The Suburban: Concordia pulls back the curtain on the creative process of contemporary circus

Home to Cirque du Soleil, the National Circus School, TOHU and more, Montreal is at the heart of Quebec’s billion-dollar contemporary circus industry. And for the first two weeks of July, industry members, artists and fans will converge on the city for the annual Montréal complètement cirque festival.

Amid this flurry of excitement, Concordia University’s Louis Patrick Leroux is teaching his third international graduate summer seminar on circus research. It brings together 25 students and professional artists from nearly a dozen countries to think, write and perform their way through circus and its multiple meanings.

The public is invited to join the conversation at the university’s 4TH SPACE from July 2 to 12.

A recognized leader in circus scholarship, Leroux is a professor in the Department of English and Département d’études françaises and associate dean of Research in the Faculty of Arts and Science.

“Concordia is uniquely positioned to host this kind of intellectual and creative exchange,” he says. “With the seminar taking place in 4TH SPACE, the work we do is not hidden behind the academy walls but instead showcased to passersby who are invited to engage with us and our work.”

Visitors to 4TH SPACE will have a rare opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at the creative process by interacting with scholars and circus practitioners on the importance and relevance of this type of research.

“There are no seminars like this in North America,” says Alisan Funk, who was a student in the seminar’s first year and is now part of Leroux’s seminar team. “It prioritizes the opportunity for practical research with circus arts, something only available in very few degree-granting programs around the world.”

In addition to drop-in observation of the seminar participants and their work, the public is invited to a selection of presentations on a variety of subjects related to circus at 4THSPACE, 1400 De Maisonneuve Blvd. W., corner of Mackay St.