Monday, June 15, 2015

The Chicago Contemporary Circus Festival- This Week!

It had nearly slipped my attention, but the Chicago Contemporary Circus Festival is this week, which means there will be tons of great circus in Chicago this weekend.

While not EVERY SHOW is family friendly, a good portion of them are, and most of them (except for perhaps The Girlie Show) are suitable for ages 12 and over.

Of special interest to families will be the American Youth Circus Organization's Youth Circus Showcase, which will feature some of the most talented young performers of our generation who are getting the opportunity to perform.

Also a good bet for families with kids is The Magmanus Show, an outdoor street show that features acrobatics and circus skills at a pretty advanced level (Admission is free, but audience is encouraged to donate to the performers.)

Peter Davidson in Tossed and Found
Two other shows of interest:  Peter Davidson's Tossed and Found, a fun and family friendly vaudeville/juggling one man performance with lots of comedy, and Cirque Mechanic's Pedal Punk, a stunt show/circus for bikes that the New York Times called "exceptional, evocative, eye-catching and grossly entertaining…in a word, excellent."

There's a few more shows that would be perfect for kids too- especially older kids.  
To decide take a look at the images below, read the descriptions and explore the shows of interest.  


Shows take place at the Atheneum Theatre (Mainstage and Blackbox theatres) as well as at the Chopin Theatre.  Tickets range from free to $50.

chiconcircusfestlogo SHOWS OF THE
  American Youth Circus Organization Youth Circus Showcase

“Youth Circus” means kids, teens, and young adults who practice or perform circus arts. This includes young people who are learning circus skills at home, at a circus school, through an organization, at camp, school, college, or in a professional circus setting. There are about 10,000 youth that we know of doing circus all around the USA—and hundreds of thousands of others around the world with the numbers growing.
  Bindlestiff Family Circus Third Coast Cabaret

This late night cabaret features circus artists from across the globe and across the spectrum of circus and variety skills. Two completely different lineups of world-class aerialists, jugglers, physical comedians, acrobats, and novelty acts will be presented on Friday and Saturday. The Bindlestiffs are the glue, adding their own twisted spin on circus tradition. Composer and musician Peter Bufano adds live, original music to the mix.
  Bearded Lady Productions The Girlie Show

The Girlie Show is about celebrating the female body's strength and vulnerability, through circus, music and comedy. Burlesque comes
from the Italian word Burlo which means to joke. Burlesque is classic entertainment that although with a recent spike in interest, has almost vanished over the last few decades. Our goal in creating "The Girlie Show" is to act as preservation for Burlesque.

Casus Circus Knee Deep

Internationally renowned Casus Circus present their premier work Knee Deep. Four performers explore the boundaries of strength and fragility. Bodies are pushed and pulled, weighed and tested, unlikely bonds are forged and acts of intimacy cohabit space with thrilling physical feats. The Casus artists bring a raw emotional edge and honesty to the stage revealing the strong connection of the quartet throughout the journey. Delicacy does not necessarily equate to fragility, although it is often a fine line the performers tread.

Cirque Mechanics Pedal Punk

Enter the world of Pedal Punk, a Steampunk inspired place where cycling is the way to escape the technology obsessed society. In Pedal Punk we experience the excitement, artistry and thrill that occurs when a wacky bike shop mechanic interacts with cyclists and bikes, he repairs more than broken pieces. He creates wondrous machines and inspires the cyclist in all of us to become a Pedal Punk.

Company McQuiggs PLD

Company McQuiggs is composed of Willem McGowan, Kellin Quinn, and Nathan Biggs-Penton; three young and immensely talented performers. Together, they bring to the stage amazing skills and technical abilities infused with an undeniable youthful energy. Their show PLD blends juggling with comedy and dance to bring you an hour of jaw dropping, bucket stacking, balls flying fun!

Gandini Juggling Smashed

Smashed: 9 jugglers, 80 apples, 4 crockery sets. A sensational mix of skills and theatricality inspired by the work of Pina Bausch. A series of nostalgic filmic scenes exploring conflict, tense relationships, lost love and quaint afternoon tea... In Smashed, the manipulation of the forbidden fruit takes a sagacious look at the strained relations between seven men and two women, kindly flaying traditional juggling and contemporary circus.

Kate & Pasi Suhde

The relationship between a man and a woman is the main theme of the contemporary circus performance ”Suhde”. As the performance is running, we want to be able to answer the following questions in a comical way: How does a 50 kg woman win over a 100 kg man? How does a relationship work as these two different-sized persons meet? Which leads and which follows? How does a relationship form?

Magmanus Company Magmanus Show

Magmanus Company is a Swedish circus company founded in 2009 by the Franco-Norwegian duo Manu Tiger and Magnus Bjoru. Together they perform in a street circus show with jaw dropping skills and stomach turning comedy. It is filled with Bollywood juggling, teeterboard dancing and handstands, and has a high flying acrobatic grand finale performed in – a g-string. A show you will never forget! ALL AGES

Peter Davison Tossed & Found

Imagine a cross between Charlie Chaplin and Fred Astaire, who has a knack for juggling. In fact, he dances with objects. Peter’s partners onstage include a garbage can, garbage bags, furniture, dishes, bicycle tires, an umbrella, and a piece of paper (a love letter), all of which reveal unique personalities. With a great deal of creativity and skill, Peter Davison reveals how ordinary things can become extraordinary. ALL AGES

Slater Penney & Jaron Hollander The Submarine Show

Two men crash their submarine on bottom of the sea. You will laugh as they cry, swim, fly and go insane in a one hour award-winning critically acclaimed madcap journey from the ocean to the sky and back. ALL AGES.

To find out more about the festival,  visit their website:

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