BRISTOL: Circomedia amongst the arts that could lose out

Circuses aren’t the first thing you think of when you consider Britain leaving the EU – even if politicians do seem to be clowning around.

Circomedia, a centre for contemporary circus and musical theatre based in Bristol, receives a sum of funding from the EU as part of its commitment to preserving arts and culture. In particular, they got millions of pounds of funding to preserve and use St Paul’s Church in Bristol as a performance space.

Founder of Circomedia, Bim Mason, spoke about being opposed to leaving the EU – due to funding for his company but also funding for his students. “A lot of the students get student funding, and they’re eligible to get student funding if they come from a country that’s part of the European Union. Americans, South Americans, Australians are not part of that, so we get less of those students… The more different cultures, different countries come into the student cohort, the richer it is for the British students.”

Circomedia is also part of the European Federation of Professional Circus Schools, of which there are 2o members – just one example of ways that arts and cultural organisations collaborate across Europe and further afield, for the sake of progression.

“I’m absolutely in favour of staying in the European Union,” Bim said. “I think it would be absolute madness to leave. A lot of people confuse international interference from Europe with globalisation… But it’s not facing the fact that, with globalisation in the last 20 years, our industries aren’t owned by us. That’s nothing to do with the European Union, it’s just the way it is.”

The truth is that, if the British people voted to leave the European Union, they could be putting a huge amount of arts funding at risk – meaning we may have less art and culture projects to enjoy and appreciate in years to come.

Circomedia students practice circus skills in their break. Photo: Jessica Allen

Circomedia students practice circus skills in their break. Photo: Jessica Allen

For a full video, watch below.

Circomedia EU funding interview from Natalia Kaluza on Vimeo.


Words / Images: Jessica Allen
Video: Natalia Kaluza
Interview: Libby Beacham


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