One festival and a dozen ways to view the circus

18/04/2023 - 07:00 h

Ajuntament de Barcelona

The programme of the 2023 Grec Festival of Barcelona is peppered with a dozen circus performances which will show spectators the many facets of this show-business genre.


The new and old ways of doing circus. You’ll find all of them at this year’s Grec, and actually, classic and modern circus coexist comfortably in some of the shows scheduled. Do you want high-quality circus? Come to the Grec!

Everything begins at the moment the festival kicks off. Or, to be more precise, at the moments it kicks off, because the Grec has a double kick-off this year. The official opening will be on 29 June (from 29 June to 1 July), with another visit to the city by the prestigious Australian company Gravity and Other Myths, which this time will thrill audiences by merging the world of acrobatics with choral performance. In The Pulse, you’ll see how the performers (the circus company and the Girls’ Choir of the Orfeó Català) speak to us about the group and the community in a novel way. 

Grec’s second opening will be its citizen kick-off, an open festival which invites you to head to Passeig de Gràcia (which is celebrating its anniversary) with Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes and look up. This is because on 2 July (entry free of charge), Rachid Ourandame is presenting the show Les Traceurs, in which you’ll see the tightrope walker Nathan Paulin walk through the city’s sky. Don’t worry. He won’t get hurt.

Metaphysical circuses and symphonic flocks

Once the festival is underway, you’ll have options as different as the ones you’ve seen so far, like the metaphysical circus that Boris Gibé and the Cie Les Choses de Rien are bringing to Plaça de Margarida Xirgu. It is called L’absolu (from 5 to 16 July), an astonishing show that makes us think and takes place in a large silo. Spectators have to do without seats and take up positions on a ladder that climbs up inside the structure. The same square will be the venue of many activities, some of them targeted at kids or ideal for enjoying with the whole family. For example, Moon Ribas and Quim Girón (Animal Religion) will turn you into the sheep in a flock with an electronic bell in Ramat Simfònic (from 6 to 8 July; free of charge). Are you game?

The neighbouring Mercat de les Flors is hosting the modern circus show by Clara Poch Masià, Lady Panda (from 10 to 12 July), as well as the display of emerging European circus, circusnext (11 and 12 July), and a new show by Catalan circus veterans escarlata, a company at the best time which on 10 and 21 July will put on La grUtesca. On 22 and 23, Yoann Bourgeois will astonish you by turning instability into a show. And what a show! You’ll feel exhausted after watching the exertion that the performers need to remain upright on a stage that is constantly shaking in Celui qui tombe (22 and 23 July). However, a few days before that, also at the Mercat (20 and 21 July), the company Circus Ronaldo is asking a generational question explained with the language of the circus in Sono io?

Leandro Mendoza, a great name in Catalan circus, will also question the abyss (or only the crevice?) between generations of circus artists. In Vetus Venustas (Sant Andreu Teatre; 5 and 6 July) artists from different generations will set out to work together. But if what you really want is to see imaginative ways of doing circus, you have to come to the Fundació Joan Brossa-Centre de les Arts Lliures on 5 July to see Maria Palma Borràs, who explores how the voice sounds and how circus is done… in the water, in La veu submergida! The surprising, poetic show by Joan Català is also unique, as he fills the sound tubes of the Fundació Joan Miró in Idiòfona (22 and 23 July).

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