An interview with Māra Pāvula, the CEO of Rīgas cirks


Excerpts from the interview with Māra Pāvula, originaly published at

Interview conducted by Essi Brunberg / Pragma Helsinki.


Mãra Pãvula is the CEO of Rīgas cirks, an appointment which began in January this year. Mãra works towards the development of contemporary circus in Latvia by producing events and regularly writing articles about circus for different media in the Baltics and abroad. Passionate about the development of contemporary circus, she is also a board member of the Baltic Nordic Circus Network and a member of Circostrada Network’s steering committee.


–You have a lot going on at Rīgas cirks. What’s the current situation there at the moment?

(..) Our main priorities this year include of course the successful reconstruction of our historical building. We expect it to be ready at the end of 2022. Meanwhile we are presenting rich and diverse artistic programming in other theatres around Riga and Latvia and establishing a stable base for a circus school in our temporary location.

We have also decided to undertake a strong position in developing the local community and invest in the capacity building of artists – this is why we were so engaged in Beta Circus, a project that boosts European trends and artists in circus arts. We are also engaged with projects like the Baltic Circus Grassroot Network, whose main goal is for artists to take an active part in the decision making process, as well as Baltic Circus On the Road, a project that aims to build capacity for professional circus artists active in all three Baltic countries to produce tourable performances and show their work to international audiences. We also organise artistic residencies both for Baltic and international artists. (..)

–Rīgas cirks has been the host organisation of the Baltic Nordic Circus Network for these past few years. BNCN has evolved and gained new, young voices to its midst. What kind of future do you see for this network?

First, I would like to emphasise that BNCN is very unique in my eyes – as a relatively small network – as members are there for the development and not for their own interest. It has been a crucial partner for Rīgas cirks. I have personally been involved in BNCN since its very beginning, and since Rīgas cirks joined, we have always been active partners and even co-hosts.

Regional collaboration is the only way the industry can thrive in countries that have relatively small populations. We are privileged to have wonderful partners who are willing to put an effort into the development of the field. The future of the network depends on partners – we have all managed to overcome our own internal difficulties after the pandemic, and we continue to work for the common good.

Even after or co-hosting period will end, BNCN will always be able to count on us as a stable partner advocating for the need of cooperation

–When it comes to the rise of contemporary circus in the Baltics, there has been a tremendous leap forward in the past few years – with Rīgas cirks involved in a lot of it. What is the most crucial factor for the further development and strengthening of circus in Latvia and the Baltic states? What does circus need right now?

I see the Baltics as one playground, if you can say so. Rīgas cirks is a very strong platform with a beautiful team who is ready to work on strengthening the infrastructure, but we are very limited in our means. We are working on programming, supporting creation, and developing education. It is a lot, but as we are the only ones in Latvia, we have no choice. Luckily, we have our partners in Lithuania and Estonia, cooperation is really the key.

For real development we need to sort out the infrastructure for both education and creation and advocate for the funding of the sector. In Latvia we have institutions for circus, but there is very little community. Estonia is the opposite, but Lithuania has a good mix.

I feel like during the pandemic, the Baltic community has grown stronger, also in terms of performances. If before we talked about almost no circus performances from the region, now we have published a catalogue with 22! Now these performances need the possibility to tour and meet audiences. I hope to see some of them travelling to Finland as well.

Read the full interview HERE.