Over the past 40 years, circus arts have transformed, resurging with a 21st century sensibility that, akin to drama, explores narratives and themes. Circus artists are working across arts disciplines incorporating theater, dance and music to tell stories of our big world and most intimate communities crossing gender, age and culture. My discovery of Jackson Lane, a North London neighborhood venue with a big vision dedicated to circus arts, makes me dream for my own community.
Jacksons Lane is in a converted Methodist church built in the Gothic style. After closing as a church in the 70’s, neighborhood residents wanted the unused building to be used as a place for the community and it reopened in 1975 as a social and cultural hub. In the 80’s it was renovated and outfitted into a performance space seating 166 and became known for supporting young and emerging artists. Over the years, it has helped hundreds of companies get their start. For example, Eddie Izzard’s started his comedy career with support from Jacksons Lane.
Jacksons Lane celebrates 40 years as a creative and cultural hub for North London and is now one of the UK’s leading supporter of contemporary circus. They work with hundreds of circus artists each year through commissioning, producing, mentoring, residencies, rehearsal space and advocacy. Wow, how cool is that! It’s one of the first venues to wave the circus flag and they do it full on.
Take note, Americans! Circus is where it’s happening and it’s high time we have a venue like Jacksons Lane stateside. Where would you put your very own Jacksons Lane?