Facilities dedicated to circus creation and the Dôme de Gascogne,
a unique permanent big top for performances
Circus professionals need suitable spaces where they can install their apparatus (trapeze, ropes…), their scenography, or put up their big top for a while to create or rehearse shows, to break new grounds in circus arts, to devise new circus techniques or new apparatus. For the same reasons that choreographic and dramatic centres exist for the arts of Dance and Theatre, the circus arts also need dedicated spaces such as the C.I.R.C, Circus Innovation and Research Centre.
CIRCa instigated the project of building facilities suitable for circus techniques in order to improve the working conditions of artists in residence and to be able to provide a thorough follow-up of productions.
The CIRC is a major national and international research and development space for circus arts that does not restrict itself to presenting circus shows, but other performing arts too (theatre, dance, music...). By its specificity, it plays a large part in the dynamic of Grand Auch, the local development of Gers, the prestige of Région Occitanie and it reveals Auch as a town committed to the development of contemporary circus.
Auch Town Council as contracting public authority of this project was committed to building up this facility, unique in France, with the aim to consolidate the development of circus arts and of the CIRCa Festival.
The building work started in January 2011. The launch of the facility took place in August 2012.
This major cultural facility is situated on the former Caserne Espagne site (cavalry headquarters which first buildings date from 1826), in Auch-centre.
The former vast military stables have been beautifully restored and converted in:
Just nearby, there is :
This project has been led by Pays d’Auch Organisation, Auch Town Council and CIRCa. It is funded by the State, Région Midi-Pyrénées, Conseil Départemental du Gers (local councils) and Auch Town Council.
Architectural project: Cabinet ADH, Bordeaux - project selected the 15th May 2009.
Memories of a site : Quartier Espagne
In 1768, Philippe Astley, an English soldier of a cavalry regiment, invented the concept of contemporary circus by giving a prevailing place to equestrian dressage in his shows.
Therefore, locating the CIRC in the former military stables of the Caserne Espagne (built in the second part of the 19th Century and where the 9th regiment of cavalrymen stayed from 1831 to 1919), was a great way to connect the contemporary circus with its roots. Hence why the Zingaro equestrian theatre managed by Bartabas was the very first company hosted at the CIRC.
The organisation Pays d'Art et d'Histoire du Grand Auch took advantage of the 2 years of building work and edited an exhaustive architectural and historical study about this remarkable architectural heritage: Quartier Espagne, (click below to download, only in French):
Two leaflets have also been edited by the Pays d’Art et d’Histoire du Grand Auch:
Dôme de Gascogne, CIRC © Hervé Abbadie