#Circus250 Ireland

CIRCUS250 IRELAND– FAQS –What you’ve asked to know

What’s so special about 2018 and circus?

The first ever circus was invented by Philip Astley in 1768, in the centre of London. 2018 marks 250 years since that date. The first place Astley travelled outside the UK capital was to Dublin – bringing circus to Ireland before anywhere else.

What is Circus250 Ireland?

Circus250 is the co-ordinating body for all the activity happening nationwide to celebrate 250 years of circus in 2018.

Circus250 provides the framework and scaffolding within which all activities take place, whether in rings, outdoors, archives, museums, libraries, theatres.

The framework is:

  • See You Down the Road – our travelling circus van which will draw the Circus250 route map of activity throughout Ireland. Like a traditional advance party, it will drive into town and let audiences know what’s about to happen, inviting them to join in through extensive social media coverage. It will travel nationwide, searching for activity from large shows to tiny community events, supporting the #circuseverywhere message.
  • Highlights Programme chosen by a Guest Director – excellent and exciting activity happening anywhere
  • Nationwide activities – from workshops to walks, small scale community circus to talks – as part of the broad range of participation in 2018

Does Circus250 Ireland take place all year?

Yes – throughout 2018. But the See You Down the Road route will be concentrated from April to September 2018. However, activity will take place year round.

Does Circus250 Ireland take place all over the country?

Yes – from the smallest island to the largest city, our ambition is that every community can take part in the celebrations.

Do you have to be a circus to get involved with Circus250 Ireland?

No! You can be a museum, archive, film festival, literary festival, traditional or contemporary circus, library, school, university, music festival, orchestra … We believe in #circuseverywhere

Does Circus250 Ireland produce events?

No. The only events Circus250 produces are press and other launches to advertise the year. We do not produce any circus.

Does Circus250 Ireland have any artistic input to 2018 activities?

No. The only place in which we make any choices are when the Guest Director picks the Highlights of 2018 for our Highlights programme.

Does Circus250 Ireland provide funding?

No. We are not a funding body and we do not distribute funds.

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t apply for funding for your Circus250 event from a number of different sources, including public and private sponsorship. With the development of our website, we hope to keep your informed of these opportunities.

How can Circus250 Ireland support us?

Circus250 can:

  • We can See You Down the Road – ensuring you’re on our Circus250 route map, drawing nationwide attention to your activity.
  • Put you on the Circus250 route map by listing your activity on our website and including you in our programme.
  • Put you in touch with new partners, for example linking you up with your local library or archive, or letting you know about a venue that wants to programme circus in 2018.
  • Inform you about what others are doing, so you can work in partnership and make sure your own creation stands out as unique.
  • Let you know about experts in different fields, from circus history to rigging, performance to academic surveys, so you can assemble the skills you need to deliver.
  • Let you use our Sir Peter Blake designed logo on your publicity and marketing, so people know you’re part of a high-profile nationwide initiative.
  • Benefit from our marketing materials – on line and off line – in which you can be included.
  • Gather your stories, so we can send media queries your way and enhance the profile of your work.
  • Help you tell the story of circus, through providing resources, for example ‘Ten Top Facts about Circus History’ and ‘Best Circus Books for Kids’.
  • Invite you to free networking meetings.
  • Throw a national spotlight on your local activity through our press activity. Nationally powerful, locally diverse is how we work.
  • Advocate for circus to those with power and influence, so it can be better embedded in our culture and recognized for the leading artform it is.

How can we get involved in and be part of Circus250 Ireland?

  • Keep in touch about your 2018 plans so we can sure to See You Down the Road and put you on our Circus250 route map
  • Let us know if you have a skill to share or something to offer, or need an expert in a particular field. We can then match-make.
  • Make sure you’re on our mailing list for regular updates – bigtop@circus250.org
  • Come to our advertised meetings to learn about further opportunities.
  • Let us know your plans for 2018, even if they’re only sketched out. We can only support you if we know about you.
  • Let us know your hopes and fears for circus, so we can make sure we are reflecting your message in all our advocacy work.
  • Follow us on Twitter @circus250 and Facebook Circus250.

What sort of organisation is Circus250 Ireland?

We are a small not-for-profit advised by a steering committee drawn from the circus community in Ireland, including contemporary, community and trad circus, and ISACS (Irish Street Arts, Circus and Spectacle Network) (See www.circus250.org for a list of committee members.)

Dea Birkett, Creative Director of an arts charity and former circus artiste, is Circus250 Director. Dea lives on Achill Island, Mayo.

As any not-for-profit, we seek funding and support from a wide range of partners, both public and private.

The enthusiasm and commitment of our supporters in the circus world and beyond enables us to thrive. Thanks for being part of that team.


Our #Circus250 Ireland Champions are:
Panti Bliss
Gabriel Byrne
John McColgan
Little John Nee 
Camille Souter
Camille O’Sullivan

“My first encounter with live performance was a visit to the circus in Dublin.

Full of colour and laughter and drama.

I’ve never forgotten the thrill and magic of that first experience.

To this day I’ve retained a child’s love of circus.” — Gabriel Byrne

Members of the #Circus250 Ireland Advisory Board-

Cork Mid-Summer Festival

Tom Duffy’s Circus

Fidget Feet

Galway Community Circus

Irish Aerial Creation Centre

ISACS, the Irish Street Arts, Circus and Spectacle Network

National Gallery of Ireland

Tumble Circus

The world’s greatest show is about to begin…