About Madison Circus Space
Madison Circus Space celebrates modern circus and movement arts, emphasizing dance, creativity, fitness, and recreation for all ages, abilities, and aspirations. We are the largest community of circus artists in Wisconsin, with (pre-pandemic) 70 members (independent training and teaching artists), 50+ hours of weekly programming serving 250+ unique visitors, and an average of 12+ public activities per month. As a 24/7 circus arts incubator, MCS builds capacity for arts education, performance, collaboration, and launching professional artists.
- MCS is a volunteer-run nonprofit, operated by a board of directors
- MCS opened our custom facility in Fall 2019
- MCS has three studios with beautiful hardwood floors, pulley-rigged aerial points, a large collection of German wheels, etc. See more details about our studios here: https://madisoncircusspace.com/rental/
- Some shared equipment is available
- Active Facebook communities for members (139) and students (274 members)
This project is to establish a Circus Arts Residency at Madison Circus Space. Eligible art forms include any discipline of circus or movement arts. This residency, the only of its kind in Wisconsin, offers circus professionals and pre-professionals self-directed training time to develop skills in a supportive, safe, community-oriented environment, and to further the creative development of performance projects. Residents have use of studio space, access to equipment, and use of the space for performances, subject to scheduling availability. Residents are expected to offer workshops/classes to engage community members in their art-making, and the residency will culminate in a public sharing. We also hope that artists will leave the residency having earned income rather than breaking even.
- Expand programming by establishing a circus arts residency in Wisconsin.
- Increase guest circus artists through visits and training.
- Increase annual engagement through additional programming hours, unique visitors, performances, and audience members.
- Provide resident artists with a time for creative revitalization and also financial viability.
Pilot Program (October 2021)
- Residents design the program to work for them in a way that is reciprocal with the MCS community.
- The residents’ time will include personal training/development (self-guided) as well as teaching/contributing to our community, ideally in a way that fills a gap between what is already offered at MCS.
- Hibernation training station: Hunker down to work on your own thing in a dedicated training facility
- Community contribution: Teaching/instruction that is open to MCS members and the broader student community
- Host will work with you to arrange workshops/classes
- MCS rental rates are conducive to ensuring that classes and workshops are profitable for instructors
- There is no guarantee of a set number of students in any workshop or class but MCS and host will work with the visiting artist(s) to provide as many safe opportunities as possible.
- A culminating sharing/public showcase of work accomplished during the residency
- This may be a test-run of a new act or show, a student showcase, may be part of a member-run event, can be virtual, etc. We are open to ideas that serve the artist and MCS community. Residents are encouraged to share some aspect of the work they accomplished while in residency.
- There is no guarantee of a public, in-person show due to COVID. Host and MCS will work with the artist on alternate methods of sharing.
- Residents are required to have teaching insurance or be sponsored by an existing MCS instructor. Residents are strongly encouraged to carry personal liability insurance as well. MCS does not provide insurance coverage for any training, teaching, performance, or other activities that residents may engage in at MCS.
- Release call for artists, August 2021
- Application deadline, September 15, 2021
- Review applications and select artist(s), September 2021
- Host residency, October 2021
- Artist activities, including classes and public sharing*, October 2021
*public events will not be held if it’s determined that it’s not safe to do so.
Round 2 (tentative, pending success of pilot):
- Release call for artists, September 2021
- Review applications and select artist(s), October 2021
- Market artist activities, including classes and public performances, October 2021
- Host residency, November 2021 – January 2022
- Culminating Public Performance: January 2022
Stephanie Richards – Development Director and Program Director. Stephanie began exploring different movement classes in 2010. She joined an intro to aerial arts class with Wild Rumpus Circus at the Goodman Center as part of this exploration, and fell in love. Stephanie expanded from trapeze into silks, lyra, rope, and pole. Beyond a love of flying, Stephanie found that circus offers a warm, supportive community that lifts up all its members. Stephanie began producing acts as a part of the Chiaroscuro Student Showcase with Cycropia Aerial Dance. Later that year, Madison Circus Space opened its doors and allowed a venue for creative circus arts to really dream big. Stephanie was a founding director of the first Skeleton Circus as well as Circus After Dark, The MishMash show, and Guerilla Gallery Night open houses. Stephanie has a special talent for PR and collaborative work, and her work with the community has produced incredible results both in individual acts (Stephanie’s silks trio “Crush” has been lauded as the best silks act yet produced in Madison) and in shows with ever-increasing popularity. With a day job in arts administration, Stephanie is also very concerned with building community relationships, so that no one with a love of death-defying feats ever has to be turned away. She has a regular youth class and loves bringing the joy of aerial to kids in the Madison area! https://www.swingstateaerial.com/about
Carly Schuna – Board Secretary and Scheduling Coordinator. Carly Schuna is a five-time national champion in wheel gymnastics and a certified coach through the USA Wheel Gymnastics Federation. She has performed at events and venues such as the Wheel Gymnastics World Championships, the Barrymore Theatre, Overture Center’s Capitol Theater, Madison’s Orpheum Theater, and Chicago’s Daley Plaza. Carly is a founder and executive board member of the Madison Circus Space, where she teaches a variety of classes. http://www.headoverwheelscircus.com/
- Private, furnished room(s) in a 3-bedroom house
- Room for up to 4 guests
- 2 Queen beds
- Front porch, backyard with hammock, garden
- Shared full bathroom
- Laundry (NOT coin-operated!)
- Fully stocked kitchen
- Cute and medium-friendly cat named Pants
- Accommodations are in the personal residence of Stephanie Richards, not MCS. MCS is not liable for anything regarding housing, and does not own the housing provided.
- See Airbnb listing for photos and more details (pending city permit): airbnb.com/h/madcircushouse
- Training facility is in the backyard (no coat, no shoes, no problem!)
- The house is walking distance from a neighborhood grocery store, cafes, restaurants, and bars
- There is a bus stop within feet of the front door with access to downtown, and another bus line within a short walk to a bigger grocery store.
- Access to use of host’s bikes and/or occasional use of host’s car (it’s a manual)
- Parking for a car is available depending on the size, in the driveway, on street, or possibly can negotiate for a designated spot in the MCS parking lot (last resort)
See this spreadsheet for a sample 1 month budget.
A review team made up of MCS instructors, board members, and students will review applications. Ultimate decision will be made by program director and host, Stephanie Richards.
Review Criteria (draft)
- Fills a gap in MCS offerings (0- no and conflicts with something one of our instructors offers – 10- definitely this isn’t offered at MCS)
- Financial feasibility (0- potentially no interest from our student base – 10- workshops and classes would be super popular)
- Diverse discipline/art form
- Black, Indigenous, Person of Color, alter-abled, (i.e., not white, heternormative, able-bodied, etc)
- Bonus points
- Can offer professional development/continuing education to instructors (i.e., high level instruction in their skill area, or anatomy, rigging training, curriculum development, etc).
Review Panel (proposed)
- Stephanie (program director, instructor)
- Carly (board member, instructor)
- Mackenzie (instructor)
- Josh (board member, building manager, show host)
- TBD (student)
How to Apply
Please complete our application form which contains the following questions. Deadline to apply for the October 2021 Residency is Sept 15, 2021.
- What skills/teaching can you share with our community? How do you see them filling a gap in what is currently offered at MCS (reference our list of active classes here)?
- How will one month of dedicated time support your artistic endeavors?
- How would you like to share/present with the great Madison and/or circus community?
- Why you!? What makes you an awesome person, community member, housemate?
- What questions do you have for us? What information do you need to ensure this is a good fit for you?