The Utopians


The MICC working group on Commissioning Circus, aka The Utopians, is an international consortium of over a dozen members, including some of the leading presenters of circus in North America and Europe, all deeply engaged in circus’ current transformations, from its insightful repurposing of long held traditions to its embrace of storytelling and abstract expression to its personalization of a much beloved performance experience.  

See below for a full list of members.



In July 2020, the MICC launched a working group focused on supporting the creation of new work in contemporary circus. The group chose to focus specifically on artists, especially but not limited to women artists and artists of color, who were neither emerging nor well-known (aka ‘mid-career’), and whose work was concept-driven.  


In a first round, 35 artists were nominated through an internal process and 9 of these artists were invited to submit project pitches to the group. Of these nine project ideas, two have been developed into full-scale works which premiered independently of the group in 2022; two are in active development towards premieres in 2024; and two have premiered under the auspices of group members as commissioning partners in 2022.  


The Working Group then reviewed its strengths and opportunities and adopted a new name: The Utopians. Like “utopians” of literature, they look to the future of circus as a boundless opportunity for unimagined creativity.    


The Utopians have fine-tuned their role as providing seed support in the form of a very minor cash grant plus substantive in-kind consultation to artists and companies at the earliest stage of ideation of a new work in contemporary circus.  


Through their involvement, they hope to help new ideas to get to a point in which the artist is well-positioned to advocate for larger funding in the form of commissioning requests and creation grant applications. The MICC marketplace will offer projects an additional level of visibility along this journey as appropriate.   


List of Members: 

Assembly Festival, Edinburgh, UK 

Utvecklingsledare Cirkus, Sweden 

ArtPark, New York, USA 

Tina Koch, Stockholm University of the Arts, Sweden 

Ruhrfestspiele Recklinghausen, Germany 

Rīgas cirks, Riga, Latvia 

Le Diamant, Québec, Canada 

Chamaeleon Theatre Berlin, Germany 

The Cultch, Vancouver, Canada 

Stockholm City Theatre, Stockholm, Sweden 

PS21, New York, USA 

Canadian Stage, Ontario, Canada 

Jed Wheeler Gob Smack Ltd, USA 

TOHU, Québec, Canada 


Previous Projects: 

The following is a list of projects in which the Utopians have had varying levels of involvement.  


In the Fire – Holly Treddenick* 

  • World Premiere 2022, Montclair State University, New Jersey, USA 

Julieta - Gabriela Munoz* 

  • World Premiere 2021 Chamaeleon Theatre Berlin 

Minty Fresh – Monique Martin** 

  • In Development 

The Award – Back Pocket** 

  • In development  

Soka Tira Osoa – Compagnie Basinga** 

  • World Premiere 2021  

Rollercoaster - Wes Peden** 

  • World Premiere 2021 


* Received commissioning support from Utopian institutional members 

** Received preliminary support from Utopians Working Group 


Subscribe to our newsletter