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 in earnest 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 (previously a mechanics garage) 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. We received Arts Council funding to facilitate artistic residencies in association with Dance Ireland.
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.
2018-2019: We currently have 125 active members who engage with our training and development services. Last year, 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. In 2018, the Dublin Circus centre offered 103 adult classes masterclasses and Dublin Circus Project organized two open stages for artists.
2019: To celebrate its 10th birthday, Dublin Circus Project organized a month of celebrations with 5 unique shows and our first Circus XChange.