The Richard Award

The Richard Award is being created in tribute to Richard Ward , founder of Fool Time in Bristol, the first professional circus school in the UK.

Richard Ward (1945-1999) was the founder of Fool Time in Bristol on 1st April 1986, the first professional circus school in the UK and the first English language circus school in the world. It was active from 1986 to 1993 and was succeeded by Circomedia (established 1994).  The school attracted students from all over the world, making it possible to train as a circus or physical theatre artist without having to run away with the circus (unless you wanted to, that is!). 

Artistically, Fool Time combined the disciplines of theatre, dance, movement, mime and storytelling with human circus skills: acrobatics, trapeze, clowning, juggling, balancing and equilibristics. Educationally, it developed the first curriculum from a five day course up to a one year course laying the groundwork for today's formal higher education qualifications. Students paid fees (70%) which were subsidised by the school which fundraised for the other 30% needed to make the training as accessible, affordable and available as possible - a policy close to Richard's heart.

Fool Time was a trail-blazing venture at the forefront of the contemporary circus movement which emerged from the counter-culture movement of Britain in the 1980s.  Its legacy can be seen across all fields of artistic endeavour.  Many of today's leading circus practitioners began their journey in Bristol. Many have gone on to work in a wide range of artistic and educational settings taking the Fool Time vision all over the world.

To continue Richard's passionate commitment to supporting young talent, the Richard Award will be presented to an artist, or group who have completed professional training in Bristol.

It will be launched in Spring 2018 when the website will accept applications and nominations (more details to follow) and the first award winner/s will be announced in the autumn as part of Bristol's Circus 250 celebrations. The project is being driven by Audrey Michel, Helen Crocker and Janine McCretton. The judges will include past Fool Time tutors and students.

Our target is £2,000. This includes start up costs for the project, a first prize of £500, the website (which will be the application gateway) and the trophy itself.

To make this happen we need to hit the target.  Please give what you can.

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If you would like to be involved in the judging panel please contact us. If you are able to help with making the trophy - please get in touch.

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£50 – Fool Time Poster A3, full colour

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Yours to own - the iconic Fool Time poster complete with the Thomas St address

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£100 – Framed Fool Time poster A3, full colour

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The iconic Fool Time poster, complete with original Thomas St address, framed and ready to hang

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