Circus Hub Returns Bigger And Better In 2017 With An Incredible International Line Up
After two successful years Circus Hub is bigger and better than ever before – presenting larger venues and bigger companies, this years programme is packed full of high flying, spectacular acrobatics to marvel at. 2017’s programme is truly international, with companies coming from Ethiopia, Colombia, Belgium, Ireland and Australia to offer Fringe audiences the best of world circus and cabaret.
Circus Hub, created and programmed by Underbelly, is one of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe’s most distinctive venues. Based on the Meadows, just a stone’s throw from Udderbelly in George Square Gardens, two venues – the Lafayette (a traditional 4 kingpole big top) and the Beauty (a 500-seater Spiegeltent) present technically ambitious circus work in purpose-built venues.
Directors of Underbelly, Ed Bartlam and Charlie Wood, share their plans for the third year of Circus Hub 2017:
‘We’re delighted to bring Circus Hub back to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for its third year as a firmly established part of the Fringe and the destination for fans of circus.
‘This year the addition of a 4 king-pole big top allows us to present circus on a larger scale than previously seen, with large companies of 10 or more performers bringing technically complex shows featuring floor-based and aerial acrobatics to wow audiences. Around 31,000 audience members alongside 1,000 promoters and producers attended shows at the Circus Hub last year and we cannot wait to welcome circus fans to The Meadows again whilst simultaneously providing industry members access to a platform of world leading work.
‘We’re excited to be bringing such a wide variety of circus to the Fringe, with companies from Colombia and Ethiopia as well as Australia, Belgium and the UK. The programme features a wide variety of incredible circus acts as well as music, cabaret and circus shows for children. From families to late night fringe revellers there is truly something for everyone.
Highlights from this year’s programme in The Lafayette’s Big Top Tent include Circus Abyssinia: Ethiopian Dreams, a joyful mix of astonishing stunts, astounding circus skills and enchanted adventures inspired by the childhood dreams of Ethiopian brothers Bibi and Bichu. Joining them will be the company behind 2015’s smash hit Bromance who return with KIN, an innovative and exhilarating five-star show about camaraderie. Acéléré by Circolombia brings guts, grace and gusto, direct from Bogota with 13 world-class, gravity defying performers celebrating Colombia’s diversity and, dubbed ‘the rock stars of the circus world’ (The List), world-renowned Circa (Closer, Beyond, Wunderkammer) are back with a new, thrilling and heart-stopping performance Humans. Rounding off The Lafayette’s offering with shouts of ‘everyone put your bins out!’ and returning after a 2016 total sell-out Fringe season, are side-splitting, circus family favourites, Trash Test Dummies!
In the Spiegeltent setting of The Beauty, audiences will be dazzled by the hits and high notes of Australian drag superstar Courtney Act: The Girl from Oz (RuPaul’s Drag Race) (Australian Idol). In All the Fun, Belgian company Cie Ea Eo make their UK premiere with a hypnotic, tongue-in-cheek antidote to the glittering circus world that deconstructs the rules of juggling as you know it. ‘Queen of the Fringe’ (BBC) Camille O’Sullivan returns to the Circus Hub following a smash 2016 season with ‘Where Are We Now?’, questioning our crazily changing world with songs from Bowie, Cohen, PJ Harvey and Nick Cave. Forming part of 2017’s enhanced family programme is the enchanting Tales of Peter Rabbit & Jemima Puddle-Duck, featuring award-winning soprano and actress Michelle Todd performing alongside the Children’s Classic Concerts Festival Ensemble. The Beauty will also see the return of award winning Head First Acrobats who are back with a brand new, rip-roaring and swashbuckling adventure for kids Arr We There Yet and for fans of last year’s runaway late-night acrobatic success Elixir, the boys return with a re-developed version.
Circus Hub in Edinburgh draws on the heritage of circus in the city. The Circus Hub tents are named after one of the world’s most famous circus performers and illusionists, The Great Lafayette and his dog Beauty, who famously both died in Edinburgh in 1911, the bigger and smaller of the tents respectively each presents a handful of world-leading circus companies.
Circus Hub will also host a community project The Summer Collective, which sees the Hub working alongside young people from Scotland. Piloted in 2015, The Summer Collective gives young people the opportunity to develop new skills and experience work in the creative sector and is a key way of demonstrating Underbelly’s belief in breaking down barriers between young people and the arts.
Underbelly has developed a reputation for producing, presenting and supporting circus in the UK. Recent highlights include creatively producing the international hit show LIMBO, as well as new commissions including Circa’s Closer and The Raunch. Underbelly’s longestablished Underbelly Festival Southbank in London regularly presents the best circus companies from the UK and around the world including Circa, Casus, Briefs, Flip FabriQue, Gandini Juggling and Pirates of the Carabina, with recent productions including Barbu by Cirque Alfonse and Scotch and Soda by Company2. In 2016, three Circus Hub shows were recognised at the Total Theatre Awards, and in 2015 B-orders won the Total Theatre Award for Circus. Underbelly also created the UK’s first annual circus competition Circus Maximus in 2013, in conjunction with the National Centre for Circus Arts. The winner of Circus Maximus 2015, Sam Goodburn, is also premiering his first solo show Dumbstruck over at Underbelly, Cowgate.
Underbelly’s Circus Hub runs from Friday 4 August to Saturday 26 August with an eclectic programme for all tastes.