Circus practice may be regarded as falling into two distinct strands: traditional/classical circus and contemporary circus. Classical circus has a long working history in Ireland, while contemporary circus practice is relatively new. The distinction between the two strands is reflected in the differences between the styles of presentation, artistic direction, modes of distribution, and histories of development within the country. As an artform circus attracts high audience numbers each year including many rural audiences and members of new communities. Youth circus activity is a growth area within Ireland.
The Arts Council supports both strands of circus and, through direct support and strategic intervention, engages with the sector to assist individuals and organisations in develop high-quality performance and participatory work. While mindful of the need to preserve the integrity of both strands of circus, we also encourage practitioners to challenge the boundaries of work practices by exploring and developing opportunities across a range of arts disciplines.