As mentioned in Québec: An Insight, there wasn’t a huge amount I knew about the region (and if you still don’t then head right back over to that post!). But one thing I did know is that Québec is home to the world renowned contemporary circus company, Cirque du Soleil.
Cirque du Soleil are the pièce de résistance of live performance. They are to circus what Bill Shakespeare is to playwrights; Bill Gates is software developers and what Bill Nighy is to the cast of Love Actually – the cream of the crop. Founded in 1980, the troupe initially encountered financial hardship until being awarded a government grant by the Canada Council for the Arts to fund production. A combination of circus styles from around the world, central storylines, character driven approaches and the absence of animals all helped define Cirque du Soleil’s artistic vision as they gained popularity, now entertaining an audience of millions each year. Despite being the global phenomenon that they are, the company’s headquarters still operates in their hometown of Montreal, Québec.
Circus has progressed hugely from the traditional days of “Roll up, roll up” being hollered across the big top and the repetitive mishaps of a (slightly unnerving) clown. Contemporary circus has flourished into a plethora of acrobatics skills and theatrical techniques tied together with a common narrative. This year the Festival’s circus programme includes some truly innovative performances that are not to be missed.
Cul de Sac – Gemma Palomar and José Triguero
Wednesday 31 May, 8pm, Salisbury Arts Centre
Book tickets here.
Gemma and José, both graduates of the National Centre for Circus Arts, have utilized a shared desire to create circus with strong skills and sharp humour. Their show, Cul de Sac, explores the sometimes gentle, sometimes brutal nature of human relationships. Featuring world-class acrobatics, dance and juggling, the pair take us through a tumultuous journey of the modern relationship. This is the epitome of circus grown-ups and I’m really excited to see how their performance translates these more mature themes.
Kin – Barely Methodical Troupe
Wednesday 7 June, 7.30pm, Salisbury Playhouse
Book tickets here.
I saw Barely Methodical Troupe’s Bromance at London Wonderground (Southbank) and they were incredible – this performance is one I’m really looking forward to. Their new six-man show, Kin, combines acrobatics, dance and parkour with a humorous twist in this captivating performance that physically defines camaraderie. The show is suitable for all audiences and sure to be a crowd pleaser!
The Hogwallops – Lost in Translation Circus
Saturday 10 June, 3.30pm & 7.30pm, Salisbury Playhouse
Book tickets here.
“Heart-stopping aerial and floor acrobatics combine with an original live score and a banana to create an absurd portrayal of everyday life” …if that doesn’t entice you I don’t know what will! This family friendly performance depicts a family quite unlike any other, where everyday household tasks are amplified into a chaotic assortment of acrobatics and spectacular circus skills (or perhaps this does sound much more similar to the average Monday morning than I thought?). With comedy, storytelling and circus all blending in to one dazzling spectacle, The Hogwallops have something for everyone!
In addition to these three events the sunshine-bathed staple event of the Festival calendar, City Encounters, is set to be fill the centre of Salisbury with wondrous street theatre and circus acts. All for FREE!
For more information on City Encounters and all the Festival events visit www.salisburyfestival.co.uk
Featured image: City Encounters 2016, photographed by Adrian Harris