We’re back this October (12th to 29th) with an ambitious programme of shows, interactive events, workshops, talks and much more taking place at over 15 locations across Bristol.

Circus City is the UK’s fastest growing circus festival, attracting the very best contemporary circus from across the globe and showcasing Bristol’s abundant homegrown talent. Circus City aims to put Bristol on the map as an international capital of contemporary circus.

One of this year’s big highlights is a collaboration with Bristol Old Vic bringing the critically acclaimed French show, The Bekkrell Effect, to Bristol for its UK premiere. Inspired by physicist Henri Becquerel’s discovery of radioactivity, The Bekkrell Effect is an all-female show described as ‘part riot grrrl pop song, part circus spectacle…combining the power of punk with risk and flare’.

Circomedia’s performance space – a converted church in St Pauls – will host a number of events including Fauna, the Adelaide Fringe award winning show featuring ‘wild creatures in a beautifully controlled acrobatic story’; Yablochkov Candle, a cabaret show from Finland combining jazz and aerial performance and Around, a family show about the life of a small circus group accompanied by live music.

The trailblazing aerial theatre company, Okham’s Razor, will bring their Edinburgh Festival award-winning show, Tipping Point, to the 1532 Theatre at Bristol Grammar School. Described as ‘a feast of high risk brilliance performed with grace and power’, five performers transform seemingly simple metal poles into a rich landscape of images.

Circus is a powerful medium for storytelling and there are two shows in the programme which are particularly personal and poignant. As a Tiger in the Jungle tells the moving story of being trafficked into Indian Circus from Kathmandu and Nepal and in He Ain’t Heavy, Grania Pickard uses physical theatre, aerial circus and audience interaction to tell the story of growing up with her disabled, autistic brother Sean.

The Trinity Centre is another of our key venues with Swing Circus staging a weekend extravaganza of swing dance featuring circus and dance shows, specialist choreographers and workshops to get your toes tapping.

And in a major coup for the festival, Circus City 2017 is sponsored by Dash: Digital Currency, making it the first major arts event to be sponsored by a cryptocurrency. During the festival visitors will be able to spend Dash at the Milk Bar, our hub in Old Market, and on selected events and products.

“There’s something for everyone in the Circus City programme – music lovers, dancers, circus aficionados, theatre goers, party animals and families,” said Circus City co-director Kate Hartoch. “The very nature of circus is to push the limits of what’s possible in pursuit of the extraordinary – we encourage you to keep this spirit in mind and take a risk on something new.”

For further information and booking visit our What’s On page.



We’re delighted to announce that Circus City has become the first major arts event to be sponsored by a cryptocurrency. Circus City was awarded a sponsorship package after being selected from a shortlist of projects by members of the Dash- Digital Cash community.

Dash is an open source peer-to-peer cryptocurrency that can be used to make instant, private payments online or in-store using a secure, open-source platform hosted by thousands of users around the world. Dash users voted to allocate the sponsorship in a democratic funding process that is built into the Dash network.

The Circus City bid was led by Edward Rapley, a theatre maker, artist and activist with a passion for economics and a love of the latest technology: “I saw there was a perfect fit between the principles of Dash and the vision of Circus City – they’re both interested in creating and sharing value, one monetary the other cultural.”

“Dash can solve banking problems facing the international circus community and Circus City can bring Dash to people outside the cryptosphere, so applying for sponsorship made complete sense.”

“The sponsorship means that Circus City will reach more people than ever before, bringing the excitement of a new and much needed technology into the heart of the festival,” said Edward. “Just as email has changed the way we send letters so Dash will change the way we send and spend money.

“We’re really excited about this sponsorship because Dash can be of great value to the circus community,” said Circus City co-director Lina B. Frank. “Many artists work all over the world, receiving international payments in a variety of currencies, Dash is an invaluable banking solution for them.”

During the festival you will be able to find out more about Dash first-hand from our dedicated Dash Manager Ed Rapley and his team. They will be at the hub 10:00 – 18:00 every day apart from Sundays and will help you install your first wallet, buy some Dash at a discount, register on an exchange, use Dash to purchase tickets, drinks and merchandise. If you have any questions at all about Dash or cryptocurrency in general they will be there to help.



When it came to announcing our 2017 programme, we wanted an image that epitomized Bristol and its connection to contemporary circus. With a full-size trampoline in tow – and kind permission from the lovely folk at the Peoples Republic of Stokes Croft – we chose the Bearpit as our backdrop. As performer Nat Wittingham trampolined high above the city centre hubbub, Joe Clarke captured a set of images that are unequivocally Bristol.

With thanks to PRSC, Nat Wittingham, Joe Clarke, Howie at Circomedia, Axis Trampolining and LOOT vintage clothing.