greenwich circus festival 2019

Planning any event requires an incredible amount of organisation; organising people, props, stock, equipment, and so much more. We thought it might be interesting to give you a behind the scenes look at how we organise Greenwich Circus Festival, our biggest event of the year.

To begin we focus on the programme itself, which is always split into a day and evening programme - what workshops we want to hold, how many productions will go into each programme, and what stalls we want to run. Once settled we look at timings, focusing on how to create a programme that naturally flows from piece to piece and keeps people engaged; we also consider our audience, making sure everyone can be involved. Another key element of the initial planning is space requirements, as we host productions the space needs to be ready to host an audience, as well as workshops; for this reason we always draft a floor plan for the entire day!

After we have the ‘bones’ in place, we look at staffing - Greenwich Circus Festival is almost entirely run by volunteers, usually our incredible adult students, professional development students, and friends of the academy. We consider how many people we need for each set up we have; the shows, workshops, and stalls. From there we put out a call out and start to fill in spaces, this is one of the longest processes of organising the festival.

Our next port of call is performers and productions - we draw out each show we are putting on, working on running order and liaising with performers. For each show we have to programme sound and lighting, schedule technical and dress rehearsals, confirm rigging plans, ensure we have people available to operate sound, lighting, and rigging changes (from the ground and in the roof!), and of course ensure everyone performing is happy and ready to get on stage! We also have to make sure we are ready to get on stage - as we perform in the festival too!

The final stage before the weekend begins is to set the space, making sure it is ready to move from workshops to shows and back again with ease! We ensure we have plenty of signs around the space, so guests can navigate around easily. We will go on stock runs to make sure we have enough food and drink stock to last the weekend, as well as plenty of prizes for the stalls (hook a duck is our favourite!). Then we get the space set up so we can run productions, this means putting up wings for our performers to enter and exit the stage, getting chairs ready for our audience, ensuring our rigging points are in the correct positions, and getting the sound and light desks set up.

That’s it! I’m sure I’ve missed something, but hopefully I’ve given you a little more insight into what goes into planning and running Greenwich Circus Festival! We hope to see you there, you can book your tickets here: