It was 10 years ago that the roots for the Biennale Internationale des Arts du Cirque were laid… As part of the program for Marseille-Provence 2013, European Capital of Culture, the Archaos circus center created “Cirque en Capitales”, a nascent version the Biennale that involved circus performances and events in cooperation with 15 cultural organizations in the Aix-Marseille metro area.
Today, the 5th edition of the Biennale Internationale des Arts du Cirque (BIAC) is being presented in more than 45 cultural venues across the Sud Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region and it will feature close to 250 performances of more than 70 different shows. The Biennale has an ever-increasing number of women on the program and one of them is the featured artist of the 2023 edition: Fanny Soriano of the Libertivore company is a Marseille-based artist and her entire repertoire will be part of the Biennale, a total of five shows that will be performed in six cities across the territory.
The “Sur la Route de Fanny” [Along Fanny’s Road] program will include performances in Marseille at the Tent Village, the Le ZEF theater, and the La Criée theater as well as shows in Cavaillon, Eygalières, Vitrolles, Château-Arnoux, and Briançon. There will even be a performance the Fernand Léger museum in Biot. Thanks to this project, audiences will be able to explore the exceptional artistic universe that has been created by this talented author and internationally acclaimed circus director.
Another special aspect of the 5th edition is that Switzerland is coming to the BIAC! In coordination with Jean-Marc Diebold, the director of the Centre Culturel Suisse in Paris, a plan was developed with the support of BIAC’s cultural partners to present shows by innovative and unique Swiss contemporary artists. In total, there will be performances of eight works by Martin Zimmerman, Julian Vogel, Marc Oosterhoff, Arno Ferrera, and the La Horde dans les Pavés company.
It was 20 years ago that Archaos chose the challenging northern district of Marseille as the site for their project to support creation in the circus arts and develop local community initiatives.
Social and educational projects have been a central focus for Archaos since they moved into their headquarters in the La Cabucelle neighborhood of Marseille in 2003. Now, 20 years later, this spirit of “culture for everybody” is stronger than ever, and Archaos has reserved more than 2500 tickets to the Biennale for members of the local community that will cost just 3€ each.
This focus on community outreach is also embraced by many of the cultural organizations associated with BIAC and they will offer a variety of programs for the community, including meetings with artists, workshops, and school performances.
It was 30 years ago (and even a little bit more) that the first Archaos shows were performed… Over the years, there were more than 20 Archaos creations, from “Chapiteau de Cordes” to “Somewhere & Nowhere” to “Métal Clown”, and they toured all over the world before Archaos changed direction and became a national circus center so it could devote itself to fostering circus creation, protecting the circus repertoire, and transmitting circus knowledge to new generations.
And, in a happy coincidence, “Transmission” is the name of the program initiated by the Conservatoire de Toulon that invites an artist or arts company to develop a one-term cycle of activities for its students. Archaos are the guest artists in 2023, and in this framework, there will be performances inspired by Archaos shows, masterclasses, conferences, a book project, and exhibitions.
Thirty years is also how long Archaos has been working with the photographer Phillipe Cibille. He has been capturing the company’s journey since the very beginning, and during the Biennale, there will be four exhibitions in four different locations in La Seyne-sur-Mer and Marseille to present some of the photographer’s most evocative images from this long and fruitful creative collaboration.
After crossing paths with Archaos, Philippe Cibille also began working with several other contemporary circus companies. An exhibition of more than 250 photographs at the La Manufacture gallery in Aix-en-Provence will provide insights into this precious body of work.
It was 40 years ago that the contemporary circus emerged on the cultural scene… It first appeared as part of early street theater festivals and gained momentum with the creation of the first circus schools in France and then in other European countries...
Over the past four decades, thousands of creative circus companies in France and around the world have invented and developed the repertoire of this artistic movement that reflects its era, embraces the broader changes taking place in society (equal opportunities, reflection on gender, the threat of climate change...), and, above all, fuels the diversity of creation.
The Biennale’s program reflects this creative diversity and ensures it is available to as many people as possible.
– Guy Carrara, Raquel Rache de Andrade, Simon Carrara