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Circus Building Infrastructure Research Study

Circus Building Infrastructure Research Initiative – contracted by The Arts Council


Shaping the future of Circus in Ireland!  


In ​2022 Promenade was contracted by The Arts Council to carry out a research initiative focused on mapping the range, quality and needs of building-based infrastructures for circus in Ireland. The research was commissioned in direct reference to the commitments made under the Making Great Art Work: Circus, Street Arts and Spectacle (CSAS) Policy & Strategy 2018. 

The study is the first of its kind – certainly in Ireland – and has involved thorough consultation with members of Ireland’s circus sector both at home and overseas. 

The research involved: 

  • On-site visits and interviews with seven Arts Council-funded Irish building-based circus organisations 

  • A sectoral survey, one Zoom and three in-person sectoral focus groups in different locations with over 150 individual circus artists and circus companies 

This direct engagement with a broad section of circus practitioners and organisations provided anecdotal evidence that the building-based circus infrastructures in Ireland do not provide an adequate level of support for the growing level of both professional and community based activities taking place in the country.

The research also provided a picture of today’s Irish circus sector, the range and level of circus specialisms and a mapping of where artists and others in the sector live across the country, as well as international case studies highlighting global examples of good practice. Finally, the report includes a series of recommendations highlighting the importance of a holistic, partnership-focused approach, underpinned by the commitment of the Arts Council in the areas of The Artist, Public Engagement, Investment Strategy, Spatial and Demographic planning, and Building Capacity. 

3 documents were published in the completed research. 

The Full Report with detailed survey results, national and international case studies, technical specifications for the development of circus buildings and more.

The Executive Summary which provides an overview of Ireland’s existing circus building infrastructure, particularly with regard to the challenges, under-resourcing issues and building and wider development supports needed. 

The Technical Specification designed to guide local authorities with regards to circus building infrastructure needs. 

We would like to sincerely thank everyone who participated in the research, meeting with us, attending a focus group or participating in the survey. Your invaluable contributions and insight will help develop and shape the bright future of circus in Ireland.

Special thanks to The Arts Council and ISACS for their support.


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