In Tilburg you don't have to be bored for a single moment throughout the year. Even better: generally speaking, you miss more than you see. Luckily, we're here for you! Ticket to Tilburg is the leisure lighthouse on which you can navigate. The medicine against FOMO. The place where you can find out everything about the chilliest hotspots, the coolest events and the most beautiful cultural pearls. Like the largest, most fun, most spectacular circus festival in the Netherlands. During the autumn holidays the tents in the Leijpark will be filled to the brim with pointy-footed banter and breathtaking acrobatics during Festival Circolo.
You won't find lions, clowns with red noses or ringmasters there. No, from 22 to 31 October you will be surprised by something much better: the state of the art in the field of innovative circus. The international top of the top, just within reach in the Leijpark in Tilburg. On the program, these artists stand side by side with young talents from the two Dutch circus schools: Codarts (Rotterdam) and AcaPA (Tilburg). Festival Circolo brings an enormous amount of heart-stopping, eye-catching and dangerously ingenious performances. Artistic director Wendy Moonen is happy to tell you all about it.
Last year, due to corona, there was no Circolo. This year the festival is making up for lost time with a dangerous return to the Leijpark. So it's time to first refresh the memory: because with this innovative circus, what should we imagine again? "The most important characteristic is that every performance contains a story, with a beginning and an end. It's not separate 'tricks' that you see, no, the technique and the circus material together tell the story," Wendy explains. "You'll laugh, hold your breath, marvel or be touched in some other way. And you'll get to interact with all the different disciplines there are: from acrobatics to strap and trapeze artists flying high through the air. The performances are very physical; there is actually always a choreography behind them. If it's good, you get sucked into the piece. And when you walk out of the tent, you have experienced a breathtaking journey."
"It's not separate 'tricks' that you see, no, the technique and the circus material together tell the story."
Breakneck acts, slapstick and next level circus
What, according to Wendy, are the gems that you absolutely must have seen? "I would dare to send everyone to the performance by Familiar Faces," she says. "This company performs its show in a kind of swimming pool, a basin with a layer of water, and of course this involves a lot of slipping and sliding." These artists, who also studied in Tilburg, are always looking for the limits of what is physically possible. With 'Surface', they experiment with the effect of water on their breakneck feats. "This is an incredibly cool elaboration of a co-production we started two years ago. Of course we are very proud of that. In addition, it is also a fine performance to visit with children from about six years of age." And then there is a cheerful Frenchman named Rémi Luchez - a master of balance, who also excels with his slapstick humor. "That's really a little gem," Wendy says. "If anyone knows how to both amaze you and put a smile on your face, it's Rémi." A highlight - literally and figuratively - is the performance 'L'absolu' by Les choses de rien. On the square in front of the theater, a thirteen-meter high silo has been in place since October 16, containing one hundred seats. Wendy: "As a spectator you are part of the scenography. You see super innovative and enormously fascinating circus here: truly the next level of this profession. It is the life's work of creative mastermind and acrobat Boris Gibé, which after the last minute cancellation in 2019 we can now finally show here."
The program of Circolo is extensive, but fortunately you don't have to be stressed when choosing. Tags, age filters and performance dates on the website will smoothly guide you through the extensive program. Still not quite sure? Then there is a real circus test. Wendy: "By answering the questions you are led straight - and with a big wink - to your personal circus top three."
"The fact that we can shape the festival together with our audience makes it complete."
Nice festival feel
Even without a ticket it is still worthwhile to walk onto the festival grounds. After one and a half years of abstinence, who doesn't long for that old-fashioned cosiness, all together around the campfire, beer in their fists? We do, in any case. The four circus tents on the grounds provide a nice festival feel and food trucks complete the picture. For spontaneous excitement you visit free acts, participate in an acrobatics workshop especially for parents and children or walk with talents of the future - second year students of the Tilburg circus school - in a site specific route through the park. And then there's the grand premiere of the special Cirkelgewelf in the heart of the festival, with which Circolo performs a daily opening and closing ritual together with the public, followed by a (free to visit) performance. Wendy: "Of course we are very happy that we are allowed to do this again. And the fact that we can shape the festival together with our audience makes it even better."
Festival Circolo takes place during the autumn vacations, from 22 October through 31 October. The special performance 'L'absolu' can be seen a little earlier, from October 16 on the forecourt of Schouwburg Concertzaal Tilburg. The heart of the festival is located in the Leijpark, near the Sligro. There is also programming in Theater De Nieuwe Vorst.
For more information, ticketshop and program go to the website of Festival Circolo. Ticket sales have already started, so be quick. Did you order a ticket? Then make sure the CoronaCheck app is on your phone. Visitors aged 13 and over need a valid QR code for admission to a performance.
More culture stories?
This story is part of the series of Culture Stories from Ticket to Tilburg. Curious about the next one? Then keep an eye on our culture page.