Compagnie Bivouac: circus, science and digital technology

Founded in 2011, the Compagnie Bivouac is a circus collective based in Bordeaux, France. Through its productions, the company examines the world, what drives it, the visible and the invisible forces. Maryka Hassi and Benjamin Lissardy (co-founders) draw on a combination of circus innovation, scientific research and sociological questions to imagine comtemporary circus. Their pieces are as poetic as they are grounded in contemporary reality, inviting spectators to explore new physical and human territories.

Focusing its research on the sciences and digital technology, the Compagnie Bivouac hopes to open up new ways of interpreting our environments. It regularly integrates researchers and scientists into its creative process in order to build new imaginary worlds and apprehend reality in all its richness and complexity.

The creative boost for each of the company’s creations comes from the dialogue between arts and sciences. A thought process developed around two dimensions:

– “Outdoors”, with sets built around monumental sculpture-apparatus (A corps perdus – 2015, Tenir debout c’est crier toujours – 2017, Perceptions – 2019, Lemniscate – 2023). These scenographic devices define the contours of fictions and are the pretext for the conception of poetic shows combining circus and choreographic experimentation.

– “Indoors”, exploring what happens deep inside matter and inside our inner spaces through novel processes involving science and technology (Translations – 2022, Fragments – 2023). The result are sensitive creations that shed light on the imperceptible. Inspired by contemporary social issues, the Compagnie Bivouac ultimately develops original productions that question the human being, his relationship with others and with his environment.


Maryka Hassi

Trained at the Théâtre École d’Aquitaine, she has performed numerous roles in contemporary and classical plays. Since 2004, she has devoted herself to directing. Her creations take the form of tableaux. Maryka is the director of the Compagnie Bivouac, a company she co-founded with Maureen Brown and Benjamin Lissardy in 2011. For her, innovative scenographies are the symbolic objects capable of bringing about new forms of physicality, thereby multiplying the action or narrative. A way of creating a universe between reality and fiction. Challenging oneself, overcoming emptiness, accepting suspension… So many states of being, shared by all, that reveal, according to her, a humanity subjected to its hopes and its chaos. It is the encounter of these paradoxes that reveals a form of poetry.

She is interested in the social sciences, from which she draws her inspiration. Equally convinced that architecture defines our behavior, her research also focuses on « body-space ».

As a member of the École de Cirque de Bordeaux, she takes part in the artistic progress of the school specially what revolves around arts and science on experimental spaces.

Benjamin Lissardy

Benjamin has had a passion for snow sports since childhood. After graduating in drama, he worked with Pascale Daniel Lacombe, Pierre Debauche, Ariane Mouchkine and Maryka Hassi. Seeking to push back the limits of his body, he naturally turned to circus, collaborating with the Opéra de Bordeaux, Mourad Merzouki, Cirque Eloïze, Sae-Jung Kim, painter Jan Voss and many others…

In 2011, he co-founded the Compagnie Bivouac alongside Maureen Brown and Maryka Hassi. He takes part in the artistic questioning around art, science and digital technology that drives the collective.Through innovative set design using the visual arts and hybrid staging, he constantly pushed the potential of his apparatus: the Chinese pole. Recognized for his innovative work in this discipline, he cooperates internationally, teaches and is a guest judge in numerous events. Driven by the desire to push forward his discipline, he has been organizing an international Chinese pole convention in Bordeaux since 2015.

Benjamin holds a circus teacher’s diploma (DE), and promotes a unique approach to contemporary circus creation. At the École de Cirque de Bordeaux, he is the reference instructor for Chinese pole. He is also a Chinese pole trainer at the Académie Fratellini.

Ecological commitments

Involved in the ecological transition, the Compagnie Bivouac has put in place a policy that respects the environment at every level of its activity (production, tours, equipment, communication and events). To learn more about the company’s eco-responsible policy, click here.