For such a festival it is highly important that the jury consists of experienced and professional people from circus- and showbusiness. All jury member will be published here continuously.

Isabel Joly – Director @ FEDEC, Brussels 

After studies in journalism and communication at Lille University (France), Isabel joined the European Commission in the Culture unity and this immersion in cultural issues at European level gave her professional life a decisive direction. She continued her exploration of the European institutions working for the European Parliament, notably in the organization of the 1998 World Fair in Lisbon. It then seemed vital to anchor in a grassroots organization and joined RESEO (the European network for opera and dance education) in 2002, where she became director a few years after. After 14 incredibly rewarding years, Isabel left RESEO for a Flemish musical theater company, Zonzo Compagnie. She was responsible for coordinating the Big Bang festival that takes place annually in 10 European cities. Since January 2018, Isabel has answered the call of the FEDEC (European Federation of Professional Circus Schools) where she shares her passion for arts education with its 65 member schools around the world and continues to explore the richness of the cultural sector.

Adrian Porter – Director @ National Centre for Circus Arts, London

Adrian porter began, as a gymnast at seven, and is now The Director of Higher Education at the National Centre for Circus Arts and a board member of the European Federation for Professional Circus Schools. He is a multi-disciplined circus arts teacher and choreographer and came to this position via a spell in the UK junior National Squad, Kingston University to study environmental Science, and Harrow School of Gymnastics as assistant senior head coach before finding circus. His experience of circus spans twenty eight years, beginning at one of Europe’s premier circus schools reaching the position of head of acrobatics by the time the millennium dome show London, and the Higher Education course was born which he was instrumental in helping to create. He then went on to work with the world famous Cirque du Soleil and was involved technically and creatively in the touring show Varekai as Head acrobatic coach and the resident show KA with the same title. Adrian has always thrived on the notion of collaborative creation and loves the creative energy that the Young Stage Festival represents.

Camilla Pessi – Artist & Clown with Compagnia Baccalà, Switzerland

Camilla Pessi was born in Locarno, Switzerland. As a teenager she was a professional member of the international junior ski squad. Wanting to combine athletic skill with artistry she trained at the Accademia Teatro Dimitri. Subsequently she deepened her studies of acrobatics and clowning at the Espace Catastrophe Brussels, and took further training in clowing with Eric De Bonts and Pierre Byland. In 2002, her first professional season was with Circus Monti in Switzerland. From 2002 to 2004 she partnered Alexey Ivanov performing as a duo in many circuses and cabarets in Europe. In 2004 she formed a duo with Simone Fassari, with whom she continues to work and tour to date, as Compagnia Baccalà. In 2011 they premiered their first full-length piece Pss Pss which has gone on to win huge acclaim and more than 12 international prizes. The wordless Pss Pss has been performed over 800 times, in over 50 countries, and on all 5 continents. A new show, Oh Oh, premièred in 2018 and is currently touring alongside the first.

Philippe Vande Weghe – Director @ ESAC, Brussels 

Philippe Vande Weghe is co-founder of Les Argonautes Company. Co-author and performer in “La Toison d’Orgue”, “Zouff!”, “Le Principe d’Incertitude” and “Pas Perdus”. This will represent nearly 1000 representations on 3 continents. In 2000, he joined the ESAC (Ecole Supérieure des Arts du Cirque) team in Brussels as a juggling teacher, and became a personal project coach for 3rd year students. Since 2005, the staging is more and more present parallel to its function as a teacher at ESAC. He stages shows such as “Carré Curieux” and “Le Passage”  Carré Curieux Co., Circus Vivant !, “Papier” Cie Les Voisins, and numbers like “Trianneaux” and “Vanina and Foucauld” and lately “The” La Vrille du Chat”, Cie Back Pocket. He is director of ESAC since 2019.

Ian Jenkins – Casting Director & Project Development @ Europa Park, Germany

In addition to his job at Europa Park, Ian is also Director for Europa Park’s new external prodution Company Blue Banana Entertainment. Ian was Twice World Professional Pair Skating Champion and Former Olympic competitor. Ian has used his 25 years of experience as an artist to create more than 50 shows with varying styles for Europa Park. Ian has worked for 9 years as Europa Park’s ‘Director of Entertainment’, and now has the new dual challenge as Europa Park’s Director of Casting & Project Development and Creative Director of Blue Banana Entertainment. The first major project for Blue Banana Entertainment was taking one of the award winning Europa Park ice shows to London’s Hyde Park for a 7 week tour at Christmas last year. As in previous years, Ian will have strong focus on the Young-Stage participants creative and athletic talent, and hopefully finding a perfect talent to incorporate them into a show presentation at Europa Park.

Philippe Agogué – Senior Casting Advisor @ Cirque du Soleil, Montreal

Philippe has university training in sports and health sciences at the Bobigny Faculty of Medicine in France and a second-level national sports instructor’s certificate in men’s artistic gymnastics. In the past, Philippe has served as technical head of the gymnastics committee for the department of Dordogne in France (FFG). He is also has been national judge for the French Gymnastics Federation. An accomplished athlete, this former gymnast was His passion for the circus led him to join our team in 2004, as talent scout, principal talent scout and head talent scout since 2009. After 6 years in Montreal Headquarter  he is based in France, he is currently our senior casting advisor for international development.

Werner Buss – Artistic Director @ GOP Varieté, Germany

Werner took over the management of the GOP Variety Theater in Hannover in 1993. At the same time, he laid the foundations for today’s GOP Entertainment Group, which is currently considered the most successful variety company in Europe. Werner is the heart, soul and creative head of the company and responsible for 25 different show productions in 7 theatres and various guest performances annually.

Sandro Lunin – Artistic Director @ Kaserne Basel, Switzerland

Sandro completed his education as a primary school teacher, followed by a couple of years of travelling including various jobs as waiter, herdsman and technician. Sandro then started at the Theater am Neumarkt, where he worked as an Assistant Director for four years. 1989 – 1997 he took over the co-direction of the Rote Fabrik factory theatre and founded the festival “Blickfelder”, which is a theatre for a young audience. From 1998 he worked for 10 years as Co-Director of the newly founded independent theatre “Schlachthaus Theater Bern” in Switzerland. There he conceived events focused on the Near and Middle East as well as on the contemporary culture from Black Africa, which quickly developed into a festival. From 2008 – 2017, Sandro worked as Artistic Director of the “Zürcher Theater Spektakel” festival, where he set new accents in the festival program with a strong focus on urban contemporary theatre and dance productions from the world’s southern metropolises. In September 2018 he took over the Artistic Direction of the Kaserne Basel and the Theater Festival Basel.