The decision to cancel the 2020 Gamma Phi Circus annual shows due to mass gathering restrictions caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic was devastating for everyone involved.
“We were in the middle of a historic year for us,” said Gamma Phi Circus Artistic Director Ivan Stoinev. “We had 130 students, we had done many exhibitions, and we had done the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which was huge for us. We were preparing with full power, full energy, and then it hit us. It hit us pretty hard.”
A year later, Gamma Phi Circus is still unable to hold performances in front of crowds at Redbird Arena due to coronavirus restrictions. However, the circus has created a unique performance that will be recorded in Braden Auditorium and livestreamed to their fans across the world starting May 1.
“This show is a new perspective, a new idea, and I think people are really going to enjoy it,” Gamma Phi Circus President Sophie Remmert said. “I think it will bring a whole new level to our show in the future as well.”
Circus Director Marcus Alouan was originally preparing students for a live performance in April 2021, as is tradition. As the months went on, he and Stoinev saw the likelihood of that occurring shrink with each passing day. In November, organizers came up with the idea to have attendees buy a ticket for a virtual performance.
“This is history in the making. We are not looking at this as a concession; we are looking at this as an opportunity to reach a wider audience,” Alouan said. “We have many friends and fans of Gamma Phi who love us and would love to be here at show each year but cannot due to issues with travel. This year they get to.”
The 2021 performance is a reworked version of the 2020 show, which was planned to be a departure from what Gamma Phi Circus had presented even before the challenges created by COVID-19. This year’s theme, “The World of Music,” is the first performance Gamma Phi has created with a narrative arc. The story follows two characters as they discover a love of music through performance…
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