Our history


Contemporary circus first emerged as an artistic genre in the 1970s. The main difference between traditional circus and contemporary circus is that a traditional circus show takes place in a tent and includes acts with humans and animals. Contemporary circus has moved the circus onto the theater stage, and it is influenced by other art forms such as theater, dance, visual arts, music and street arts. Contemporary circus performances are by nature dramatic and often have a narrative thread. There are contemporary circus companies that include animals in their shows, but this is far less common than in traditional circus.

In traditional circus it is the family that train and pass on acts to the next generation of artists. With the emergence of contemporary circus, educational programs opened up to artists that were not born into circus families. Although contemporary circus artists were inspired by the alternative community that the traditional circus had created, they wanted to take an active part in and influence their society.

A contemporary circus stage can be anything from a classroom, a theater, a rock venue – and a circus tent. For the audience the narrative and often animal-free performance of contemporary circus is quite different from what they have imagined. Physical limits are tested – just as in traditional circus – but it creates transboundary art pieces using other art forms and expressions.


  • Cirkör is a play on the french words 'Cirque' and 'Coeur', circus and heart.
  • Cirkus Cirkör started as a non-profit organisation in 1995. The first show Skapelsen premiered at the Stockholm Water Festival.
  • In 1997 Cirkör started the first contemporary circus education in Scandinavia: Cirkuspiloterna. In 2005 the artistic education was imerged into the University system and today it is run by the University of Dance and Circus.
  • In 1998 Cirkör founded a private corporation that is owned by the non-profit organisation. Cirkör secondary school, continuing education and pedagogical programs for school and leisure time is run by the non-profit organisation. The corporation run the shows and Cirkör Event. Cirkör Event produces contemporary circus acts and performances on assignment.
  • Since 2000 Cirkör head office and base is located in the county of Botkyrka, south of Stockholm.
  • In 2005 Cirkus Cirkör was given the status of a regional artistic institution with fixed grants from the Swedish Arts Council, the City of Stockholm, Stockholm County Council and Botkyrka County.
  • Some interesting facts, yearly count: The performances are seen by around 70 000–100 000 persons, where of about a third of that is outside of Sweden. We deliver between 50–100 customized events, and around 30 000 people train circus with us. We also have roughly 40 students in our upper secondary school programme.