Introduction

The artistic program responds to the second part of our mission: “By creating and performing circus productions, we want to instill hope among the population, promote the freedom of expression and raise local and international awareness about the many challenges of the Palestinian society”

PCS started its own story with Circus behind the Wall, the first creation that narrated how circus came to Palestine, which obstacles it had to face and how it became a tool to give hope to our young people.

Since then PCS engages on the quest to introduce Palestine to a new form of Performing Arts, the one of Contemporary Circus.

We see the extreme need of young people to express themselves and to convey a message to their audiences. Through circus we create a new creative medium where we introduce the young people in the language of the body. By using music, costumes, theatrical elements, dance and the many circus skills we develop stories about our daily realities.

Circus in Palestine is still mainly understood in the form of the traditional or classic circus, with the circus families, the animals, the clowns under the circus tent. Contemporary circus doesn’t break completely with the circus history but adds one major component, that of narrating a story and bringing circus also into the theatres.

Since its establishment in 2006, PCS has created 6 shows in addition to a yearly creation for its mobile circus tour:

  • Mish Zabta - 2014
  • B-Orders – 2014
  • Kol Saber! – 2012
  • Dreams for Sale – 2010
  • La Wein (where to?) - 2009
  • Circus Behind the Wall - 2007

Here you can download a detailed portfolio of our artistic work. 

With these creations we have been touring in Palestine and abroad, reaching so far more than 60.000 people with our messages. 

For a better comprehension on the world of circus arts, we share with you an introduction written for us by a dear friend and supporter of the school: Jan Rok Achard, a circus professional since many years and former director of the Ecole Nationale de Cirque of Montreal, Québec:

“In the last twenty five years, Circus Arts have immensely increased their development all over the world. This development and this growing process are not finished. This is one of the reasons to explain their popularity. The Circus Arts are at the first place of public attendance among all the performing arts.

The development of the Circus Arts all around the world can be seen in the multiplication of circus companies. In the beginning during the years 1970 – 1980, there was quite a number of circus companies. These companies offered Classical Circus, as we call it today. Classical Circus is recognised by the presence of animals in the ring. Classical Circus was and still is identified as a family show, a show where it was possible to see many different generations attending a circus performance. In many countries Classical Circus shows were identified as shows for children. During this period, most circus companies were owned by families, by circus dynasties. It remains like this today. For those who were looking to become circus artists, it was very difficult. These circus families were not really open; the majority of the circus artists were members of these companies. The circus schools at this time were the families. You were born in a circus and your profession was to be a circus artist. This was the only way to learn. Classical Circus remains very popular. One other thing must be noticed. Classical Circus travels with a tent, a ‘’chapiteau’’, a “top”.  It is part of the specific identity and personality of the circus. It means also that these circuses are very independent. They were and still are self-sufficient.

At the beginning of the eighties, many serious changes took place in the world of circus arts. We have assisted in the creation of professional circus schools. It became possible for young people who were looking to become circus artists to find a place to learn. The monopoly of the circus families was ending. Many of these new professional circus schools were founded by artists who were not circus artists. They came from theatre, dance and sports. For them, circus arts became a new playground; they were looking for a new kind of artistic freedom. Some of them also came from street arts. This was the starting point of what we identify today as the "New Circus" or "Contemporary Circus". In a certain way this was an expression of democracy in the circus arts learning process.

The influence of these professional circus schools was and is amazing. We have assisted in the multiplication of circus companies associated with Contemporary Circus. Looking at some figures, for example in France, in 1975 there were at most 20 Classical Circus companies. In 2010 there are at least 200 circus companies. In Australia, in the same period, there were only 12 companies, where today there are more than 30. In Canada, there were no circus companies in the seventies. Today there are about 15. You can observe this same phenomenon in many countries and continents.

These facts bring other considerations. The increased popularity of the circus arts and their accessibility had and still has a big impact artistically, socially and economically. Artistically and socially, we have assisted in the multiplication of the circus schools. They were answering the needs of many thousands of young people and adults who were looking to find places where they can practice and learn circus arts. For example, there are at least 250 circus schools or circus activities in France. In Canada, in 1981, the National Circus School was the only school; in 2010 they have 30 to 50 circus schools all over the country.

Finally, we are very interested in what is identified as Social Circus. Social Circus refers to the growing movement toward the use of circus arts as mediums for social justice. It can be defined as: “Using circus arts as a tool to intervene with children facing different kinds of difficulties:  impoverished, living in conflict areas, having physical or mental disabilities, etc ...  Social Circus aims at helping them to gain more confidence, autonomy, mutual trust and dignity. Children or young people are strengthened to find their own way to integrate in the society; they develop their own ways to express themselves and once in a while even create their own job”  The utilization of circus arts as a social tool has been proven and further developed in many countries. There is an International Social Circus network. Programs to develop Social Circus trainers have been developed. Social Circus is present in rich and poor countries with the same efficiency. This development of the Social Circus will continue for many years to come.”