Dublin Circus Project is a member-based organisation working to bring the Circus Arts to life in Dublin and beyond. Our principal objectives are: Artist support and professional development: through the provision of: a dedicated training centre, professional training, residency opportunities, and performance work. Arts education: Increase youth participation in the circus arts and help train the next generation of professional performers by offering custom programmes for schools or community groups and weekly youth classes. Community engagement: Provide high quality circus workshops to our local community and at-risk groups where the overall aim is personal development and team building in the participant group. Audience development: Build awareness of the circus arts by offering introductory classes and workshops and hosting circus productions in Dublin.
Dublin Circus Project (DCP) was founded in 2009 by a grassroots collective of circus artists who, after being inspired by the massive scale of the circus arts in Europe, endeavoured to build an organisation to share, practice and develop these artforms in Ireland. DCP began by hosting workshops for artists, youth and adults and collaborating to produce circus arts shows for Dublin artists. In 2011, DCP was incorporated and Ticket to your Dreams (2011), DCP’s debut theatre production was funded by Create Ireland and premiered at The Exchange, Dublin. In 2013, we opened The Barn in Frederick Court, a self-funded training and development centre.Renovation works were completed on the venue (previously a carwash) by a passionate team of volunteers on a shoestring budget and it became a centre for artistic training, adult workshops and show development.
In 2015, The Barn had proved its sustainability and profitability, and we had fundamentally outgrown the space. We began to search for a venue to suit our unique needs and budget. After failing to find one through public avenues we located a private industrial unit in Broombridge, Cabra suitable to our needs.We ran a public fundraising campaign (exceeding our funding target by 20%), used available budgets and with the massive support of our volunteer community we renovated and opened the Dublin Circus Centre in August 2015. In 2016, we added a dance studio, now providing two spaces in our centre. Activities in all business areas continued to grow and scale, and artistic companies began taking residence in the centre and creating new work.The community flourished, new artists developed and more cabarets and original productions – Summer/Winder Cabarets (2015), All Hallows Circus (2015), Poe (2016) – were created. We developed a funding relationship with Dublin City Council for our youth projects, and our youth training team continued to upskill and deliver education programmes across the city.
All of this business development and organisation growth was led by a volunteer management team. In 2018, recognising the needs to sustain our growth and professionalise our organisation further, the members voted to separate the Board of Management and the business management team and to transition to leading to the hiring of our first general administrator in May 2018.A major milestone, this enabled us to solidify our business offerings and focus on long term vision, company sustainability and good governance. In 2018, we had 125 active members who engage with our training and development services. We reached 1,321 youth students in weekly or one-off classes, across 9 primary schools and 4 secondary schools, facilitated 2 holiday circus arts camps and provided work for 10 youth tutors. We offered 103 adult classes masterclasses and Dublin Circus Project organized two open stages for artists.
In 2019, Dublin Circus Project hosted its first three artists residencies, in collaboration with Dance Ireland and with the support of the Arts Council. We welcomed our first artists-in-residence, Maria Corcoran, Cikada Circus and Caroline Toledo. To celebrate its 10th birthday, Dublin Circus Project organized a month of celebrations with 5 unique shows and our first Circus XChange. Over the course of the year, we hosted 28 courses of classes, and 22 workshops or masterclasses, across 13 disciplines. We also delivered 54 youth workshops, 25 courses of youth circus classes, and 3 holiday camps, working with 9 schools. As part of our Social Outreach programmes, we provided 17 workshops, 32 courses of circus classes, and 1 holiday camp, working with 10 institutions. Our artists performed in 40 festivals, local and corporate events.
DCP launched an online initiative in April 2020 called #StayAtHomeCircus and, with the support of its members and associated artists, offered live performances on Instagram by our members and showcased at-home performances. We have also produced a course of 41 short circus tutorials available free of charge on our YouTube channel. In September, we hosted two artist residencies (Nicola Moran and Seve Feathers), artists talks and Q&A, and supported two street performances. In October, DCP moved to The Orchard Community Centre in Cherry Orchard. DCP was heavily featured in the local news in 2020 (The Independent, The Irish Times, The Local, The Echo, and Onus magazine), and launched its official Tiktok account.