As part of the Montreal Circus Festival, we had the pleasure of visiting a new production from Machine du Cirque called Kintsugi. We watched a 20-min segment of the show and had the opportunity to chat with founder and artist director Vincent Dube and director Olivier Lepine.
Our conversation touched upon the artistry behind circus performances, the increasing role of women in the industry, and the importance of supporting independent theater and circus companies.
Watch our Backstage Interview
Vincent’s approach to the circus is a breath of fresh air. He’s all about storytelling, bringing narratives to the forefront of each performance. Olivier, on the other hand, drawing on his rich theater background, believes that circus acts should not be merely about impressive feats of physicality. Instead, he strives to imbue these feats with stories that can connect with audiences on a deeper emotional level. Together their approach truly captures the heart of Machine du Cirque, where the artistic essence of performances shines as brightly as the acrobatic skills showcased.
In our chat, we also delved into the role of women in the modern circus. It was inspiring to learn that Machine du Cirque is actively championing diversity, and not just for the sake of it. Vincent shared how they work towards centering their female performers, showcasing their strength, skills, and the unique contributions they bring to the performance. This approach disrupts traditional gender roles in circus arts. For instance, women do not often perform “hand-to-hand” acts in a duo, a role typically dominated by men.
From our experience at Performing Arts World (part of Feisworld Media), we realized that none of this would be possible without the support of these production companies, selfless founders, and experienced directors. Moreover, the city of Montreal has incredible incentives, grants, and support for independent theater and production companies. I recently learned about Conseil des arts de Montreal. And I sincerely hope more cities from around the world will model after Montreal to support their artists.
Audience support is crucial to supporting circus arts. Attending shows, spreading the word, and fostering connections with local venues can significantly boost their visibility and opportunities – which is precisely what we hope to do as part of Performing Arts World.
Looking ahead, Vincent hopes to expand Machine du Cirque’s reach, especially in the United States. He sees educational institutions, particularly universities, as fertile ground for this expansion. With their eager, intellectually curious students and established venues, universities offer a fantastic platform for exposing audiences to the magic of circus arts. It’s all about changing preconceived notions of what a circus can be, moving away from the “classic juggling clown circus” image to a more emotionally resonant and intellectually engaging form of art.
So, next time you hear of a local performance by an independent circus or theater company, consider attending. You’d be supporting the arts and opening yourself up to a whole new world of storytelling, emotions, and pure physical prowess. Let’s embrace the magic of circus arts together!