Venue for circus school hard to find

19:19, May 08 2012
Jenny Ritchie
HIGHLY STRUNG: Jenny Ritchie performs the rope act she developed in Montreal, where she is now based.

When the earthquake hit, there was no safety net for Christchurch's circus school.

But student performers could soon be swinging back into action.

Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology's (CPIT) CircoArts Bachelor of Performing Arts programme has been out of action since the February 2011 earthquake, when its specialist facility on the campus was deemed structurally unsound.

CPIT head of performing arts Tom Rainey said there was huge support to get the course re-established for 2013.

However, finding a suitable facility for classes was proving a barrier, he said.

"Short-term we need somewhere at least 10 metres high for aerial work. That is a challenge. Commercial space is hard to find." Rainey said a temporary structure near CPIT would be ideal, so students would be close to the library and other facilities.


"Long-term we want to hold a conversation with the community about potential collaboration with arts groups in terms of realising a central-city facility that will allow for teaching, performance and administration of arts and circus performance."

International performer and CPIT graduate Jenny Ritchie, who is now based in Canada, said her circus contacts were keen to help re-establish the course.

"CircoArts has launched many great careers," she said.

"It's part of Christchurch and it also brings people from around New Zealand and Australasia to train in circus arts. There is international support for CircoArts and many of my contacts in Montreal want to visit and share their skills here."

The Press