After the success of 2010’s CirCairo, the international Circus Festival is back to bring the charm and the long-forgotten magic of the circus to three Egyptian cities: Cairo, Mansoura and Monoufeya. The festival is hosted by Al Mawred Al Thaqafy and 2012 is the festival’s second year.
“The festival is the only one of its kind in Egypt, we do other festivals every year and we always strive to offer something different, so bringing circus culture to the forefront was a great opportunity to do so,” said Wessam Ragab, press and communications officer at Al Mawred.
In 2010, the festival attracted an unexpected 16,000 people to its shows and the organisers hope to exceed the last festival’s numbers. CirCairo offers diverse shows that will showcase the talents of more than 13 groups visiting from Egypt, France, Denmark, Hungary, Belgium, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Tunisia, Spain, Switzerland and Germany.
The shows will include both traditional and modern forms of circus entertainment, and feature acrobatics, fire shows, magic and comedy shows. It will utilise public and private venues such as Azhar Park, Abdin Square, the Falaky Theater of AUC as well as Shagaret El Dorr Park in Mansoura, and Shebin El Kom Stadium in Monoufeya.
“For the spring festival that we hosted, we included Assiut and Alexandria, besides Cairo, so for this one we wanted to do different cities. Mansoura’s Shagaret El Dorr park is particularly important since it is in danger of being turned into a parking lot after a law signed by the governor and we wanted to support it. We always try to go outside the capital and reach the periphery as well as the centre,” said Ragab.
The opening ceremony of the festival will be launched from Abdin Square on 4 October, with performances featuring groups from Belgium, Egypt and Tunisia. It will start with a march around Abdin Square, featuring the Amsterdam Rebel Clowns, an offshoot of the Rebel Clown Army which was formed in 2003 to protest the visit of former United States President George Bush.
Other notable shows will be a solo performance of Tunisian gymnast Radwan Shelbawy as well as a performance by circus students of the Darb Al-Ahmar Arts School, all between eight and 14 years old. “The establishment of the Darb Al-Ahmar Arts School in 2010 was one of the things that encouraged us to revive this tradition. We have a strong national circus, but unfortunately they lack funding,” said Ragab.
The festival will offer workshops and trainings as well as a public talk by the Amsterdam Rebel Clowns at the Jesuit Cultural Center on 5, 6 and 7 October. Other workshops include two by Fire Birds and Goldi Circus on 12 October and ones from the Roikkuva Circus and Darb Al-Ahmar Arts School on 15 to17 October.
All activities and performances will be free to attend and the festival will start on 4 October and last until 20 October.