Creative Common is bringing the circus to Temple Quarter.

Bristol’s first ever Circus Festival will see 41 performances over 33 nights, featuring 16 live bands and DJs and 143 performers.

Bristol has been home to wild and wondrous entertainment for many centuries. An annual fortnight known as St James’ Fair dates back to the 13th century and is said to have included an international array of exhibitors and performers. Phillip Astley, the man dubbed ‘the Father of Circus’, brought his famous trick horse riders to Bristol in 1794 where he founded the first of his own circus companies.

Fast-forward to the 21st century and Bristol is home to not only a growing number of artists, performers and companies, but also Circomedia, the country’s leading school for circus skills. The school’s alumni form an international cast starring in contemporary circus shows across the globe including Ockham’s Razor and Pangottic Circus Theatre – and NoFit State Circus who opened the Creative Common 2013 season in June.

The Invisible Circus’ Director, Doug Francis explains the driving ethos behind the festival – “Artists and shows from Bristol are exported all over the world yet remain often unseen in the city itself. Our aim is to create a platform and build an audience to showcase local talent as well as attract touring companies to show their work here.”

Highlights of the Bristol City of Circus festival include Fringe First winner ‘Flown’, a mix of high-impact physicality by Pirates of The Carabina. The piece was originally commissioned by Glastonbury Festival and was also developed in Bristol at The Invisible Circus’ former creation space at Paintworks. An interactive installation performance comes courtesy of Twisted Fairground, adding puppetry, theatre, costume and sculpture together to create a truly immersive world within the Creative Common Big Top. Experiments in ‘comic extremism’ come from Tony Clifton Circus who will be balancing poetic elegance with screw-ball weirdness in their anarchic spectacle ‘Rubbish Rabbit’.

The weekly festival highlight will be Francisco’s Limelight Lounge every Friday evening featuring high octane circus, beguiling cabaret and foot stomping live music and DJ’s. Hosted by The Invisible Circus’ Doc Francisco, Friday nights at Creative Common are set to be the best party in town.

Creative Common has so far welcomed over 30,000 visitors since its launch in June 2013. Once a derelict piece of land next to Temple Meads Railway Station, Creative Common has been transformed into a unique public space in the heart of the Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone. Locals and tourists who regularly visit the site can enjoy a locally sourced organic meal in Yurt Lush and a local ale or two from “Bristol’s coolest new bar” The Goods Yard. The 2013 season has been filled with immersive performance, live music, independent cinema, public art and exhibitions along with Gromit Unleashed, making the space a destination to be enjoyed by all.

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