Our Story

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Who we are

Circus Factory is a regional hub for the provision of Circus and Street Arts in Cork and the South West of Ireland.

Our aim is to deliver an engaging programme for young people, adults, and artists in multiple disciplines and career stages. 

Our flagship event Pitch’d Circus and Street Arts Festival is committed to promoting the artform to a wider public, celebrating our circus community, and encouraging participation at any level.

We are diligent in developing and supporting artists through residencies and fair pay, as outlined in the Arts Council fair pay policy. 

Circus Factory started out as a small grass roots collective in 2000 when 5 students from Belfast Circus School came to Cork to set up the Cork Community Circus Project.

Circus Factory has grown year on year and is now a key circus and street arts resource for education, training, performance artists and community from all levels and backgrounds.

Strategic Goals

2021 - 2024

Following a Strategic review in January 2021 by Arts Consultant,  Kath Gorman, we have identified the following strategic priorities for continued growth of Circus Factory.

1.  Being a key resource for the professional development of circus artists in the South West region.

2.  Creating a high quality and inclusive education and community circus programme for the South West

3.  Building a visible brand and identity, strengthening and growing audiences and participation in the circus, and building meaningful partnerships both in the South West and nationally.

4.  Implementing best practices through our governance and operations, supporting us to fully achieve our vision

Our Journey

Here are a few historical highlights

2009 - 2011

A collective of Circus Artists come together and rent a space at Camden Palace Hotel, Cork City

2012

Moved into Albert Quay and rebranded as “Circus Factory”

2013

“LipSchmaker”, A cabaret produced by Lords of Strut. “Fortissimo” A members ensemble show as part of Cork Midsummer Festival at Elizabeth Fort. Cork City

2015

Circus Factory CLG was formed

2016

Hosted a 3-week professional autumn training course with Arts Council support. “The Last Days” is a weekend of events to celebrate the end of our time at the Albert Quay Building

2017

Moved into Centre Park Road, and hosted our first “Pitch’d Circus Arts Festival”

2018

Pitch’d Festival returns and doubles in size and attendance

2019

Received Arts Grant from Arts Council and Pitch’d grows exponentially.

- expanded our adult programme to 40 weeks of regular classes for all levels of practitioner

- expanded our youth programme by doubling our Saturday Circus classes and offering a midweek aerial class for youth.

2020

A difficult year with the outbreak Covid19 Pandemic, but one that sees our roots go deeper and our resilience grow stronger.

2021

Received a significant boost in funding from Arts Council Arts grant and Capacity Building Support scheme.

- Commissioned our first Associate Artist - Loosysmokes

- Had over a 200% increase in applications for our Factory Days residency programme.

- Completed a Strategic review and 5-year plan with arts consultant Kath Gorman.

- Received Mentorship from Galway Community Circus to develop a sustainable youth and social outreach programme.

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