Picture: Pizzicu Piz | Interviewee: Cormac Mohally
We have invited our members to tell us a little more about themselves, their backgrounds, inspirations and thoughts on the exciting art forms of Street Arts, Circus and Spectacle in Ireland (and further afield)!
Introducing Circus Factory, Cork’s only dedicated circus training, creation and performance space. Circus Factory a member-led organisation run by a collective of professional and aspiring circus artist volunteers who strive to advance circus arts in Cork. They welcome anyone interested in circus and provide training and performance opportunities in a permanent facility: the famous Circus Factory.
The Circus Factory has just moved to a brand new training space and just launched an exciting Kickstarter campaign so we thought we would ask them a bit more about it, among other things.
Can you describe your work?
Photo: Pizzicu Piz
Circus Factory is a community of professional and aspiring circus artists who run Cork’s only dedicated circus training and creation space. Circus Factory is run by its people for its people on a voluntary basis, and is a space that welcomes and aims to provide training and performance opportunities to anyone interested in circus.
After 5 years in a building on a 3-month lease, we recently moved premises. The rent is more expensive but the space offers more aerial possibilities and the long-term lease allows better planning for the future. Exciting times ahead.
How did the Circus Factory first come about?
Circus Factory grew out of the need for professional street and circus artists living in Cork to collectively pay for a space. Our history is rich and complicated, made up by many wonderful members over the years.
Photo: Pizzicu Piz
What is your earliest memory of experiencing Street Arts, Circus and Spectacle?
Back in the mid 90's at a juggling meet up at the Lough Community Centre.
… Learning 5 balls at the UCC Juggling Society.
… Teaching circus workshops at the Cork Midsummer Festival circa 2001.
Can you identify an inspirational moment that inspired your work significantly?
Securing some funding from the Arts Council to get the ball rolling on a circus space in Cork, identifying a building with the help of Cork City Council, and moving into a premise in 2012; gave a focus for our community to grow and develop.
What other activities, creative or otherwise do you do that contribute to your work?
Fundraising cabarets are a fun way for new members to take a leap into performing, and the team effort behind putting on a show has created a huge family vibe between us.
Photo: Pizzicu Piz
What was your first experience like of presenting work to an audience?
Back in 2009, there was a collective show called Circurse, and it was a huge mile stone for a lot of people. Creating an ensemble show, with themes and outside direction was a departure into work that could not be done as an individual. And that is an aspect Circus Factory advocates for, and we continue to put shows on as a collective.
'You are good enough now, don't wait.'
'Make something today to perform tomorrow.'
Photo: Shot by Pizzicu Piz at 'The Last Days' 2016
Are you working towards any new projects at the moment?
With the recent move into a home with a longer lease, there are many projects possible to plan for now. My hope is to start a circus festival alongside the Circus Factory, and to run projects that would benefit an in-house cast of performers. But really the main focus for Circus Factory is to grow into the new building and expand our current activities into more Masterclasses and developing a unique pedagogy for circus in Ireland.
Circus Factory has also just launched an exciting Kickstarter campaign to help raise funds so that we can get our new training and creation space fit and ready for the future. We have put together a super list of rewards such as exclusive workshops, a unique T-Shirt, a dinner date with the Lords Of Strut, and lots more. Check out our campaign and make sure to check back with Circus Factory for news and updates on the campaign!
How do you feel about the Street Arts, Circus and Spectacle sector in Ireland right now?
It is slowly but surely growing, and the more the audience sees, the more we can become creative and break down those beliefs that the audience may think we are not good enough for indoors, or that circus needs to be in a tent. This is our medium, and we can make it our own.
What do you think is necessary for the art forms of Street Arts, Circus and Spectacle to develop and grow in Ireland?
Look at our strengths, not our weakness. We have an array of talent here, with the right guidance from programmers and festivals, those with the skills can grow, both financially and creatively if those platforms are made available. And be prepared to work in the rain.
What role/impact has the ISACS network had on your work to date?
It has given a legitimacy to the art forms. Knowing that there is an advocacy group that has your back, that things like insurance are being taken care of, and our artists are being represented on a European level is amazing.
Picture: Jude on the trapeze shot by David Hegarty at 'Malice in Wonderland'
What is the best compliment you have received for your work?
A home for the heart and a place to grow in your creative spirit! Love the place and the people just as much!
Finally, do you have any favourite tips or advice for emerging artists?
Try everything, try handstands, try aerial, learn to juggle. Take a dance class, fail in a clown workshop. Put yourself out there. Make something, try it out, and learn from what works and from what doesn't. Don't always ask for permission.