Circus Festival Palestine
United for freedom
September 27 to October 6, 2018
Circus in Palestine is still a relatively new phenomena. Among the Palestinian population circus is mostly still perceived and understood in its traditional form where animals, clowns and very daring acts play the lead role. When asking Palestinians if they ever saw a circus show, most refer to TV shows and many people in Ramallah remember the Russian circus that put up its circus tent in Al Bireh in 2000, but could never perform due to the outbreak of the second intifada. Circus did arrive to Palestine in the form of different projects like Clowns without Borders to show solidarity with the Palestinians and bring joy to the children in the midst of hardship. It introduced mainly children to the human pyramids, amazing acrobatic jumps, jugglers and stilltwalkers, unicyclers and much more of the skills pertaining to the contemporary and social circus realities.
But in 2018, for many people, circus is very alive in Palestine. Palestinian acrobats, jugglers, clowns, aerialists and amazing artists now enlighten our public. Next to the students, trainers and the artists of the Palestinian Circus School (PCS), there are other Palestinians infected with the circus virus in Nablus, in Gaza and in East Jerusalem. All sharing the same aim of developing the circus arts in Palestine and at the same time using the circus as a wonderful tool to immerse our youngest generations - which are too often drawn in the daily atrocities of the occupation - in the values of teamwork, trust, equality and unity in diversity, all while strengthening the individual and national identity.
More than ever can we say, the circus is here to stay!!
12 years now, the Palestinian Circus School has been contributing to this dream. The festival will take place in the period between September 27 and October 6, 2018 with the participation of many international and local circus artists. We will bring Palestinian and international circus shows, acts and workshops to thousands of children, youth and their families. But we will also bring a few professional top productions for a mixed audience. PCS is more than proud to be able to present some of the wonderful shows that contemporary circus has to offer and to allow the magic of circus to touch us all.
Picture of the famous international circus production Slapstick Sonata of companie La Putyka.
By organizing an international circus festival in Palestine we want to spread joy and pride among the local population. We want to increase their knowledge and understanding of the role of circus in Palestine in strengthening the personal, social and national identity
At the same time the festival aims at openening a window for the world to witness at first hand the creative potential of Palestinians in all their walks of life, raising international recognition of the Palestinian creativity and its’ aspiration for freedom and a life in dignity.
In last instance we want to offer a space for encounter and mutual enrichtment between local and international artists, a place where they can see and appreciate new work, where our local artists get exposed to quality performances they can hardly ever assist at and be exposed to new techniques and ways of creating through the diferent workshops.
The festival will target different cities, villages and refugee camps around the West Bank including Jerusalem.
One way of reaching the children and the public at large will be through the cooperation with private public and UNWRA schools and with different community based organisations. Next to that we will organize large and smaller events at public spaces inviting the large society offering performances for all ages. Next to many presentations in schools and streets, the festival will also program 2 or 3 high quality contemporary circus performances in the best theatres around the country.
The Palestinian Circus School (PCS) started in 2006 with a first workshop in circus for a small group of youngsters which turned into die hard circus addicts who pushed hard to keep training, performing and soon after sharing their initial skills with children all over the country, from Ramallah, to Hebron and Jenin. It has evolved into an officially registered non-profit non-governmental professional institution teaching circus all the year to more than 300 children and youth, 6 years and up, and creating shows with its students and team members which tour locally and internationally.
It performed for tens of thousands of people in Palestine and abroad, spreading the pride, the dignity and the hope of Palestinians.
It’s first hour students, became its trainers and strongest defenders. Thanks to a permanent cooperation with a huge number of international circus artists, trainers, schools and consultants, it could develop to where it stands today.
The circus was born to make the impossible possible. The circus was born in Palestine because Palestinians teach life every day. Reality in Palestine is every day one big circus, where people need to balance between life and death, where they juggle with the many obstacles imposed on them by the occupation, where the laughter hides a deep sadness and where the right to be happy is demanded every day.
Our vision: We dream of a free Palestine in which Palestinians engage in a dynamic cultural and artistic life that embraces creativity, freedom of expression and diversity as the main pillars for a just and inclusive society.
PCS in action over the last 12 years
Manzel street – Birzeit
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