Find out more about the Focus France Project?
Over the last three years, we have been intensively strengthening our connection with France, mainly to promote circus from Flanders. The Flemish Minister for Culture, Jan Jambon, has chosen the circus sector as a pilot project. As part of this multi-year project (2021 - 2023), initiatives will be put in place to encourage the exchange of knowledge, the dissemination of Flemish circus performances and increased visibility in the French cultural network. In the long term, the project will contribute to the professionalisation of the Flemish circus sector and increase its international visibility. Circuscentrum has initiated collaborations with key players in the French circus sector and has sought ways to make these collaborations sustainable after the project. Circuscentrum coordinates this process on behalf of the Flemish government and is assisted in this task by a steering committee which helps to monitor the needs of the sector and the progress of the project.
- La Cour des Belges, Chalon dans la rue
The first initiative in the Focus France project was launched at the street theatre festival "Chalon dans la rue". This annual festival in Chalon-sur-Saône has become one of France's leading artistic encounters in the public space. Over the course of five days, nearly 160 companies perform here. For circus companies, it's a prime venue for attracting the attention of programmers. A number of Belgian circus companies have formed a collective to create a Belgian space at the festival. "La Cour des Belges". Revisit Chalon dans la Rue.
- Plateau flamand #1 Cirque-Théâtre d'Elbeuf (Elbeuf)
Plateau flamand, the second initiative in the Focus France project, was launched in November 2022. Under the name Plateau flamand, a selection of Flemish circus creations will tour France. Over the period 2022-2023, a number of circus companies will be included in the programme of renowned festivals and venues in France. Alexander Vantournhout/Not Standing launched the Flemish Plateau at the Cirque-Théâtre Elbeuf on 26 November in the presence of a delegation of Flemish and French circus professionals, a symbolic choice given that Yveline Rapeau, director of the Platforme 2 pôles cirque en Normandie (La Brèche in Cherbourg and Cirque-Théâtre d'Elbeuf) was at the cradle of the international career of this Flemish circus artist. Cirque-Théâtre d'Elbeuf, which is part of the Plateforme 2 pôles cirque en Normandie, is a venue that promotes both the development and support of artistic creation and training on an international scale.
- Plateau flamand #2 Spring Festival (Normandie)
On 12 December, the Spring festival programme was presented to the French national press at the Flemish representation in Paris. This festival of new artistic forms in Normandy is run by the Platforme 2 pôles cirque. Thanks to the collaboration between this platform and Circuscentrum, it is presenting a festival programme for 2023 with the participation of Plateau flamand, focusing on Flemish circus talent with the creations Circus Katoen, Sinking Sideways and the Collectif Malunés/ MOVEDBYMATTER. Alongside the Flemish Plateau, we were part of the Spring Festival's professional programme. The presentation "Circus in Flanders: an evolving ecosystem" by Circuscentrum gave a more global view of the Flemish circus field and its management framework. The professionals present were given an overview of the results of the survey on circus careers in Flanders. Be Flat, Detail Company, Circumstances en Amoukanama presented their creations to the French professionals.
- Plateau flamand #3 Le Prato (Lille)
On 21 March the Flemish Plateau was at the Prato (Pôle National Cirque-Lille) with a double bill by Circus Katoen en Post Uit Hessdalen. The Prato pays special attention to up-and-coming artists and links with local and regional residents.