The 10th edition of Circusstad Festival in  Rotterdam

1st – 5th May.

The 10th edition of the CIRCUSSTAD FESTIVAL is going to be big!

The exciting run-up to the anniversary edition was due to a special meeting on King’s Day in Rotterdam and the gift of the 10th Circus City Festival in the city. Circusstad Festival was in the queue for years, but during the 10 e edition, the world-renowned and much sought-after Compagnie XY had the opportunity to perform in Rotterdam with the participatory circus experience ‘Les Voyages’. A week before the festival started, 19 black-clad, always silent, but sympathetic acrobats amazed residents of the IJsselmonde district with very personal acrobatics, with residents often participating in the human towers. But first, on King’s Day, April 27, in Rotterdam, the royal party walked under the human triumphal arches of Company XY in front of the NOS camera. The Circusstad Festival also received a lot of media attention a week later.

On the eve of the festival, on May 2, Compagnie XY had a wonderful and well attended free performance of their ‘Grand Rendez Vous’ with IJsselmonders they had met the week before. This performance on the square in front of Podium Islemunda was also the impressive and moving festival opening.

Before: City Parade

Just like every year, there was the City Parade: in the 6 weeks before the festival, schools and royal markets were visited and were graced by more than 50 performances by small circus companies. This year, for the first time, 12 nursing homes for the elderly were visited. The performance of the beautiful white clown Pierre Roman (Ralph Öllinger), made especially for this audience, made a big impression.

New: Katendrecht

New during the anniversary edition was the fully-fledged second festival location on Katendrecht. The well-attended, crazy and spectacular family show ‘Bruits de Coulisses’ was performed on the Deliplein and on the Dolf Henkesplein visitors could try out the flying trapeze of the Fantastic Flying Fuegos. In addition, in Theater Walhalla and Fenix ​​1 (at Circus Rotjeknor and Codarts Circus Arts) numerous performances by the new generation of circus makers.

Festival heart Schouwburgplein

As always, the heart of the festival was the freely accessible Schouwburgplein with performances on site and around it in the old Luxor Theater, Theater Rotterdam and the Doelen. In the pleasantly mixed audience of all ages and backgrounds, it was mainly children who practiced circus tricks under supervision between performances. Major attractions on the square were the consistently sold-out Siegfried & Joy, who performed for the first time in the Netherlands with ‘Las Vegas in Rotterdam’. They usually perform in halls of 5,000 people, but for their first performance in the Netherlands they deliberately chose a small, intimate circus tent. The Ghent freerunners of Be Flat also packed their tent on the Schouwburgplein with the explosive ‘Double You’.

Queer night

There were many highlights, such as the juggling tour ‘Square 10’ in Theater Rotterdam by the 10-year-old Rotterdam Tall Tales Company, acrobats on a revolving house in ‘EXIT’ and the astonishing ‘Materia’ by the Italian object manipulator Andrea Salustri with styrofoam. The most impressive for many visitors was the breathtakingly beautiful ‘Möbius’ by the aforementioned Compagnie homosexual Muslim love on the Chinese pole. This last performance was part of the ‘queer night’ on Friday evening, together with drag circus from House of Circus in the old Luxor Theater and a memorable afterparty in Theater Rotterdam with, among others, the sexy hula hoop queen Alexandra Malter.

Babies, the elderly, the visually impaired

Two performances (‘Double You’ by Be Flat and ‘Exit’ by Circumstances) could also be visited by visually impaired people. The audience was also expanded to include babies for the first time, in the performance ‘Be Kind’ by Emilie Weisse Circustheater. In addition to the elderly, residents of IJsselmonde and the visually impaired, small people from 6 to 18 months and their parents were now also guests. After all, everyone should be welcome at Circusstad Rotterdam.

Circus City Gala returns

Artistic director Menno van Dyke and business manager Dirk Evers look back on this successful anniversary edition with great satisfaction. Once again the festival showed the enormous variety that contemporary circus has to offer. Last year, Van Dyke introduced the acclaimed first edition of the Circusstad Gala in the Luxor Theater. “We’ll make that a tradition,” he promises. ‘Next year the Circusstad Gala will be back in all its glory’.

Picture shows the Compagnia Baccala.  Photo by Geri Born