Archaos is one of France’s most emblematic contemporary circus companies and has participated in the birth and evolution of this pioneering artistic movement. Drawing upon its rich history in the circus arts, Archaos has created more than 20 shows that have been performed around the world. The company is now using its decades of experience as a foundation to pursue its passionate commitment to the creation and distribution of the contemporary circus.
In 2001, the company established its headquarters in the heart of Marseille’s northern neighborhoods with a project created by artists for artists that strives to make the contemporary circus arts accessible to everyone.
The Archaos national circus center is co-directed by Guy Carrara, Raquel Rache de Andrade, and Simon Carrara.
Archaos was awarded the Pôle National Cirque label in 2012, which certified it as one of France’s official national circus centers. As part of Marseille-Provence 2013, European Capital of Culture, the company organized the Cirque en Capitales program to bring contemporary circus to wider audiences. Propelled by this success, in 2015, Archaos created a biannual contemporary circus festival, the BIAC - International Biennale of the Circus Arts. To meet the growing demand for these types of circus events, the company launched the Entre2 BIAC in 2016, a smaller festival held in years when there wasn’t the biennale.
The BIAC - International Biennale of the Circus Arts has rapidly become a not-to-be-missed event for audiences and circus professionals alike. This biennial, which is held in January and February, is a showcase for new contemporary circus productions and offers a program in cooperation with more than four dozen cultural venues and organizations across the Sud Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region.
As the world’s biggest contemporary circus festival and a major international event, BIAC contributes to the region’s cultural influence and appeal. For one month, it showcases the breadth and variety of contemporary circus creation with close to 300 performances of more than 70 shows.
To keep the connection with the general public and maintain a vibrant circus presence every year, in 2016, Archaos created the Entre2 BIAC. This festival, which also runs for a month between January and February, takes place mainly in the Aix-Marseille-Provence metro area.
So, if you’re keeping score, BIAC takes place every odd-numbered year, and Entre2 BIAC every even-numbered year!
Archaos also presents the work of professional circus artists and offers year-round activities at its 1200m2 facility in the northern part of Marseille. These events are open to everyone and allow people to discover, experience, and experiment with the circus arts.
The primary mission of Archaos is to support the creative process. To this end, Archaos hosts circus artists in residencies and co-produces shows with a large number of companies throughout the year. The vast majority of these shows are then programmed at either the BIAC or the Entre2 BIAC.
Archaos also offers contemporary circus professionals ongoing training courses to develop their careers, as well as the day-to-day support and facilities required for top-level circus performances.
Every month, the public is invited to attend a Rendez-Vous Cirque event. These performances of shows that are under development allow audiences to go behind the scenes of circus productions and meet circus artists.
Numerous short-term and long-term artistic and cultural projects are carried out for and with specific audiences (France’s national education system, the social services sector, various non-profit associations, and specialized medical and care establishments). These projects are presented to audiences at the BIAC and Entre2 BIAC. Furthermore, Archaos regularly programs open workshops that allow adults to try their hand at various circus techniques.
Archaos is also renowned for having created the Télécirque program in 2014. This short-format video production gives a voice to circus actors from around the world and puts a spotlight on the diversity of contemporary circus creation. It’s a promotional, news, and resource tool for the circus arts, and Archaos has already produced more than 130 episodes.
Archaos develops international projects with artists and cultural organizations around the world and coordinates a European project called CircusLink, which aims to promote the mobility and visibility of contemporary circus companies in Europe through international meetings of professionals and the development of a collaborative digital platform.
Archaos has been involved in the institutional development of the circus arts for more than 30 years and will continue to provide support to the contemporary circus to ensure this extraordinary art form receives greater recognition.