Each month, Circus Talk will scour the globe to report on the hundreds of circus-based festivals and conferences that occur annually worldwide. This roundup highlights September’s best, most interesting and exciting events, from emerging festivals to the large professional gatherings.
Where: Toronto, Canada
When: September 1-4
Toronto’s Busker Fest has a whole lot of street arts to share, from the Hair Painter and the Chalk Chick to live music and Meow Mur the Cosmic Cat. But what are street arts without a huge heap of circus? Toronto has brought the hula hoops, the acrobats, the fire show, the stilt walkers, jugglers, clowns and sideshow acts like Betty Brawn the Strong Lady from Australia and the Mental Floss Side Show.
Where: Vilnius, Lithuania
When: September 5-10
The festival runs concurrently with the Circus Education Programme, which is a two week long immersive exploration of circus arts for the contemporary practising artist. Near the end of that process begins the New Circus Weekend, ironically 5 days long, and packed full of ground breaking shows from Europe.
Some highlights of the full show program include: Mosh Split-Sisus Sirkus (Finland), Absolute-Cie Les Choses de Rien (France), ALL THE FUN-Compagnie Ea Eo (Belgium) (“Juggling and lame jokes are the two languages that are central to the work of the company”), PELAT- Joan Català (Spain), LA COSA-Claudio Stellato (Belgium), and The Forest Project- Duo Kamppi & Roihu (Finland) (An interesting, nature-immersive project inspired by Finnish folklore.)
Where: Moscow, Russia
When: September 14-17
In the 5th edition of this huge festival, the spirit of competition lives on, featuring 26 circus artists who will compete in front of a panel of judges. But festival host and director of the Great Moscow State Circus Edgard Zapashny admits “I would like our festival to be seen not just as a contest, not just as a viewing of the world’s best circus acts on the ring of the largest circus in Europe. During all five years we strive to show the real art, which is born at juncture of power and poetry.” Perhaps that is why he has built in an opening show and a gala show/event to follow the competition. Many of the artists come from Russia but also places as far afield as Spain (Ambra and Yves on silks), Italy, Germany (Sascha Bachman handbalancing) China (Chih-Han Chao on diabolo and the Chinese National Acrobatic Troupe performing Pagoda of Bowls), Colombia, Korea, Ukraine, Russia, Mongolia, Taiwan and Tanzania (African Spirit Boys). Thematically, the costumes and backdrops will be related to the Russian folk art painting styles of Gzhel and Khokhloma. In what promises to be a classy event complete with pelicans, many of the traditional circus arts will be on regal display at their highest skill level for this festival, from tight wire to clowning and everything in between.
Where: Great Yarmouth, UK
When: September 16-17
Its a festival whose description matches its name “Always weird, always wonderful, this year we welcome human rubbish tips, giant puppets, fairy tale witches and a performing polar bear (no animals were harmed in the making of this festival!). Once again we welcome performers from across the globe – from France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland and Argentina.” Check out the line-up.
What: Mullum Circus Festival
Where: Mullumbimby, Australia
When: September 25-October 1
A festival and training program with a camping component for the adventurous–and its all in Mullumbimby, Australia. The festival features physical theatre and circus. Full shows include Driftwood by Casus, HairSparay and RED by FLy Factory, Bridges by A Good Catch, One and the Otherby Baton and Broadway, Inertia by Vulcana Women’s Group and Australia’s favorite juggling duo, Jugglife.
Where: Domont, France
When: September 29- October 1
It’s the 18th year of this classic festival, featuring clowns Gaston and Roli, handbalancer Enchi Keryazov, Rustem and Kristina the Sky Angels, and clown Erwin Frankello on elephants to name a few.
What: Circus Star USA
Where: Hollywood, California, USA
When: September 30th
Not so much a festival as a competition, Circus Star takes the American entertainment approach with a cast of performers and a panel of judges along the lines of America’s Got Talent. Circus Talk author Fiona Bradley wrote a more in depth preview of the upcoming event.