2017 Artistic Director Message

Welcome to our new website!

There’s a lot more change happening at Circus Flora: a new site for our Big Top, new office space, and some very exciting new productions on the horizon. Though this is keeping us all very busy, it can also be important to step back once in a while and keep a perspective on why we are doing what we are doing. What is it about Circus Flora that makes it so special to our artists and to our audience, and why has it become such a beloved St. Louis institution over the past 32 years? What is it about circus as an art, and Circus Flora’s interpretation of that art, that is so meaningful to us?

Mostly, it’s about connection. The connection between our artists who work, collaborate, eat, and live together. The connection between those artists and our audience, who gets to experience the work of those artists in such a unique and visceral way. And the connection between audience members who share this experience together.

That’s really the value of circus, and I think it’s an important one. We’re in a time when it feels like there are so many forces in the world pushing us apart from one another. Now as much as ever, it can seem hard to find common ground on which we can acknowledge each others’ humanity. I truly believe, though, that Circus Flora is, and can continue to be one of those places. A place where people of all ages, backgrounds, and creeds can sit in the same space and appreciate art together. Where you sit in the round, and not only do you take in the artists in front of you, but you also see your fellow audience across the ring, no matter who it is or where they come from, enjoying it in the same way. Where you can laugh, gasp, and clap alongside your neighbors, with no barriers between you. Meanwhile, you are seeing performers of all ages, backgrounds, and even species in front of you. They are working together, helping to show us all how beautiful things can be when we put our differences aside.

The circus is absolutely vital. It is, frankly, sometimes a maligned art form.  The imagery about the circus is so strong in our culture, and it often doesn’t paint the most flattering picture. It can be hard to push past peoples’ expectations to help them understand why Circus Flora is different, and what makes it special and beautiful. That we have a live band with original music that accentuates the excitement or beauty of an act. That we tell a story that helps you get emotionally invested in the performers before seeing them do superhuman things. That we work with domesticated animals, and that they are loved and treated well. That our clowns are genuinely funny!

There are only a couple of cities in the country with their own nonprofit professional circus, and we’re proud that we get to do what we do in St. Louis. Building a tent, and putting a big compelling show in it is a mountain of work each and every time, but it’s getting to connect our world-class artists with the people of St. Louis that make it worth it.

Jack Marsh
Artistic Director

2018-02-21T22:23:03+00:00 December 14th, 2017|Blog|