Local circus performers and buskers will launch themselves on to - and above - city streets this winter, bringing a festival flavour to central Christchurch.
Christchurch City Council is supporting a Winter Circus(external link) with a series of lunch-time performances in the central city during June and July.
Two performance spaces will be in action on Cashel Mall, one at Hack Circle, on the corner of Cashel St and High St, and the other in front of the Bridge of Remembrance on the corner of Cashel St and Oxford Tce.
Shows will be held on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays starting this Friday.
Professional buskers will entertain the crowds and the circus shows - which will be held on the weekends - will feature Circotica students along with professionals.
Portable aerial rigs will be set up for these shows.
Confirmed Winter Circus acts include: Mulletman, 3 Ring Riot, Toni Smith, Hefty Geoff, Sport Suzie, David Ladderman, Skye Bee, Danny Lee and Circotica.
There will be trapeze work, acrobatics, clowning, comedy, juggling, tumbling and hand balancing during the shows.
Danny Syme, the Creative Director of Circotica, says the Winter Circus is an exciting opportunity for the performers to show local audiences what they can do.
“It’s amazing. These kinds of opportunities have been few and far between for the last few years. As a circus school we’ve got all these well-trained people who haven’t had much chance to put their skills to the test.
“The cool thing about this one is that although it’s winter, we’re still doing the shows outdoors so it’s going to encourage people to come out and face the weather. If we’re going to be out there in leotards then there’s not much reason for them not to come out in a coat.”
Experienced local entertainer David Ladderman, who will be performing and MCing during the Winter Circus, says before the earthquakes Christchurch was a hot-spot destination for buskers and circus performers from around the world. The event would be another step towards restoring that reputation.
The Winter Circus will benefit performers, local retailers and business owners and give residents and visitors a reason to “meander and experience what central Christchurch has to offer,” he says.
It will also provide a stage for up and coming performers. “We have a new generation coming through and this gives them a wider horizon on what’s possible. Maybe in the next couple of months Christchurch might discover the next Tape Face,” he says referring to successful performer Sam Wills who trained in Christchurch and now has a show in Las Vegas.
The Winter Circus, which has support from Ōtakaro and ChristchurchNZ, is a celebration of central Christchurch coming back to life, Council Manager of Events and Arts Lucy Blackmore says. “We know people are feeling a growing sense of pride in the central city and bringing performance back into town will help make it an even more exciting, vibrant place to be through the winter months. At the same time, it's a chance for the community to keep track of the ever expanding diversity of shopping that won’t be found in other parts of the city.”
“Christchurch residents love buskers and we have some talented performers here so it’s a wonderful opportunity to bring them together and have some fun.”