Rigas Cirks is a multifunctional arts centre, that deliberately works towards offering relevant and current circus shows to wider audiences, as well as promotes development and availability of circus arts in Latvia and the Baltics.
Rigas Cirks building was built in 1888 and can be considered one of the oldest circus-focused buildings in Europe. After series of events, Rigas Cirks was re-launched as a state owned enterprise in 2017, introducing a new strategy for the prominent historic building as well as the institution itself. As of that moment it works in three strategic directions – offering circus shows, quality circus education (currently leisure education for kids and grown ups) as well as international artist residency program.
The Rigas Cirks arena is recently renovated. LEARN MORE ABOUT THE RECONSTRUCTION.
Rigas Cirks offers circus classes in the Riga Circus School that can be attended by children as well as adults, located in Āgenskalns, on 25, Zeļļu Street.
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 Rīgas cirks 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 Rīgas cirks 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.
Values of Rīgas cirks
Diversity performances / on stage / in the audience / community
We aspire to show circus in all its diversity, not only as a discipline, but as a creative art form. As well as representing circus, we strive for inclusiveness on and off stage, among artists, students and the audience.
Cooperation with artists / with other art forms / with the environment / with other creative organisations / society / interdisciplinary / intercultural communication
Circus has always been a space for interdisciplinary collaboration – in fact it is one of the core values of circus arts. Rigas cirks will continue to bring together artists form all kinds of creative backgrounds to communicate through performance art.
Courage the essence of circus / artistic freedom / overcoming your fears / breaking stereotypes / new forms / experiments
Courage to overcome your fears to achieve something that seems to be impossible is an integral part of the circus arts. You can see that in every circus performance and in every circus artist.
Art quality content / art as an platform for ideas, not just aesthetics / encouragement for art / art education / understanding art
Circus is a language, not just a decoration or made just for amusement. In our artistic programme we aspire to create quality content with artistic value, as well as meaningful message behind it. To achieve this and share it with our audiences we invite the worlds best contemporary circus artists and performers from other creative fields. We encourage the creation of art, showing finished performances as well as works in progress. Also we try to make the space where artists can create and let their creative thoughts fly.
Improvement in our artists / circus school as a place for growth / improvement in the organisations employees
At the foundation of circus lies never ending evolution for individuals and for the community as a whole. Contemporary art in Latvian society is at its first stages and that is why communication, education and improvement is a key factor.
Strategic Objectives of the Rīgas cirks
Rīgas cirks 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 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. 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, Rīgas cirks 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: