“Can the Big Apple Circus be saved?” asks the New York Times in this piece from the other day. Uh, yeah, if you’re not completely obtuse. They lost a few million in annual revenue in corporate block bookings etc and it seems to be a permanent market change (given that this has been going on for eight years.). The market will not support the size of the organization, so they need to adjust the size of their operation. They’ve already downsized the back office. Now they need to downsize the show. Sell the tent, get a smaller one, and pitch someplace other than Damrosch Park, and I know just where.
In fact, I have too many suggestions to list them all but here a few: 1) Coney Island: as BAC, Ringling, Cole Brothers,et al have all done before. Coney needs a circus out there every summer season, and the natural one ought to be BAC. 2) Brooklyn Bridge Park. The Welsh outfit NoFit State Circus just pitched their tent there and filled the tent the night I was there. 3) Launch a capital campaign to buy a circus building like the ones they have in Europe so you can perform year-round, without labor costs to take a tent up and down and move it. These are just a few alternatives. I’ve always hated the BAC being at Lincoln Center anyway — it gives off an elitist vibe. I always felt surrounded by millionaires and their “I want a pony just like that one!” children — that’s hardly in the best populist tradition of the American circus.
Is downsizing and moving unthinkable? Uh, no, folding the entire circus just because you’re lame and entrenched and unable to think outside the way you’ve always done things is what’s unthinkable. Crowdfunding to replace corporate sales seems both distasteful (are you really using this democratic medium to replace the mad money once thrown at you by banks?) and a short-term solution at best (what are you going to do next season?) Just downsize and keep going like troupers!