Come one, come all – it’s time to enjoy the finest feast in town, celebrate with a festival of joviality, movement, and the ancient art of the circus.
The unsung hero of The Meadows, the death-defying acrobatics and the humble art of the jester, the Festival Fringe Circus events are an often enjoyed but never relished or appreciated aspect of the festival. Treated to some of the world’s finest travelling choreographers and masters of illusion and entertainment, gone is the image of popcorn and lions, and instead, an international beauty of creative merits and diverse talents is here for audiences and visitors to Edinburgh to immerse.
Under this big tent, you’ll come across some of the Fringe’s more unique aspects of variety shows, where the principal doctrine is to entertain, enlighten and spread the joy of the circus across as wide a pool as possible. There may be things to scare you, to entice you, but at the heart of it all is a desire for audiences to come together and enjoy themselves.
Now send in the clowns.
Links directly to the Fringe website to purchase tickets or look further at shows can be followed by clicking on the show’s respective image. Ticket prices are for standard admission, so please check the Fringe website for concession prices.
The Chosen Haram
This award-winning queer circus performance from Edinburgh-born Sadiq Ali communicates the barriers LGBTQIA+ people must overcome. The Chosen Haram makes use of a live audience, drawing from their energy in this high-octane aerial and circus show performed on the ground and two Chinese poles. Lacking traditional dialogue, the story speaks to audiences through movement and emotion, as this beautiful boy-meets-boy (with a difference) love story progresses.
Not solely embarking on communicating the hurdles of queer relationships to audiences, The Chosen Haram mixes in aspects of love, drugs, and the Islamic faith to produce a unique take on a traditional circus. We had the pleasure of watching Chosen Haram at the previous Manipulate Festival, and cannot recommend this intimate show of aerial and movement enough in its endeavours to remove restrictive attitudes towards sexuality and self-establishment. Read the review here.
21.00pm (60 minutes), 3rd, 5th-6th, 9th-13th, 16th-20th, 23rd-27th Aug 2022
Venue 26 – Summerhall
1 Summerhall, EH9 1PL
The Black Blue Brothers
Mixing the energy of Africa with the developed form of rhythm and blues sound of the late seventies, five extraordinary acrobats return to Edinburgh as they turn The Blue Brothers into a spectacle of acrobatics, comedy and physical feats. The Black Blues Brothers have been a sensational hit for years, spanning the globe and entertaining royalty, nobility, and the rabble.
Transforming the Assembly Music Hall into an elegant nightclub, every surrounding object is a prop just waiting for acrobatic feats. Audiences can expect to catch breaking jumps, somersault routines, flames, and human pyramids. Transforming the hit 1980 film into an attribute, this comedic feat of movement and acrobatics is sure to cause laughter as equally as inspiring awe.
16.45pm (60 minutes), 3rd – 28th Aug 2022
Venue 20 – Assembly Rooms, Music Hall
54 George Street, EH2 2LR
Let someone else handle the pace for once – or better yet, four people. Award-winning contemporary circus company returns to the Edinburgh Fringe with Runners, looking at the manic pace we must keep up with these days.
Set aboard a giant treadmill, these four performers and two musicians fuse dance, circus, running, acrobatics, and live music as they sprint the length of a marathon (okay, just shy of). Following sell-out shows in 2011, 2015, and 2017 – Cirk La Putyka are looking to once again bring something new to the Fringe with their anarchic circus habits.
20.30pm (60 minutes) 4th – 27th (not 16th) Aug 2022
Venue 82 – ZOO Southside
117 Nicolson Street, EH8 9ER
Taiwan Season: Light of Life
Stacked with intense sights and atmospheric soundscapes, Diabolo Dance Theatre’s Light of Life is a multimedia fantasy which centres itself around the diabolo – a spinning toy pivotal to Taiwanese Culture. Rejoice, as the goddess of the sea invites audiences to this astonishing circus spectacle which celebrates the vitality of the Taiwanese as creative and imaginative oceanic communities.
Feats of beauty are laced with daring stunts to punctuate a storytelling experience which manipulates the four spiritual elements around us. A vivid kaleidoscopic piece of colour and flow of motion, Light of Life is set to a cinematic soundtrack, with live indigenous voices for the entire family.
13.00pm (45 minutes) 3rd-7th, 9th-14th, 16th-21st, 23rd-28th Aug 2022
Venue 17 – Assembly George Square Studios
George Square, EH8 9LH
With promises of being at the forefront of physical performance, Barley Methodical Troupe has already proved themselves to critics and audiences with their sell-out performances and rousing success. Bringing KIN to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the troupe endeavour to showcase a show about group dynamics and comradeship. Infusing their show with precise circus tricks, deploying tumbles, flying, catching, and raising the challenge each time – the show may focus on group dynamics, but offer individual moments for appreciation.
Mixing the show-stopping spectacular acrobatics of the circus, with the emotional gut punches of the theatre, KIN is as beautiful, poignant and funny as it is awe-inspiring.
15.05pm (60 minutes) 4th-9th, 11th-14th, 16th-21st, 23rd-28th Aug 2022
Venue 20 – Assembly Rooms
54 George Street, EH2 2LR
From Award-winning clown Ania Upstill, Transhumance takes a dreamlike jaunt over the landscape of gender.
Previous Winner of Best Weekly Award for Circus and Physical Theatre at Adelaide Fringe in 2020, Transhumance playfully explores what it means to be a trans human. Balancing a deeply personal story of self-identification with the whimsy and wit of a universal experience of gender paradigms, this immersive experience will prove to be a fascinating piece of clown artistry, with a remarkably personal touch of physical movement and storytelling.
11.45am (50 minutes) 4th – 16th Aug 2022
Venue 170 – Laughing Horse @ The Counting House
38 West Nicolson Street, EH8 9DD
Circus Abyssinia: Tulu
Taking inspiration from the true take of an Ethiopian idol, Derartu Tulu, this dazzling display of speed, skill, and flight celebrates the first African woman to win Olympic gold.
This showcase of superhuman strength and skill blends the art of contortion, acrobatics and the mesmerising use of fire juggling with a energetic, rocking soundtrack. And after making their Fringe debut in 2017, Circus Abyssinia makes a proud return with their highly anticipated show to eager audiences looking for a spot of circus magic with a tribute to an iconic woman.
14.15pm (60 minutes) 6th-14th, 16th-21st, 23rd-27th Aug 2022
Venue 360 – Underbelly Circus Hub
Middle Meadow Walk, EH9 9EX
Who said the circus was just for kids?
Certainly not the Rogue team, who return to Edinburgh to prove their deft talent once again for reinventing the circus, ushering in a new age of kickass talent and skill. A sumptuous blend of acrobatic, operatic cabaret and a non-stop celebration of the vivacious, this sultry and surprising subversively stupendous will bring back the old classics and new tricks for grown-ups.
You have never experienced a circus quite like this, so buckle up and strap down for this twisted burlesque excellence.
22.20pm (60 minutes) 4th-9th, 11th-16th, 18th-21sr Aug 2022
Venue 35 – Assembly Hall
Mound Place, EH1 2LU
If you haven’t spotted your production – do not worry! We’re currently working our way through a huge backlog of requests, with many previews and Q & A’s lined up for the coming month. If you haven’t, please do get in touch through the contact page to feature in an upcoming ‘Have A Gander’