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ISACS Member - Spraoi
ISACS Member - Spraoi St Patrick's Parade 2017 | Photographer Graham Cullen
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National Circus Festival of Ireland - highlights 2017

national circus festival ireland svaldbard company

This November 2017, our team Lucy Medlycott, Charlotte Haffner and Tamara Gangnus embarked on a journey to the National Circus Festival of Ireland.
We've highlighted our very favourite things about the festival this year.


View National Circus Festival of Ireland ISACS Profile

View  ISACS programme at National Circus Festival of Ireland


Catherine Bourne, General Manager at Cork Community Arts Link and Hannah Rogerson of TeaTime Company

Not only did we have the opportunity to meet and get to know our two delvers* Catherine Bourne and Hannah Rogerson on a personal and professional level over the weekend, but they also got to the opportunity to attend a dinner with the festival organisers, international artists, and ISACS artists performing at the festival. On various occasions, we also had opportunities for informal networking in superb circus decor and atmosphere.

The National Circus Festival of Ireland is THE event of the year if you want to meet and be part of the circus community in Ireland!

*D.E.L.V.E. is an ISACS go-see programme supported by Arts Council Ireland.

THE ACTS - What we thought!

Svalbard Company - 'All Genius All Idiot'

Picture: Charlotte Haffner

Svalbard Company from Sweeden was one of the most anticipated shows over the weekend and did not deceive.

'Extreme, Macho & Nonsensical!' Lucy Medlycott - ISACS CEO

'Two hours flying at high speed. The company showed an amazing display of circus skills but also played with lights, sound and the audience taking the attendees on a journey quite out of the ordinary. Pure contemporary circus'
Charlotte Haffner - ISACS Communication Officer

'Absurd, Surreal, and visually stunning work from the Svalbard Company. A fully realised show with great use of sound, props, and light that created a captivating performance from start to finish. I had no idea where the show was taking me but I enjoyed the trip.'
Tamara Gangnus - ISACS Communication Assistant & artist at Bloco Garman

Circus Siamsa - Roxana Kuwen, Mat Ricardo, Maleta, Madame Jocelyne, Tobia Circus, Brian Daly

'Comical, entertaining and spellbinding!' Lucy Medlycott - ISACS CEO

'Roxana's show was undoubtedly sublime! All the acts worked so well together presenting a great variety of skills with a witty touch of humour or old school jokes perfectly carried out. Quite frankly, I laugh as loud as any kid in the attendance. Brain Daly was great MC choice.
Charlotte Haffner - ISACS Communication Officer 

'What all variety shows should be like. A great mix of acts that were carefully curated to keep audiences of all ages entertained. Highlight of the show was Roxana Küwen. A talented circus performer who presented a very understated performance that was mesmerizingly beautiful.' 
Tamara Gangnus - ISACS Communication Assistant & artist at Bloco Garman


It was very entertaining to read the kids thoughts on the shows! Thanks to National Circus Festival for sharing them out loud and showing us the best samples!

The aim of the Junior Reviewers programme is to involve young people from age 6 and up to watch shows and performances with a critical eye, to engage in discussion and to feel confident and competent to write their views, opinions and suggestions. With encouragement and support from the National Circus Festival team of producers and performers and with the assistance of parents/guardians this programme improves capacity for critical thinking, encouraging young people to question what they see and to create the type of art, performance and culture they would like to see. Young people were invited to spend some time writing their reviews of the shows and educated to be the critics of the future.

Here is one of our favourite ones.

junior reviewers 

'I like the music. I love the show. If I was the Director, I would change nothing.
I feel very happy.'


Picture: Share Forum 2017: Circus: Past, Present and Future - shot by Charlotte Haffner

Many thanks to those who attended our Share Forum: Circus - Past, Present & Future from all over the country and beyond. We were delighted to have the presence of Dea Birkett of Circus 250 and Claire Teasdale of Extraordinary Bodies and representants of the Arts Council.
It was a great opportunity for circus professionals to gather, share their thoughts, and articulate how to make the sector stronger in the future

The following Irish Youth circus Focus led by Galway Community Circus in partnership with ISACS and Arts Council Ireland was also very informative and the first step in connecting organisations across the country. It was amazing to see so many circus organisations, big or small, and individuals in the room, all keen to see the Youth Circus sector growing and supporting each other in order to help shape the next generation of Circus artists and face of Irish Circus as a whole.

Irish circus focus national circus festival ireland web

Picture: Share Forum - Irish Circus Focus, lively participation - shot by Charlotte Haffner


At the heart of the National Circus Festival of Ireland are four days of workshops and training in all the things circus with emphasis on Aerial and Acrobatic training. The novelty this year was the funambulism (walking on high wires) workshops brought to the festival by Galway Community Circus as part of Galway 2020 Wires Crossed Project.

Have a glimpse of the atmosphere in the circus convention halls hereunder or click here.


Video courtesy of Stephen Tom Condrer

wires crossed workshop national circus festival ireland

Picture: Tony Mahon - ISACS members - shot by Charlotte Haffner


There is such a fantastic and friendly atmosphere at the National Circus Festival of Ireland for newcomers as much as for long-time festival goers. Concepts like 5*5 Circus Sideshow or the Renegade, are great opportunities for emerging artists to show new tricks and ideas to a very supportive audience. The festival is organised in such a way that circus enthusiasts and those starting out in their careers are surrounded by the performers and teachers all day making it very easy to make professional connections and friends. 
This year even saw the first surprise engagement on stage!

Well done on a great festival where you engage with and get inspired by the Irish Circus Community. 
We feel quite special to be part of this Circus Family.



Lucy Medlycott, Charlotte Haffner. and Tamara Gangnus.

ISACS team small

Picture: Tamara, Lucy and Charlotte

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