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Circus Abyssinia: Ethiopian Dreams - 28 - 29 July 2018     

Circus Abyssinia: Ethiopian Dreams - 

28 - 29 July 2018 Circus Abyssinia: Ethiopian Dreams

28 - 29 July 2018

The jaw-dropping spectacular show 'Ethiopian Dreams' will be performed by the world’s first Ethiopian circus at Aberystwyth Arts Centre on 28-29 July and will form part of the centre's season of summer shows taking place in an outdoor performance tent! The show is created entirely by Ethiopian artists, pursuing their dreams from their humble beginnings in the streets of Addis Ababa.

Circus Abyssinia stages - in surreal, comic, wordless ways - the tale of Bibi and Bichu, who dreamed as little boys of joining the circus. Weaving its story through death defying tricks and stunning synchronised feats of juggling, dance, and contortion – all performed to the irresistible beats of Ethiopian song – the show fuses Ethiopia’s astonishing musical and artistic heritage with the arts of traditional and contemporary circus to create something extraordinary and new.

Circus Abyssinia is the first Ethiopian circus made by and for Ethiopian artists. The story at its heart is a mix of autobiography and dream and tells how two little Ethiopian brothers (Little Bibi and Bichu) came to be world class jugglers - not just from their adult perspective, but how as children they dreamed it. Their magical journey is joined by a host of high-flying, contorting figures, some enchanting, others menacing - and at least one ridiculous! - but all of them circus ‘dreamers’, whose feats of acrobatic daring call up a world of rushing adventure and awaken the possibility of a full blown Ethiopian circus.

The absence of circus tradition in Ethiopia means that most acrobats never get to perform for a living, let alone see the inside of a circus ring. Bibi says: “Growing up in Ethiopia, no circuses ever rolled into town, and there were no circuses to run away with. But we loved its wonders from afar - we dreamed them then, and before long, began making them for ourselves.” Bibi and Bichu learned their skills busking and tumbling for crowds in the streets of Jimma. At 13 and 14 years old, they discovered their extraordinary talent for juggling, and came to England in 1998 as part of one of the first Ethiopian troupes to tour Europe. Since then, having made a permanent home in the UK, they’ve met with more success than they ever dared hope for, performing in shows that range from children’s television to Olivier Award-winning opera.

The lack of circus in Ethiopia is not for want of extraordinary talent, or indomitable passion for the circus arts. Circus schools have been springing up all over the country in recent years – what the artists lack is opportunity. For Bichu (the director), ‘Our show is about every single artist back in Ethiopia’. Given how much they owe to the help of fellow artists, it has been very important to Bibi and Bichu to provide the same kind of support to other Ethiopian circus artists. Since 2010, they’ve been sponsoring a circus school in Addis Ababa called Circus Wingate, and it was there they discovered the incredible acrobats in Circus Abyssinia: acrobatics who started out like they did, honing their skills on city streets, with no expectation of pay.

The cast’s circus careers have changed their lives and the lives of their families for the better in very real, significant ways: most were living in poverty before joining Bibi and Bichu to form Circus Abyssinia. Bichu says: ‘We conceive of circus as nothing less than a means of social change. We’re lucky to be performing at a time of growth and change in the global circus community; it’s not too much to say that the time has come for a new vision of circus in Ethiopia’. This is a possibility they explore in Circus Abyssinia. A celebration of dreams, of the people who make them possible, and the strength in all of us to fight for them, this is a show that uses the wonderful, surrealist language of circus to tell their story – how they dreamed it as children, how they lived it, and live it today.

Tickets are available from the Arts Centre Box Office on 01970 62 32 32 or online at
Aberystwyth Arts Centre  
web site
Marketing Dept Aberystwyth Arts Centre
Friday, June 29, 2018back



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