Contemporary Circus Arts Festival, Aarau
The ten-day festival for contemporary circus art cirqu' takes place in June every odd-numbered year. The Alte Reithalle Aarau is the festival center, but productions also take place at other venues in Aarau.
The program includes new, independent and innovative productions in addition to some well-renowned pieces that have shaped the circus all over the world. The program also includes some productions which will be performed for the first time in Switzerland.
Since 2012, the “Alte Reithalle Aarau“ has been a venue for contemporary circus. Since 2015, this unique performance location has hosted the festival cirqu', which not only brings international productions to Aarau but also promotes the Swiss circus scene.
cirqu' Aarau is a member of the European Circostrada network and of the Swiss Association of Swiss Circus Professionals, ProCirque.
Board of trustees
The Executive Board of the cirqu'Aarau is made up of:
Ernst Jäggli (Managing and Operations Manager Dampfzentrale Bern),
Nadine Tobler (Head of ThiK Baden) and Olivia Müller (Lawyer at Leiser Meyer Müller in Aarau).
The cirqu' team is made up of members of the Association Cirqu' Aarau and the festival’s organizers. We are also supported by the Theater Tuchlaube Aarau and numerous other key partners.
In 2014, Roman Müller had the novel idea to launch a festival for contemporary circus in the “Alten Reithalle in Aarau“. Only one year later cirqu’ was a reality. As artistic director, he works full time for the festival and is known to impress with his new, somewhat crazy creative ideas.
Roman – a juggler by trade – has lived the circus for 20 years. With his company Tr'espace, which he founded in 2002, he performs worldwide and has been awarded numerous international prizes. He was a juror of the European CircusNext Edition 2015/16 and is a ProCirque board member.
Management & Marketing
Madlaina Bundi-Alder has been on board since the start and as a true blue Aarauer provides us with a special connection to the city. She not only maintains the finances at cirqu', she is also responsible for management and marketing.
Madlaina has both a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Communications, and a Master's in Comparative Media Studies both from the University of Lucerne. In 2014, she completed her further education at the Stapferhaus Lenzburg, specializing as a cultural manager. She had previously worked in an Aarauer advertising agency for nine years and for six years at the “Erbengemeinschaft Cuno Amiet”. In 2017, she also worked for a year at the short film festival shnit in Bern. We are happy to say that today she works full time for cirqu'.
Laura Olgiati has been with us from the beginning and is an integral part of the Festival team. Not only is she involved as a producer, but she also supports the entire festival with her in depth knowledge of the European contemporary circus scene.
Laura studied international relations in Geneva before starting and completing training as a cultural manager in London. She has worked for the Kaserne Basel, the Basel Theatre Festival and the Wildwuchs Festival. Between 2013 and 2017, she worked in London at Crying Out Loud, a leading contemporary circus production office in the British and European cultural scene. Today, she is cirqu’s only producer, and is co-managing other cirqu’ projects together with Roman.
Niklaus Friedli is the technical director for cirqu’ and is the first point of contact for all technical matters.
Niklaus trained as a sound engineer (SAE) in Zurich, successfully completing the basic and specialist event technology courses SVTB. Niklaus also completed the basic and specialist course for assessment and achieved the title "Event Specialist EFZ." Between 2007-2018 he worked at the Tuchlaube Theater, first as a theatre technician and after being promoted as technical director. Between 2013-2017 he was also the scenographer & co-director at the company Jungen Marie. Over the last years, he has also worked on stage, light and sound concepts for various freelance groups.
Alongside Nik Friedli, Edith Szabo is the technical co-director of the festival.
Since 1994, Edith has worked as light designer, stage technician and technical director at Theater Tuchlaube and Theater Marie. At the moment, she is a freelance technician for theatre, dance, circus and variété shows.
Coordination of Volunteers and Circus School Contact
Since joining cirqu’6 in 2017, Hannes Flück has become a valuable member of the core cirqu’ team and is responsible for the important team of volunteers. He brings with him a flair for organization and the ability to gather and motivate volunteers. He isn't new to the circus: His enthusiasm and fascination with contemporary circus is based on his own experiences in an amateur circus.
Since a very young age, Hannes has shown an interest in archaeology: He studied prehistory and early history, medieval archaeology and ethnology at the University of Basel from 1997-2004 and has been working for various cantonal archaeological projects in Switzerland since graduation. Between 2009-2015 he returned to the University of Basel as an assistant and doctoral student in provincial Roman archaeology. He completed his PHD in 2017.
Ute Classen is a very important advisor for cirqu’. She is an experienced theatre producer and is specialized in contemporary circus, the development of which she has followed meticulously over the past 25 years.
She acts as an interface between artists and organizers and has in depth knowledge of both fields. She not only handles activities as producer but she also acts as a program scout for theatres and festivals. Aided by her extensive network of international contacts, she provides strategic support for artists in administration, production and tour planning.
At cirqu' she is a behind the scenes advisor for many things as well as the contact person for questions and projects requiring international cooperation.
The unique atmosphere of the Alte Reithalle, the subtle smell of sawdust and history makes it a perfect venue for artists who have left traditional circus tents behind, but still love to exercise their «circus skills». Since 2012, the Alte Reithalle Aarau has been the home of contemporary circus performances and since 2015, this atmospherically unique performance venue has hosted the Festival cirqu'.
The «Nouveau Cirque» or contemporary circus is a theatrical form in which numerous artistic genres of the performing arts are combined or overlap to create new theatrical formats. While the traditional circus focuses on entertainment and thrills, the contemporary circus seeks a substantive examination of a topic often resulting in a very personal artistic vision and performance.