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Circus City Bristol

“I’d recommend it to anyone. Theatre that overcomes language and borders. Wherever and whoever you are, you will find awe, joy and curiosity here”.

In 2023 Circus City presented The Outsider Edition: a constellation of shows exploring a common thread of human-object relations, transformation and interventions into the way people, bodies and situations can be seen and navigated. Each presented an opportunity for a reimagining of the familiar, human, scientific, physical, seen in a new light, as if with the eyes of an outsider.

Aside from this common thread, this festival was as varied as ever with everything from research-driven performance-making (Darragh McCloughlin’s Stickman, Tom Cassani’s A Show of Hands & Iterations) and striking queer and neurodiverse and black led solo shows (Laura Murphy’s A Spectacle of Herself, Livia Kojo Alour’s Black Sheep), to pink punk gig-circus (Muovipussi’s Noise Juice), mind-bending physical storytelling and spectacle (Sawdust Symphony, Andrea Salustri’s Materia, Marina Cherry’s Only Bones) and retellings of classical literature (Ockham’s Razor’s Tess). There were shows for young people and families with fire, music and mayhem (Tit For Tat’s BOOKS!, Whispering Woods & the Murmuration Choir’s The Shape of Belonging and Oh No George!) and presentations of brand new work in the making (Volt, Ruby & Charles) alongside a programme of workshops, talks, films and industry events.

We are currently looking forward to 2025, which will be our 10th anniversary year as well as some exciting projects that we hope to take place between now and then. Watch this space for more information.

Nicole A’Court Stuart, Artistic Director

Handstand Arts

Circus City festival is proud to have George Ferguson, Bristol’s first elected Mayor, as our patron.

George kicked off Bristol’s ambition to be a City of Circus in 2012 and has been an enthusiastic supporter of our work ever since

Who we are:

Circus City is managed by Handstand Arts CIO, set up in 2019 to manage the festival and present a wider programme of arts year round. Meet the team:

Amy Nicholls

Board Member

Kate Webb

Chair of the Board

Sascha Goslin

Board Member

Tabitha Moyle

Treasurer and Board Member

Nicole A’Court Stuart

Artistic Director

Rhiannon Jones

Executive Director

Thea Woodrow

General Manager

Kate Hartoch

Associate Director

Circus City Festival 2023 is funded by;

Circus City venue partners:


Handstand Arts is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation, No. 1181762