Festival of contemporary circus


The festival

A bit of Historical Background…

A bit of Historical Background…

CIRCA (eponymous event and non-profit organisation) was created in 1988 and was initially solely dedicated to circus schools.

It all started with Members of the Jeune Chambre Economique (Economic Chamber of young businessmen and women). Their ambition was to create an innovative project around circus with added social, economic and cultural interest. With the support of Auch Town Council, they organised an event that would unite French circus schools and promote a New Circus.

This very first Festival, or what we'd rather call the first circus schools gathering took place in Auch under one big top only and was solely carried by volunteers..

Over the years, the event grew, the schools developed educational and professional trainings and the number of big tops increased.

Former circus students, who had since become up and coming artists, wanted to come back to Auch where they took their first steps as professional circus artists.

Parallèlement, l’association trouve un écho favorable auprès de partenaires institutionnels et développe à l’année des actions de soutien à la création et de diffusion des arts du cirque.

Thus, the festival expanded welcoming more and more artists and professional companies all the while encouraging Contemporary Circus. The circus schools gatherings remained the highlight of the event.

End of the 90's, CIRCA professionalised its team by taking on its first employees.

Whiles institutional partners were showing to the organisation a growing interest, CIRCa offers in addition to the organisation of the festival an ongoing support for the creation process and the promotion of circus arts.

In 2001, CIRCA became CIRCUITS scène conventionnée (nationally subsidised venue) dedicated to circus arts. Two years later, the Festival took place downtown, aiming to forge a new relationship with the town and its inhabitants.

In 2011, CIRCUITS became CIRCa, pôle national des arts du cirque (national hub for circus arts). And in August 2012, the non-profit organisation moved into the CIRC, the Circus Innovation and Research Centre in Auch.

(More details about CIRCa's story)


The Festival of Contemporary Circus is now internationally recognised as a major event for circus arts. Every year, in October, for over a week, the Festival presents around 80 shows performed by 15 to 20 professional companies.

The Festival has become the showcase of contemporary circus. The eclectic programme, not only proposes recent shows, but also invites to really discover the amazing and marvelling circus arts of today that interact with music, dance, theatre and digital arts.

The Festival is still the favourite meeting ground of the circus schools. Young circus students from schools, members of the FFEC network (French Federation of Circus Schools), come to perform and rub shoulders with other students. Professional Circus Schools from France or abroad, members of the FEDEC network (European Federation of Professional Circus Schools), also meet at the Festival to present their work during the CIRCLE showcase.

Not only a meeting point for the whole profession, the Festival is also a springboard for young up and coming artists. Every year, around 350 professionals coming from the four corners of the earth discover new shows and participate to professional meetings.

In Auch, for ten days, artists, programmers, art industry professionals, young amateurs and members of the audience meet and exchange about circus arts.

Now run by a professional team, the Festival is still supported by a large number of volunteers whose personal and social skills transform this event in a beautiful and humane experience.


1988, Programme ©CIRCa
1990 ©CIRCa
Le Dôme, ©CIRCa
2012, Visite Scolaire ©CIRCa

An Eco-friendly Festival

Since 2010, CIRCa, in close relationship with Auch Town Council, is involved in a process of sustainability for resources and waste management.

Different actions are set up, renewed and improved every year :

  • Recycling of rubbish throughout the year and during the festival
  • Composting food waste during the festival
  • Using reusable and returnable glasses at the bars
  • Selling fair trade and/or organic goods at the festival's stalls
  • Choosing catering providers with a sustainable approach to their work (handmade products, local in season food...)
  • Réduction des documents imprimés
  • Reducing printing
  • Working with local printers and with PEFC Certified Paper
  • Building Waterless Composting Toilet for internal use
  • Salvaging and recycling objects and materials used for the decoration of the different venues of the Festival
  • Raising festival goers and volunteers' awareness around the developing sustainable practises
  • In 2014 the committee “green team” was created to handle all aspects of the festival’s eco-friendly logistics. The volunteers' mission is to raise festival goers’ awareness around sustainability.

A sustainable approach :

  • Creation of a think tank to set up internal eco-practises
  • Dôme de Gascogne: use of thermally insulating fabrics
  • CIRC's building :
    • Various solar panels and photovoltaic cells on the roof of the rehearsal room for hot water and electricity.
    • A 700L rainwater cistern used to flush the toilets.
    • 2 solar chimneys to speed up the natural cooling of the rehearsal room by evacuating the hot air.

Eco-transports :

Different means of transport are proposed to encourage forgetting about cars and fully “eco-enjoy” the festival :

  • There is bike parking by all the festival's venues to encourage a maximum of festival goers to cylcle places.
  • Getting to Auch by bus from Toulouse: the more people travel by bus the lower is the cost of the ride www.bus-eco.com
  • Alliance, the transport society of Grand Auch, provides a free bus called l’Auscitaine, that runs around the town.
  • A special shuttle service is provided to professionals between Toulouse-Blagnac airport, Toulouse and Agen's train stations, and CIRC in Auch.

CIRCa is involved in a sustainable process and invests for the future according to the sustainable programme led by the Comité Départemental du Tourisme et des Loisirs du Gers (local tourist board):

Logo Terra Gers