About Circus


Big tops, sawdust, animals, sensational feats: The circus evokes numerous clichés – many of them no longer accurate. Because young circus artists have long since been searching for new forms and formats in the field of circus arts. Contemporary circus is one of a number of forms in which these efforts for renewal have manifested – and it is now at the centre of Berliner Festspiele’s programme “Circus”.

Originated in France around the year 1970, contemporary circus is committed to a new orientation in circus arts: Its artistry becomes part of overall aesthetic and dramaturgic approaches, creating theatrical formats at the meeting points of circus, performance, theatre, dance, music, visual art as well as light and media design. Multi-faceted narratives emerge, guided by individual artists’ specific forms of expression and focusing on the performance’s contemporary element.

Berliner Festspiele are particularly interested in approaches where genres overlap, experiments are ventured and boundaries are questioned. In both their locations, they will provide a platform to contemporary circus and give their audiences an opportunity to get acquainted with this art form – largely unknown in Germany so far – to discuss and contextualize it.

2017 the guest performances “Nebula” by Compagnie du Chaos, “All Genius All Idiot” by Svalbard Company and “Tipping Point” by Ockham’s Razor were presented; in April 2018 the interdisciplinary festival “Die Originale” took place. The programme 2017/18 was curated by Johannes Hilliger and Josa Kölbel.