The Riga Circus is becoming a contemporary art centre – a place where different disciplines of art – circus, theatre, dance, music and cinema – come together; and here’s much to see, find out and learn for people of all ages and interests. Since its very establishment, the Riga Circus has been an attractive venue for cultural life of Riga, and it should always remain so.
The classes in the Riga Circus School can be attended by children as well as adults.
The Riga Circus building is currently under reconstruction – energy efficiency works are being carried out, scheduled to be completed in 2023. LEARN MORE ABOUT RECONSTRUCTION (in Latvian).
During the reconstruction, the Riga Circus School and the office of the circus are located in Āgenskalns, on 25, Zeļļu Street. In the meantime, Riga Circus shows can be seen in various cultural spaces of Riga and elsewhere in Latvia.
Visualizations: pictures 1-3: Riga Circus after reconstruction in 2023. Pictures 4 and 5 – Riga Circus after complete reconstruction
The Riga Circus building is the only permanent circus building in the Baltic states and one of the first in Europe. When Jānis Frīdrihs Baumanis, the first academically educated Latvian architect, designed the Riga circus building in 1888, the facade facing Merķeļa Street contained not only the door for spectators but also an entrance for horses to get into the yard. Over the years, the building has been rebuilt, changed, adapted, and complemented with new details. The building will now be reconstructed again, this time with a view to restoring the historic, attractive features of the Riga circus in combination with contemporary vibes.
In the past, this place featured not only strongmen, jugglers, clowns, and acrobats, but also the first cinema shows in Riga, concerts and wonders of art from all over the world. Currently, the Riga Circus is a wonderful place to experience the most diverse facets of art and culture. Local and international artist shows are taking place here, children and adults learn the secrets of circus disciplines in the circus school, while artists-in residency are generating new ideas and creating new shows. The transformation of the circus building will take place gradually. The first stage of reconstruction will be launched at the end of 2020: we will work on energy efficiency and thermal insulation of the building. The most noticeable change will come afterwards: a comfortable pedestrian passage will be made in place of the former horse entrance, a place where Garlībs Merķelis will be able to meet Alfrēds Kalniņš. But all the way up to the legendary circus dome made of railway tracks, there will be walkways for urban explorers.
Strategic Objectives of the Riga Circus
The Riga Circus is a multifunctional art centre which aims not only at offering important and topical circus performances to an ever-expanding public, but also promotes the development and visibility of the circus industry in the Latvian society in the long term.
The strategic objectives of the VSIA Rīgas Cirks are the development, modernisation, and promotion of professional circus art in Latvia and abroad, as well as ensuring its availability to all members of the society. All capital shares (100%) are the property of the Republic of Latvia, and the holder of state capital shares is the Ministry of Culture. The decisions of the shareholders meeting are taken by the State Secretary of the Ministry of Culture. VSIA Rīgas Cirks is not involved in other companies. In order to fully develop the circus sector and to offer the circus miracle to the widest possible number of people in the long term, targeted and considerate efforts are taking place in a number of strategic directions. It is currently possible for the general public to see visiting circus shows in the Riga Circus and other venues throughout Latvia. Circus disciplines can now be tried out by everyone – the Riga Circus School offers lessons for children and workshops for people of all ages. On the other hand, Riga Circus promotes international visibility and creativity by working with international networks of circus professionals and organising a programme of artist residencies. The Riga Circus building was closed in 2016-2018 to strengthen the wall facing Merķeļa Street. However, since September 2018, it has housed a series of cultural events – contemporary art festivals, shows, exhibitions, concerts, and circus performances. In the coming years, the Riga Circus building will undergo significant changes, which will alter not only the functional use of the building but also the urban environment adjacent to it by connecting two streets – Merķeļa street and A. Kalniņa street.
Find out more about the future vision in this video: