My June and July this year were heavily steeped in circus time (perhaps I unconsciously I had to make up for my lack of circussing while in America last year).

It all began with the Galway Juggling Convention, which ran from 30th of May to the 1st of June. It’s the same weekend every year (June bank holiday) so if you’re ever free, you should go. As my first juggling convention, the GJC holds a special place in my heart.

Every [juggling] convention has a different draw, Galway’s would be that it’s usually quiet small, 100-150 people, and it’s also the last of the [academic] year (I rue the day when the new year doesn’t start in September). So we have the best chance of good weather.

This year we did things a LIIITTLE bit differently. Usually we hold the renegade in the college bar (in case you don’t know, a renegade is essentially an open mic for jugglers where almost anything goes, and is an integral part of any juggling convention), but this year we had it in the hall. We also kind of had two gala shows, part of which was a sit down dinner, and we introduced VIP tickets.

The GJC was originally run in a the Rowing Club across the river from NUIG. But being run by NUIG Juggling Society it now takes place inside the college. Which means we have a big hall to play with – the Bailey Allen Hall. Usually you’d walk right into the main hall area, but this year we had it split so you walked right into the stage/seating-dining area (approx 1/3 of the entire BA Hall) and then into the main hall.

On the Stage we had Fight Night, the first part of the Gala show, and the renegade. The second part of the gala had a big set-up. So this was set up in advance in The Cube (a large room often used for plays in Áras na Mac Léinn). So people sat down, had food, watched a show, went to another room, and watched a second show. Most people liked this, some people didn’t. Some people thought it was too concept-heavy for a juggling show/convention.

For the past few years our Gala show has been centred around it being a largely Irish stage which I think is a great idea. I think because we’re [pretty much]guaranteed the venue, a bit more playing around could be done with the set-up of the convention. So maybe expect some small changes next year.

Published by Blue Hanley

Galway-based Theatre-maker who loves circus, conventions and travelling.

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