Once again, Al-Azhar Park will make way for juggling, jumps and mid-air twirls that temporarily defy gravity while luring wide-eyed audiences to the opening ceremony of the third edition of Cairo International Circus Festival (CirCairo).
Spearheaded by Al-Mawred Al-Thaqafy (The Culture Resource), CirCairo brings contemporary and traditional circus art from around the world to various venues across Egypt every two years. This year, 10 troupes from across Europe and the Arab world will showcase their talents in five different venues within Cairo, Al-Mawred announced in a press release.
The festival will run between 17 and 26 October, and will be divided over two weekends, each leg lasting three days. Unlike its previous editions, this year's performances will be staged only across Cairo.
To kick off the festival, renowned troupe Gandini Juggling will bring their experience of over 4,000 shows to Egypt for the first time. The UK-based jugglers will be followed by a performance by Bover from Spain, a comedy set composed of three clowns from Majorca. Lumen (Switzerland) will then take to the stage followed by The Three Heroes of Jutland (Denmark), a daring act that has toured across Europe as well as Syria.
"The Three Heroes are very unique in the way they blend music with circus art," CirCairo organisers told Ahram Online.
A performance by Al-Mawred’s own Al-Darb Al-Ahmar Arts School will conclude the opening night; the school’s students are residents of Al-Darb Al-Ahmar neighbourhood and have been learning about circus arts and percussion for over five years.
"Al-Darb Al-Ahmar school will present rhythmic circus art, a performance based on utilising percussion instruments in an unconventional manner," said the event’s organisers.
While Falaki theatre will host performances on the second day of the festival, 18 October, troupes will return to Al-Azhar’s El-Genaina Theatre on 19 October, bringing to a close the first leg of the festival. Between 23 and 26 October, performances will return to El-Genaina, Giza Park and El-Moez St., where the festival will wrap up with acts from France, Denmark, Tunisia, Egypt and the Netherlands.
CirCairo 2014 received support from the culture and antiquities ministries as well as the tourism authority, the British Council in Cairo and the embassies of Switzerland, the Netherlands and Denmark.
In 2012, CirCairo featured performances by 15 circus troupes hailing from France, Denmark, Hungary, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, Germany, the UK, Tunisia and Egypt. Shows were staged at El-Genaina Theatre, the American University in Cairo’s Falaki Theatre, Abdeen Square as well as in venues across Mansoura, Shebin El-Kom and Menoufia, attracting over 50,000 audiences, according to Mawred’s official website.
Photo: Courtesy of Al-Mawred Al-Thaqafy