Festival Mondial Du Cirque De Demain – History
Alongside the Festival International du Cirque de Monte Carlo, Cirque de Demain is one of the world’s two oldest and largest circus festivals. It was established in 1977 by Dominique Mauclair as a project of La Piste, a charity that supported retired and injured circus artists.
During its first two years the festival was held in Paris’ Cirque d’Hiver (the oldest surviving circus building in the world), then moved to the big top of Cirque à l’Ancienne for nine years, returning to Cirque d’Hiver in 1988. In 2007 the festival moved to the 2000-seat Cirque Phenix, where it is still held today.
The principal awards at the festival are medals-gold, silver and bronze-given at the discretion of the judging panel. There can be more than one of each medal: at the most recent festival there were three golds, three silvers, and four bronzes. In addition to the medals there are a number of special prizes and special jury prizes, many of them sponsored by circuses and circus schools, such as Cirque du Soleil, Les 7 Doigts de la Main and the Federation Francaise des Ecoles de Cirque.
The festival supports mostly mainstream and tented circus. Many of its past winners have gone on to have extraordinary careers-surely as a result of their skill and physical excellence, but also because the Cirque de Demain is, as well as a public event, an industry showcase that draws in many of circus’ biggest programmers and proprietors. In 2009 the Festival had a particular connection with Franco Dragone Entertainment Group (owner of the Le Rêve show that plays in the Hotel Wynn, Las Vegas), who sponsored one of the major awards and also held an exhibition of costumes and concept drawings in the auditorium of the Cirque Phenix.
In the modern world the festival’s international status is no longer unusual, but it was instrumental in bringing Chinese circus to the west, with the first Chinese act appearing and winning the most prestigious prize, the President of the Republic of France Award, in 1981.