Apartment 11 Readies Big Top Academy Spin-Off Series


Apartment 11 Productions has commenced filming a Big Top Academy spin-off series, which is being produced in association with Sony Pictures Television Networks’ U.K. flagship channel POP and TVOkids.

Big Top Academy: School’s Out Edition sees the young circus artists of the original series staying connected during summer break via their online school newspaper. They’ll compete for the coveted job of Big Top Bulletin editor by showing off their circus skills and solving mysteries along the way. Each of the 26, 11-minute episodes will include segments filmed on location in and around the actors’ homes, parks, beaches, circus gyms and more.

The creative team from the original series is on board for the spin-off, including producer/writer, Leila Basen; producer/director, Guillaume Lonergan; as well as writers Amy Cole and Matt Schiller. Big Top Academy was originally produced by Apartment 11 Productions in association with Discovery Kids, TVOkids and in collaboration with Cirque du Soleil Images.

POP will be airing Big Top Academy: School’s Out Edition throughout the fall. It will also be streamed on Cirque du Soleil’s newly launched CirqueConnect content hub. The series received support from a consortium of partners, including Shaw Rocket Fund, the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit and the Quebec Film and Television Tax Credit.

Jonathan Finkelstein, Apartment 11 executive producer, said: “We know viewers will relate to seeing their favorite Big Top Academy characters connecting remotely. We hope they’ll be inspired watching the creativity flourish outside of school and we know they’ll be intrigued by the mysteries that follow the circus students from the Secret Room and into a virtual one.”

Sony Pictures Television’s U.K. director of kids networks, Craig Hunter, said: “POP is thrilled to be airing this special spin-off series in the fall. Our viewers love the Big Top Academy’s awesome stories and characters and appreciate the show’s strong and inspiring messages for all the family. The original series has been hugely successful on POP and we’re also very excited about next month’s premiere of season two.”

Marney Malabar, the director of kids TV at TVO, said: “It’s incredible what Apartment 11 will be able to produce while following COVID-19 production guidelines. They’ve gone to extraordinary lengths to develop Big Top Academy: School’s Out Edition and we know our audience will love it.”

Agnes Augustin, president and CEO of Shaw Rocket Fund, added: “We are pleased to continue our support of Apartment 11 with Big Top Bulletin: School’s Out Edition. It is fantastic that young audiences will be able to connect with their favorite characters in a new and relevant way. The excitement of Big Top Academy continues with this innovative digital series!”