In the “ASK YOUNG STAGE” section, we answer all questions that reach us via our social media platforms once a month. All questions and answers are published here on an ongoing basis.

In which year did YOUNG STAGE take place for the first time?
In 2007 was the first festival. Then there was a two-year break – we had to set it up more professionally with all the experiences from the first year. Then from 2010 the festival took place every year until 2020, when it had to be cancelled due to the Corona pandemic.

What is YOUNG STAGE’s greatest vision?
Our original vision of becoming one of the most important circus festivals in the world has already come true to a large extent. However, we also have big plans to open a Circus Center in Basel and there our goal is to be one of the most important international centers for contemporary circus and to be the hub of the circus scene in Switzerland. We want to live and love circus, promote it, educate it professionally and let it flourish in various forms.

Up to what age can I apply as an artist?
The maximum age is 27 years during the festival. For duos or groups, the average age counts. This rule is strictly adhered to in order to have a fair criteria that applies to everyone. Downwards there is no fixed minimum age limit. However, we take great care to ensure that no children are invited who are not yet capable of performing independently as professional artists.

How many applicants does YONG STAGE get each year and how many acts are finally in the show?
In the last few years, around 400 – 450 performances with a total of around 600 artists from 60 nations have applied. In the competition show, 13 – 15 acts with about 30 artists perform. Fortunately, thanks to the open-air circus spectacle in the city of Basel, which has existed since 2018, we can invite many more artists. In 2019, there were over 100 artists from 20 nations.

What are the criteria according to which the acts are selected?
The artistic level of each discipline counts as the basis. The level of the performance must be very high. But then we also pay attention to the innovative content of the act, the story and idea behind it and, in any case, how the whole thing is presented, what happens between the artist and the audience. Does the artist touch the people, does a kind of “chemistry” develop between the audience and the stage, do you get goose bumps, are you “gripped” from the first second, do you smile, are you surprised? And in the end, authenticity of the whole also counts. Does the artist show us who he/she is?

How did the festival choose their participants even before the internet was so present?
We remember that very well, when piles of DVD’s arrived and we all unpacked them. The people at the post office always knew that YOUNG STAGE was again in the artist application phase – they would then laughingly give us a whole mail cart, which we drove across the street to the office.

Have you ever regretted choosing an artist for the festival?
No, never! All the artists who have performed with us deserve the space and the platform.