CIRCUS WA has until April next year to find a new home.
After five years waiting for the clowns and jugglers to move on, landlord Artsource has run out of patience and given them a firm date to be out of the Old Customs House in Fremantle.
The circus school had applied to take over Sunset Events’ empty studio for six months, but lost out to an art support group with an indigenous focus.
Projects manager Jo Smith says they support Artsource’s decision.
“Artsource are a great company who support visual artists; unfortunately they don’t see theatre arts such as Circus WA fitting into their frame,” she said.
“As much as we never thought the time would come and we definitely do not want to leave, we understand things have changed and Artsource need to take the next step in their visual arts journey.”
Circus WA has been working with Fremantle council, WA department of culture and the arts and Artsource to find a new home, but without success so far.
“We are calling out to the community, business owners and business developers for help,” Ms Smith said.
“We are looking for an empty warehouse-type building with high ceilings and a large floor area.
“If building owners are feeling philanthropic and would like to help us out with a subsidised lease we would return the favour by activating the building and not leaving it to disintegrate until the economy picks up again.”
She says they’re looking for a lease of two to four years at the moment to tide them over.
“In the long run we would like to renovate a building to suit us, or even build,” Ms Smith said.
Although there are a few options in areas outside of Fremantle such as Maylands, Ms Smith says the board of Circus WA still believe it belongs in the Freo area because of its reputation as an arts hub.
“The department of culture and the arts have told us that we need to look across Perth and we have looked from Maylands right down to Mandurah, but we aren’t ready to give up on Fremantle just yet,” Ms Smith said.
A circus insider told the Herald the organisation had been offered plenty of space, even free, but some on the board were welded to Customs House and those opportunity went begging.
“They’ve been offered so many places,” she said, miffed that they now find themselves adrift.
Circus WA performed its last show as Cirquepop at the recent Fremantle Festival but can’t put on any more shows until a new home is found.
by HOLLY COOMEY