The most famous company to arise in Scandinavia is Cirkus Cirkör. Founded in 1995 by Tilde Björfors, an actress and director who encountered the circus arts while living in Paris, Cirkör came together as a collective of artists passionate about establishing a major contemporary circus company in Sweden.
The members were driven and the time was right. In 1999 Cirkör received a government grant and a national commission for youth culture. In 2005 the company was granted status of regional artistic institution with accompanying contributions from state and regional sources.
Today Cirkör employs around 30 staff and 250 freelancers. Almost 2.5 million people have seen a Cirkus Cirkör show on stage and in festivals around the world. About 500,000 children and youths have taken part in training, creating, and education programs with Cirkus Cirkör.
Contemporary circus is now an established art form in Sweden. You will find the circus in all sorts of places—from pre-schools to universities and in homes for the elderly.
A Cirkör production is typically big-hearted, chaotic and colourful, with an optimistic sense of potential in the face of adversity.
In 1997 Cirkus Cirkör established the first official school for circus artists in the Nordic countries, the Circus Pilots (Cirkuspiloterna). The one-year education was in 2000 turned into a three-year programme that formed the basis of what is today the BA programme at DOCH, School of Dance and Circus (DOCH, Dans och Cirkushögskolan).
Cirkus Cirkör is also a centre for artistic research, giving time and space to artists who want to explore their practice and develop new ideas. In 2008 the company opened Cirkör LAB, a residency programme to support artistic projects in their early, exploratory phases and to support cross-discipline efforts in the science of arts.
Between 2008 and 2012, Tilde Björfors held a professorship with DOCH, working with researchers from a wide variety of fields on the project 'Contemporary circus as transboundary in arts and society'.
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.
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.