Circus News

The First Large-Scale Circus Festival After the Pandemic: Funambolika, in Pescara, Italy

From June 19 to July 4th, this historic festival will reunite classic and contemporary artists from Italy, Ukraine, Russia, Germany, Spain, Argentina, Ecuador, Armenia, Kenia, Cuba.

Funambolika was conceived by its actual artistic director Raffaele De Ritis, one of the world’s leading circus creators by the 2000s (Cirque du Soleil, Ringling bros., Big Apple Circus, Franco Dragone a.o.) and a recognized circus historian.

In a 2000-seats open-air amphitheatre, this non-competitive( no-awards/no-jury) festival hosted through the years world premieres of top companies as Circa, 7 Fingers, Recirquel; great clowns as David Shiner, Avner, Leo Bassi, Jango Edwards; and hundreds of acts among the winners of  Cirque de Demain or Monte Carlo circus festival.

The 2021 edition will be opened by Funambolika’s main feature, the XIII “Gran Gala du Cirque” (June 19,20,21) that will include: Gabriel dell’Acqua (Italy, hand balancer); Eva Swarcer (Argentina, hair hanging); Bello Sisters trio (Italy/Germany, handstand, from “America’s Got Talent” fame); Sos and Victoria Petrosyan (Russia/Armenia, Guinness Record holders in quick change illusion); Duo Ferrandino (Italy, rolling skaters); Duo El Beso (Ukraine, flying pole); Ceden

o quartet (Ecuador, risley acrobatics). The gala, that will be headlined by guest clown David Larible, is co-directed by Raffaele De Ritis and fellow specialist Alessandro Serena.

Other feature presentations will include “The Black Blues Brothers” acrobatic show (from Edimburgh’s and Adelaide’s Fringe festivals fame and multiple world tours) on June 22; and the world premiere of a creation by Havana Acrobatic Ensemble. The latter will be a show titled “Amor” and inspired by the literary works of Nobel Prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez, on the the theme of Latino music and culture.

As in the past, this year’s performers brings stories of different origins: from ancient circus families to Soleil’s recent stars; from ex-Soviet schools to “America Got Talent” winners; from Africa’s community educational programs to former Ringling’s headliners.

“It is incredible to have been able to reunite performers from 12 countries during those uncertain months” De Ritis says. “After having created in the past some of the greatest circus productions in the world, it was a dream for me to initiate this festival, bringing the circus to my hometown (where my passion started) and introducing to Italy the best of the last two decades”.

Funambolika is perhaps the sole circus festival in the world directly  organized by a public theatrical institution: this is Ente Manifestazioni Pescaresi, that by 60 years helds in Pescara one of Italy’s oldest summer seasons, including jazz, pop, ballet, theatre, and by 2007 the circus too.

The full festival program, with stories, photo albums and video trailers, is at

The poster photo credit is by Bertrand Guay.

Press Release posted as received.