Fortnight at the circus

Everybody hates a clown and maybe that's why the circus gets such a bad rap (that and the animal issues). The Berlin Circus Festival promises fun without almost none of that. Check it out on Tempelhofer Feld Aug 26-Sep 4.

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Photo by Einar Kling-Odencrants

Whether it’s because of Bar25 nostalgia or because we’re all just in need of a good laugh these days, “contemporary circus” is definitely having a moment in Berlin right now. This arty new-age genre, spun off of France’s nouveau cirque, combines startling theatrics with compelling characters and serious storytelling – basically, acrobatics without creepy clown costumes.

Intrigued? Check out the Berlin Circus Festival, coming to Tempelhof this August. In its second year, it’ll bring a host of jugglers, acrobats, performance artists and even a world-famous hypnotist to take you to the brink of reality and back.

Other highlights include grungy comedic duo Bert and Fred, who’ll keep you on the edge of your seat by throwing knives and chainsaws, and Frederic and Justine, who bring body flexibility to new elasticity levels.

Co-founder Josa Kölbel, a trapeze artist himself, hopes that one day circus will become as respected an art form as theatre or opera. In the meantime, he’s providing Berliners with traditional fair games, popcorn, a beer garden, four art exhibitions and a cabaret stage. And no animals. “Well, except for one chicken.”

Berlin Circus Festival, Aug 26-Sep 4, Tempelhofer Feld, Tempelhof