Organised in collaboration with Espace Catastrophe (Festival UP!),
ESAC circus college, the City of Brussels (Festival HOPLA!) and the Halles de Schaerbeek,
focusCIRCUS.brussels aims to promote Brussels and its circus scene by uniting,
under one name and project, the four partner's various events,
and supporting them with their communication and distribution.
ESAC (Brussels' circus arts college) is one of the world's leading circus schools. Its offers a three year degree course in a range of circus specialisms and its diploma is recognised by the official Wallonia-Brussels education authorities. Its students come from all over the world and leave to enjoy magnificent professional careers as either independent artists or part of large circus troupes.
On 19 April 2018, ESAC will inaugurate the new premises it recently moved into. It will then have a double building that combines a gutted and fully revamped former boiler room and a modern wing, near the banks of the canal on the CERIA campus in Anderlecht.
Espace Catastrophe - Centre International de Création des Arts du Cirque, is the largest circus arts organisation in French-speaking Belgium. Over almost 25 years, the team has developed a very wide range of programmes and actions to support circus development: creation - production - distribution/training/information - editing [C!RQ en CAPITALE magazine].
The Festival UP! - the International Circus Biennial, is the flagship event of the Espace Catastrophe team [9 permanent employees]; this 15th event will comprise 30 performances, including 8 "UP!" shows and 10 Belgian premieres, in 13 Brussels cultural institutions.
Les Halles is a relaxed independent venue in the heart of Brussels, the capital of Europe, in a beautifully renovated metal and glass structure dating from 1901.
As a repository for the contemporary hopes and upheavals of the district and the general public, it strives to find the best of a Europe still searching for its destiny: exploring new passions, reason seeking adventure, freedom of style.
Alongside a traditional programme, Les Halles also hosts more unusual events during major weekends and embarks on projects that do not fit within the strict definition of performing arts. Les Halles also puts on its own productions, many of them with the four companies associated with the venue.
HOPLA!'s actions take it beyond the inner city, making it accessible to less mobile members of the public. Five local cultural centres have become festival partners to help it achieve this aim. The entire sector is represented: leisure schools, fans, ESAC students, young creators and established companies from Belgium and abroad.
HOPLA! travels through six districts of Brussels with 20 shows (25% in venues and 75% in public spaces), with a total of around 30 performances that are free for the public.