Contemporary Circus Mobilities


  • Elena Lydia Kreusch University of Vienna


While a significant number of contemporary circus artists in Europe have abandoned the traditional circus lifestyle of caravans and big tops, artistic mobility (albeit in a new form) continues to be an integral part of contemporary circus practice, greatly impacting artists’ relationships to their spatial and social environments; to their artistic practice; and, last but not least, to themselves. This article, which draws on interviews with six Europe-based circus artists, aims to provide a better understanding of contemporary circus artists’ experiences of mobility at different stages of their careers and to contextualize these in relation to the history and myth of circus, as well as to the neoliberal working conditions governing the performing arts today. Shedding light on the ways in which such mobilities intersect with and contradict a primary circus narrative of freedom, the author is interested in how contemporary circus mobility interacts with location and economic factors, what tropes it evokes, and how it contributes to a process of othering.

Author Biography

Elena Lydia Kreusch, University of Vienna

Elena Lydia Kreusch is a recipient of a three-year DOC fellowship of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. She is a PhD candidate at the Department of Theatre, Film and Media Studies at the University of Vienna and an associated scholar of the research platform “Mobile Cultures and Societies.” Elena works as artistic co-director of the contemporary circus companies KreativKultur (AT) and Squarehead Productions (IRL) and is an arts adviser for the Austrian Cultural Ministry.






Location, Locatedness, and Mobility (Section Editor: L. Patrick Leroux, Concordia University)