En Piste, proud to be partner with the Alberta Circus Arts Festival 

En Piste, proud to be partner with the Alberta Circus Arts Festival
June 15, 2021

From June 25 to 27 Firefly Theatre & Circus will present a 100% virtual version of the first ever Alberta Circus Arts Festival (ACAF) in Edmonton! En Piste is pleased to be a partner and member of the festival's programming!

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Through this initiative, the festival is committed to creating a regional voice in contemporary circus through professional development initiatives for artists and industry support for producers, presenters and instructors. There will be performances, workshops, talks and more!

ACAF will be offering an exhilarating program of films, workshops, master classes and much more, so be sure to attend!

En Piste is pleased to support the circus arts community in Alberta and will have a strong presence in the programming:

June, 26th – 10:30 A.M. Expanding Circus Across Canada – Building a Regional Voice in a Post-Pandemic Landscape. This discussion withcircus industry professionals from across Canada will be moderated by Tim Roberts, Executive Director of the École de cirque de Québec, but also Vice President of the Board of Directors of En Piste. We are also pleased to announce the participation of En Piste's Executive Director, Christine Bouchard, who will participate in this great exchange along with Anahareo Dölle, co-producer of the St John's Int. Circus Fest, from Newfoundland and member of the En Piste board of directors.

The event is online and free, so don't wait any longer to register: https://alberta-circus-arts-festival.ticketleap.com/panel/dates/Jun-26-2021_at_1030AM


June, 26th – 2:00 P.M.: Information session En Piste and Alberta

After an overview of the different services offered to Alberta circus artists, En Piste will open the discussion on their challenges, projects and ambitions in the field. This discussion will allow us to question the different ways to support circus creation, production, promotion and touring in Alberta.

This online event is free and you can registrer just here: https://alberta-circus-arts-festival.ticketleap.com/en-piste-information-session/dates/Jun-26-2021_at_0200PM

Discover the all schedule

Visit their website

We interviewed Annie Dugan, co-founder and artistic director of Firefly Theatre & Circus, an award-winning Alberta-based company, about the festival and how digital has become part of the circus arts. Here is her collection of responses:

"The Alberta Circus Arts Festival is thrilled to be able to share with the world three Western Canadian Circus films.

The global pandemic has shaken our industry to the core, and as artists, it is our job to take our reality, our feelings, and our skills, and fuse it into a performance. The new medium for that performance is film.  What is wonderful about the pandemic, is that is has provided most of us with time - time to think about our art, how we feel about our art, how and why we express our art, and perhaps most importantly, what that could look like in a digital medium.  Circus Artists have this fortuitous opportunity to share the absolutely incredible, and sometimes extremely difficult and/or dangerous, talents that they have spent years nurturing and evolving - - and share these talents in ways that we cannot do on stage.  Close ups, camera angles, it can become a much more intimate performance, a more specific or nuanced performance; we can use so many techniques that reality does not allow for. Therefore, the digital medium is opening up a whole new avenue of expression for circus artists.

It is quite an exciting time, really!

Moving forward, it seems like virtual performances will become a fixture in our industry; circus artists will all need to have a digital representation of themselves.

But that is a good thing, as the film medium allows for more of the artist’s personality and character to come out, as opposed to simply filming a wide angle archival performance.


One of the goals of the Alberta Circus Arts Festival is to promote circus  artists and companies from Western Canada. The films that we are featuring do just this.

Pause.Shift.Rebound  was filmed onsite in a community theatre in Vancouver.  The artists had the run of the entire building - not just the stage, and they make excellent use of it!

TEN features seven different artists from Southern Alberta.  The cinematography is extremely dramatic and theatrical, the angles up close and personal.

Circus Scenes from a Pandemic, unlike the other two films, was not filmed in one location, but 12.  The artists are on three different continents and six countries; the commonality is that all of them have performed on stage with Firefly Theatre and Circus.  I asked each artist to film what they were currently working on, whether it was their usual discipline or not, in any location that spoke to them.  I asked them to tell me, through their movement, how they were feeling at this point in time (Feb-March, 2021).  The results are intimate and compelling.

Why did we program these three films?

- Well, the first reason is that they are all exquisite, meticulous, inspiring and amazing.

- There ARE circus artists in Western Canada, and it is time to provide them with a platform to share their work, and experience the growth that comes along with that opportunity

- All three films are exploring a new medium in different yet equally relevant ways


Due to the restrictions imposed on Albertans by AHS, digital was the only safe and responsible choice for people to gather. So it has become our job to make the digital experience an impactful one for our community. We realize that it is June, that it is a weekend, that we all have computer fatigue. So we have tried to design programming that offers something tangible and valuable to our community and audience.


The ACAF is providing viewers with the opportunity to see more than 25 different circus artists performing on aerial apparatuses, acrobatics, object manipulation, Chinese pole and more.  Our viewers can not only watch and be inspired, but they can discuss what they saw with the artists themselves, in an interactive talkback after each film. 

Which can add incredible value to the experience, one that far exceeds the cost of the ticket "

Many thanks to Annie Dugan for her collection of ideas about the festival and the circus arts community in Alberta

See you June 25-27 for the festival!