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Cahit Metin and Benjamin Kuitenbrouwer - This Is Not A Circus Interview

This October will see a showcase of Dutch circus come to Jacksons Lane. This is not a circus celebrates new circus forms coming out of the Netherlands at the moment, presented by TENT and Split Second. Named for TENT’s annual showcase in Amsterdam, This is Not a Circus will feature four shows by up-and-coming Dutch makers that will delight and thrill London audiences this October; 60% Banana, Ways of being ready, Sawdust Symphony and 360.

Cahit Metin. Photo by Laura-anne Grimbergen

Ahead of the showcase which runs at Jacksons  Lane from the 5th until the 8th of October, I caught up with Cahit Metin, director of TENT Dutch House for Contemporary Circus and co-initiator of This Is Not a Circus and Benjamin Kuitenbrouwer, circus maker & artist.

What first inspired This is Not a Circus?
This is not a circus originates from the desire to program more contemporary circus of Dutch origin, in the city of Amsterdam. Since 2021 we’ve been organising a festival in collaboration with the Amsterdam theatre Bellevue, aiming for an Amsterdam audience to get more familiar with all the different sides of contemporary circus. By programming a broad selection of performances, each different in style, length and target audience, we try to display the spectrum of contemporary circus as broadly as possible. Now, for the first time, we’re taking this concept abroad by organising This is not a circus - A Dutch Circus Showcase, in collaboration with our UK partners Jacksons Lane and Split Second.

The show 360 is quite interactive offering audiences the chance to participate with the show, why did you choose to make it an interactive show and how did you develop the ideas?
Well the show was born out a concept by Hanneke Meijers, with whom I directed the show together. She always wanted to try to make a show where the audience was sitting on rotating stools and the show would kind of rotate around them. While researching that idea, we realised that constantly rotating around your axis was not very comfortable and to be honest kind of nauseau-inducing... But we did like the fact that the audience was mobile because it gave them some kind of agency that we thought was interesting. So we kept that part and developed the concept from there. And then the interactiveness actually came as a sort of consequence of that choice. Having given them that agency, we started to figure out ways how the performance and the performers could make the audience feel that.

How thrilling is it to get to share the bill with a great selection of creatives?
Very thrilling! It's always an honour to be part of a festival or a showcase, especially if it's such a small selection. And this is indeed a great bunch of artists together so I'm sure it's going to be a fun and memorable few days!

What keeps you inspired as an artist?
Life! I think I'm always using my work to talk about what I see around me and what I think of that. For the past few years, that's mostly been quite socio-political, talking about the choices we make as a society. And how they frustrate me, to be honest. Questioning what we consider normal and what not. At the moment I'm fascinated with the topic of optimism and how it relates to the problematic state the world is in. So I first read and talk a lot about it in a very broad way and then start working my way into a specific project, a specific show I'm going to make. But in the basis I'm just trying to get a feeling across I get from living in the social structures and systems that exist around me.

Benjamin Kuitenbrouwer. Photo by Laura-anne Grimbergen

What would you want someone to take away from seeing the shows in This is not a circus?
I would like if the audience would take away new insights in the diversity the contemporary circus has to offer. Circus often still suffers from a pretty old fashioned image, and I hope that we can change this, if only just a little bit. I also hope that we’ll be able to offer an attractive selection of performances to the UK audience, which eventually will lead to an increase of Dutch based contemporary circus reaching the UK audience.

This is not a circus runs at Jacksons Lane from Thursday 5th until Sunday 8th October. Visit for more information and to book tickets.

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