomedia community has been phenomenal. From supportive messages to donating leftover class fees and even setting up regular monthly donations, our students, visitors and supporters are all generously helping to secure the future of Circomedia.

Like many small arts charities, Circomedia has lost many streams of income as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. We are so grateful for the support shown to us already, but we will be heavily reliant on donations more than ever in the coming months. If you can support Circomedia in any small way please consider visiting our donations page. You can also email info@circomedia.com if you would like to discuss other donation options.

You can see a summary of what’s happening with our Academy, Shows programme, Adult & Youth Circus Classes, and Hires below.

Circomedia Academy

  • Our BTEC, FdA, BA and MA courses continue to run online. With the tremendous efforts of our course leaders, tutors and support staff we are currently delivering a near-full timetable of online classes and tutorials.
  • Students have full support with their continued studies in order to complete the academic year, and assessments have been reimagined digitally in a variety of ways.
  • Students are busy working on their (now virtual) end-of-year performance projects – we hope to showcase some of these publicly in the near future.
  • We hope to provide the opportunity to present these performances in person, once lockdown has lifted, to public audiences once again.
  • Our next round of FdA auditions is also being held online, and we continue to accept applications for September 2020 onwards.
  • Students and staff are working very hard to adapt to these very challenging circumstances and we are seeing some very inventive approaches to teaching, learning, creating & performing circus in isolation. Watch this space…

Circomedia Shows Programme

  • All upcoming performance have been cancelled for the remainder of the Spring 2020 season.
  • All refunds have now been processed as requested – please email boxoffice@circomedia.com with any queries.
  • For performances in September 2020 onwards, decisions will be made in the summer following ongoing reviews of the lockdown situation.
  • Stay engaged with our social media feeds for retrospectives on our shows, and the occassional opportunity to watch content online!

Circomedia Youth Circus & Adult Classes

  • We hope to restart our public Youth & Adult classes programme this Autumn. In line with current Government guidance we are confident that we can offer safe and rewarding classes for our students. We’re still finalising details, so at the moment we can’t offer more information but there may be changes to our normal programme.
  • If you’re a regular booker, we’ll get in touch via email with everything you need to know about classes restarting – please check your inboxes regularly.
  • We’ll let our previous bookers know via email when we have more news about upcoming classes. Anyone who opted to keep their tickets for future use will have priority booking.
  • If you’re new to Circomedia, we’ll be publishing full information on how our classes will run, and how to book a space or join a waiting list, within the next few weeks. Keep an eye on our website and social media channels for updates.
  • In the meantime, thanks so much for your patience – we are a small team and our capacity is considerably reduced at the moment, so we’re slower than normal responding to individual queries. We hope to welcome you to Circomedia in the near future!

Youth Circus Home Edition

  • As soon as lockdown started, we were delighted to launch Youth Circus Home Edition – a regular series of tutorials and activities for children to do safely at home in the absence of classes. Our tutors created loads of content before they were furloughed, so we are now releasing 9 videos a week – follow our social media feeds for new releases, or check out our Home Edition page here.
  • As most of our tutors are furloughed, we don’t currently have the capacity to produce tailored online resources for our Adult Class participants. However, many of our Youth Circus Home Edition videos are perfect for all ages, so we recommend checking these out to keep strong and fit at home!

Hires & Private Events

  • While our buildings remain closed, we are unable to hire our spaces or host private events.
  • However, you can still make enquiries by emailing events@circomedia.com. Please be aware that replies may take a little longer than usual.

We’re still here for you

We’re still here if you need us! The majority of our core staff team are working remotely and can be contacted via email or Facebook as normal – you can find full info on our Contact page or use the following email addresses:

  • General Enquiries: info@circomedia.com
  • Academy enquiries: admissions@circomedia.com (Open days, applications, etc. for our BTEC, FDA, BA and MA courses)
  • Box Office: boxoffice@circomedia.com
  • Part-Time Adult Classes: classes@circomedia.com
  • Youth Circus: youthcircus@circomedia.com
  • Hires & Events: events@circomedia.com

Supporting Circomedia

As you may know, Circomedia is a registered charity with a small core team and limited resources. Like many small arts charities, the current crisis is impacting heavily on our resources. We are asking all members of our community to consider donating to us via our website, or to donate all or some of their existing bookings back to Circomedia, in order to support us as we work through this unprecedented situation.

We appreciate that not everybody will be in a position to assist us in this way, but anything you feel you can offer is gratefully received. Your donations will go towards ensuring we can support our staff, keep our buildings running and continue to serve our community now and in the future.

You can donate online here.

We have already had a heartwarming response from many of you – we cannot thank you enough for your unwavering support at a time when it is needed most. Please do stay engaged – and contact us if you need to – and we will continue to offer as much as we possibly can to help everybody through this situation.

Best wishes,
The Circomedia Team

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