NI circus adapts act to prove that show must go on

Having feared the worst during the darkest days of lockdown a local circus has put together a new Covid-compliant act to get their show back on the road.

By Graeme Cousins
Wednesday, 7th July 2021, 11:24 am
Five performers from Tumble Circus have put together a new outdoor cycle-based routine
Five performers from Tumble Circus have put together a new outdoor cycle-based routine

Tumble Circus, which was co-founded by Ken Fanning who lives in east Belfast nearly folded last year but has since come up with a cycle-based outdoor performance so that the show can go on.

The circus, which was founded in Dublin in 1995 and is now based in Belfast, has announced a summer full of shows, with five of the country’s most talented performers getting on their bikes and visiting residential care homes, schools and arts festivals in Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.

Ken said: “During the lockdown all circus work stopped. But being a circus person doesn’t stop, we kept ourselves busy working on a new act, and a new skill.

“It was a practical way of keep us focused on the future and to remain positive.

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    “There were dark days when we thought that we would never be able to go back to what was once normal, we thought maybe we would never make or tour circus again.

    “During the pandemic days we took time to think and plan.

    “We experimented with circus on film, and brought small scale socially distanced shows to people living in isolation.

    “Our company and community kept reaching out to support one another and those dark days were constantly being replaced with the positivity of imagining the future and preparing for it.

    “Cycle Circus was born from that.”

    The original idea was inspired by Flann O’Brien’s biking adventures in Donegal and the show, performed in large outdoor spaces, was conceived as a result of Covid – something that could be responsive to regulations and restrictions.

    Ken said: “The show was made to appeal to people of all ages and backgrounds, including marginalised and rural communities, to entertain and uplift, make people laugh and remind them that ordinary people can do extraordinary things.

    “It’s all human, high energy and loads of craic, celebrating circus, the human body and the bicycle.”

    Cycle Circus is funded by the Arts Council of Ireland, supported by the Bank of Ireland Begin Together Arts Fund in partnership with Business to Arts and co-commissioned by Carlow Arts Festival, Cairde Sligo Arts Festival and Earagail Arts Festival.

    The tour began on Monday at The Den at Rosses Point in Co Sligo and continues until Sunday, August 8 when there will be a free performance at 1pm at the Eastside Arts Festival.

    For more information on Tumble Circus

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