It appears not all was as well with Fremantle’s CIRCUS WA as indicated at a recent Fremantle Council meeting where Councillor Rachel Pemberton was reassuring that ARTSOURCE would look into relocating Circus WA in their Phillimore Street building and would not force them out. This was at the Council discussion about giving the, largely unknown, ENKEL group a long-term lease of the Naval Stores at Cantonment Hill, after talks between Enkel and Circus WA to share that building had failed.
This morning I talked to one of the managers of Artsource Fremantle who told me they want the ground floor space to create an arthub with gallery, cafe, a space where they can have events with their artists etc. and that initial talks with the City about doing that in a COF owned building had not proceeded because Artsource wants the cohesion of doing it all in their own building, and that makes sense.
The question now is where Circus WA will go and if it will stay in Fremantle because Artsource has generously given them five years to find another location, but so far they have not succeeded in finding an appropriate building high enough for trapez, etc.
Would Fremantle Council have voted to give Enkel the lease if they had known Artsource would no longer accommodate Circus WA, or might they have made a different decision and insist on Enkel and the circus school sharing the Naval Stores? We will never know.
What is next I wonder. C Shed on Victoria Quay is vacant and hardly used. Could the circus school be moved there or in the rarely used part of B Shed? Has the City of Fremantle talked with Fremantle Ports about it?
With the development of Kings Square still uncertain maybe the former Queensgate cinema space would be suitable for the circus school. Whatever happens Fremantle City needs to make sure Circus WA will stay in our city as we cannot afford to lose more of our cultural organisations. Fremantle also prides itself on its youth culture and that can not be restricted to the Esplanade Youth Plaza only.
And what about this info I just received vial email from Enkel:
It’s time to launch our new collaboration space in East Vic Park : The Vic Park MiniLab!
enkel will lease the space at 874 Albany Highway for one year. The majority of our activities will now happen here, and we consider East Vic Park our home base for now.
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CIRCUS W.A. better known as the Fremantle circus school, will remain at the ARTSOURCE managed Old Customs House for a little bit longer, until the end of June, so that is good news.
Artsource wants to change the large ground level space into an art gallery and cafe, so Circus WA needs to find alternative accommodation for the very popular and successful school.
Together with the Fremantle Foundation Circus WA has lodged a long-term application with the City of Fremantle to lease the former Naval Stores building at Cantonment Hill. The historic hill and Signal Station are due for significant development to become one of Fremantle’s major public open spaces with endless ocean and river views.