Circomedia Coronavirus Updates

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 Adult Classes

  • All Adult Classes are currently on hold until further notice, including – sadly – our Adult Classes Showcase which was due to take place on 3 May 2020.
  • All refunds have now been processed for classes already booked – email classes@circomedia.com if you have any queries.
  • 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.
  • 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!

Youth Circus

  • All Youth Circus classes are currently on hold until further notice. Our earliest possible start date will be 1 June 2020, but this will be reviewed over the next few weeks and parents/carers will be emailed directly.
  • Sadly, this also includes our Youth Circus Showcases which were due to take place from 27 April – 3 May 2020. This is always a highlight of our year, and we hope to reschedule these once we reopen.
  • Our Summer Camps (27 Jul – 7 Aug 2020) remain in place and open for booking. We will continuously review the situation and will make a final decision by the start of July at the latest. In the event of a cancellation, all bookers will have the option to priority book for future Holiday Youth Circus Camps – including a 10% discount if they choose to retain their booking for transfer to a future Camp!
  • 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.
  • We are also working on a Virtual Showcase with our students – so far we have had over 200 clips of students’ performances, home training, and thoughts on isolation. Youth Circus families are also able to access weekly Home Edition Extras – exclusive tutor performances, behind the scenes footage and showcase retrospectives straight to their inboxes.

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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