Lack of investment in Britain's new breed of circus companies means they face a bleak future with competitors from abroad outperforming them financially and artistically, according to a Policy Studies Institute report this week.
While foreign companies like the Canadian troupe, Cirque du Soleil, play to sell-out crowds, the United Kingdom's "new circus" sector "is still underdeveloped and much of its activity is low key and community-based", says report author Dominic Moody.
The study, part of the latest Cultural Trends survey, says only a few new circus performers in the UK are full-timers. The growth in interest in new circuses in the UK has led to many agencies and training schools being set up. But, says the report, the UK has not spent any significant public money on it, nor developed a national circus strategy, unlike its competitors.