FYI Vol. VI, NO. 4



Circus companies from Colombia, Ethiopia, Australia, Belgium and the UK  will perform in one of two different venues, a 4 King-Pole big top and a Spiegel tent, running from August 4 – 26  to offer Fringe audience the best of world circus and cabaret.  Advance tickets may be purchased via WWW.UNDERBELLYEDINBURGH.CO.UK

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 king-pole 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 have provided some suggestion of what will be on view: ‘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.

‘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 long-established 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 recognized 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.

For the full Circus Hub programme visit: or


More Festival Excitement

Another circus festival to look forward to is the  3rd annual Australian Circus Festival which will be held Nov 13-16, 2017 at the Blacktown Showgrounds under the Stardust Circus big top.  One of the festival’s aims to to foster co-operation amongst every facet of circus: classic, touring, contemporary, youth and social.  More info at


The New Cirque du Soleil is Active on Several New Fronts

Seeming to be following in the footsteps of Ringling Bros. Cirque du Soleil has announced that it too is taking to the ice.  The new show dubbed Cirque du Soleil Crystal will feature ice skating and acrobatics.  This, the company’s 42nd production, is scheduled to open Dec. 7 at Worcester’s DCU Center.  The show, which is said to have something of a story line or concept, is designed to play arenas rather than than company’s distinctive blue and yellow big top.

Meanwhile the new management at Cirque du Soleil is looking to the high seas for further expansion.  A new partnership has been formed with MSC Cruises, a cruise line based  in Geneva that will christen its newest cruise ship the MSC Meraviglia on June 3, with the participation of none other than actress Sophia Loren.  Once the  ship sets sails on board will be a contingent of 15 circus performers who have been rehearsing for two new Cirque shows that will each be offered nightly during the ship’s cruise.  Three more such shows will be added to three other ships in ship board venues built specifically for circus performances, said to cost $22 million each.  The biggest challenge, other than having to perform on the high seas, is casting an ensemble capable of creating two unique shows with their own costumes and concepts.  Each 40 minute production will carry a surcharge, ranging from $43 for the show and a three course meal to $16 for show and cocktails only.


New Research Materials Becoming Available

Illinois State University is the recepitent of the papers of Ringling vice-president Henry Ringling North. The collection, consisting of 15 boxes of letters and documents is being donated by John Ringling North II, Henry’s son.  Included in the cache is a letter dated 1884 in which one of the original Ringling brothers discusses the circus’s first tour.


The New Big Apple Circus Will Feature a Familiar Face


Barry Lubin will bring his much loved character of Grandma back to the Big Apple Circus when it opens this October in Linclon Center. Long the show’s most recognizable and loved  character Lubin left the show for several years to pursue an independent career, during which time his absence was sorely felt.  His return raises hope for the new Big Apple Circus.






Miguel Vazquez Documentary Available Worldwide

8 Miguel & Juan Vazquez 1984

The award winning feature length documentary film The Last Great Circus Flyer is now available on iTunes in the UK, Canada and Latin America and Amazon and Vimeo worldwide.  The film follows the career of Miguel Vazquez who, at the age of 17, achieved the “impossible” quadruple somersault on the flying trapeze during a 1982 Ringling Bros,, performance.  In 1994, after completing almost 3,000 quads Vazquez unexpectedly quit flying.

Filmed over a period of seven years the documentary addresses the triumphs, dangers, fears and oftentimes tragedies of trapeze performance.  The documentary also features appearances by the great flyers of the past and performances by the contemporary flyers from Ringling, Cirque du Soleil and Circus Vargas.

See Website: