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Circus City Bristol

We are excited to be returning with a new three week international festival of contemporary circus.

We have called this year The Outsider Edition as this constellation of shows  explores a common thread of human-object relations, transformation and interventions into the way people, bodies and situations can be seen and navigated. Each presents 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 is 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 are 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 really proud of this programme and can’t wait to share it with you.

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