Chicago Circus and Performing Arts Festival
March 10-12 at Wicker Park’s Den Theatre, Opening Gala March 9
Chicago-Based Ensembles Offer Circus, Burlesque, Dance & Comedy
CHICAGO, IL, MARCH 9, 2023 – Chicago Circus & Performing Arts Festival, the Windy City’s newest multidisciplinary fest, will run March 9-12, 2023, at Wicker Park’s Den Theatre at 1331 N. Milwaukee. Thirteen unique performances from Chicago-based companies include traditional circus acts, avant-garde sideshow and burlesque offerings, family-friendly juggling and clowning shows, queer-themed work, plus several evening-length pieces that also include dance. Several shows are double features: twice the fun for the same price!
Single tickets are $15-40 and are available online or at 773-697-3830. The lobby features cashless cocktails from the newly renovated Haven Lounge before and after performances. The Opening Gala is on March 9, from 6-10 PM and includes vendor tables from local businesses and Chicago circus schools, door prize giveaways, and a silent auction. Exclusive previews for media and donors will be performed throughout the night. Metered street parking is available, and the apps ParkChicago, Spot Hero, Park Whiz, and Parq Ex are recommended to secure a spot. The venue is also accessible to the Blue Line (north of Division, south of Damen stops) and via various bus routes. The Festival’s media sponsors are The Actors Gymnasium and CircusTalk.
Thursday, March 9
Heath Mainstage & Lobby:
6:00-10:00 pm Opening Gala: Show previews for media and donors, silent auction, local vendors.
Friday, March 10
6:00-7:30 pm Creature Double Feature by Such Creatures (circus + dance fusion, queer-themed)
7:45-9:15 pm BIPOC Circus Alliance Midwest (classic circus cabaret, all BIPOC cast)
9:30-11:00pm the Back Side Show by Yes Ma’am Circus (side-show, burlesque, circus, ages 18+)
Saturday, March 11
12:45- 2:15 pm Distillations & Don't Try This At Home- Double Feature by Luther Bangert & Dinder Brothers’ Circus (juggling solo show, family circus troop, side-show, family friendly)
2:30- 4:00 pm Double Feature- Poised & The Reluctant Mind Reader by Raphael Entertainment (solo juggling + solo magic, family friendly)
4:15- 5:45 pm BIPOC Circus Alliance Midwest (classic circus cabaret, all BIPOC cast)
6:00- 7:30 pm Autobiography of a Late Bloomer by Lucid Banter Project (dance, queer-themed, ages 13+)
7:45- 9:15 pm Circus Dungeon Crawl by Yes Ma’am Circus (circus cabaret, burlesque, nerd-themed, ages 18+)
9:30- 11:00 pm Queer Double Feature: And They Were Shipmates, A Queer Pirate Romance Adventure & Queer Dance Freakout by Counterfeit Combat & Gender Fucked Productions
Sunday, March 12
10:30 am- 12:00 pm Serious Cirque by Duo Refraction+ (circus, clown, family friendly)
12:15- 1:45 pm Circus Cabaret of Wonder by the Amazing Prizzini Brothers (classic circus cabaret, clowning, family friendly)
12:15- 1:45 pm Double Feature- Poised & The Reluctant Mind Reader by Raphael Entertainment (solo juggling + solo magic, family friendly)
2:00- 3:30 pm Distillations & Don't Try This At Home- Double Feature by Luther Bangert & Dinder Brothers’ Circus (juggling solo show, family circus troop, side-show, family friendly)
The Amazing Prizzini Brothers’ Circus Cabinet of Wonder: The Amazing Prizzini Brothers’ classic circus cabaret features family-friendly circus acts and clowning. The goal is simple: to make the audience complicit in the mischief.
Autobiography of a Late Bloomer: Lucid Banter Project presents Autobiography of a Late Bloomer, a collection of work created over a span of 15 years, following the choreographer's coming-out journey. Following Paula, Lucid Banter Project's director, through professional growth, family drama, religious realizations, sexual awakenings, relationship highs and lows, injury, and emotional abuse, the audience is brought along through the experiences, emotions, and growth of a late bloomer lesbian.
BIPOC Circus Alliance Midwest Showcase: This circus cabaret features circus artists of Color as they share individual stories that depict human emotions and unique challenges faced by POC in contemporary America. Disciplines will include rope, straps, aerial hammock, diabolo, and silks. For ages 13+.
The Back Side Show: Produced by Yes Ma'am Circus, the Back Side Show features burlesque, sideshow, and variety acts from around Chicago. For ages 18+.
Circus Dungeon Crawl: Yes Ma’am Circus’ longest running cabaret! Come see the Chicago debut of Circus Dungeon Crawl, previously only shown to the elite crowd of gamers at GenCon in Indianapolis! Journey with Marcus the Bard as they attempt to drink, seduce, and thieve their way through the Multiverse, along with a cast of aerialists, clowns, and burlesque dancers.
Creature Double Feature: Creature Double Feature brings you not one, but TWO new works by Such Creatures Co-Directors Luke Greeff & Ashaand Simone. Missile Kid by Luke Greeff shows a punk-rock apocalyptic horror movement suite on unmasking the Autistic soul within the confines of an Allistic world … or a dancey existential crisis to good tunes… you decide. intimate youniverse by Ashaand Simone transports the audience into an 8-bit arcade world where they’re in charge of helping the protagonist’s disparate parts work towards some amount of peace. In doing so, they will learn firsthand what it looks like to re-wire the brain away from the impacts of (Complex) Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and towards acceptance of intimacy and connection.
Distillations & Don't Try This At Home- Double Feature: A family friendly double feature. A solo contemporary juggling show performed by Luther Bangert, Distillations takes the audience on a multimedia and multidimensional journey through the anatomy of a moment, investigating causality, and emerging into the ground state of the juggling universe. Dinder Brother's Circus is proud to present the "DONT TRY THIS AT HOME SHOW!!!" Seen across the midwest since 2015 this blend of circus, magic, and danger is sure to entertain anyone ages 4 and up! With mystifying aerials, feats of death, and astounding illusions everyone will find something they enjoy.
Double Feature- Poised & The Reluctant Mind Reader: A funny and dazzling 1-man duo show! Welcome to an experience that aims to have you question the absolute limits of what is humanly possible. Brought to you by one of Chicago's top jugglers, Poised is a family friendly show full of laughs and amazing feats of balance and coordination. Then stay and watch as someone with the ability to read minds shows off his powers while talking about the pains and annoyances that come with always hearing what people are thinking. The Reluctant Mind Reader showcases how some gifts aren’t what they’re cracked up to be.
Serious Cirque: Serious Cirque is a not so serious deconstruction of contemporary circus performance. It transparently and unabashedly reveals the hilarity, fails, successes and discoveries that come out of circus creation. What happens when Siri tries to third wheel your adagio duet opener? What if the duo trapeze porter loses his flyer and must perform only with sock puppets?
Queer Double Feature- And They Were Shipmates, A Queer Pirate Romance Adventure & Queer Dance Freakout: First, Counterfeit Combat presents a gay pirate show full of fights and fun that you can’t miss! Join us onboard Calico Jack’s ship, The Ranger, as we follow the tale of the infamous female pirates, Anne Bonny and Mary Read. This occasionally true story based on historical facts will have you laughing, sighing, and gasping, oh aye! Then stick around for Queer Dance Freakout, an interactive, choose your own adventure spectacle produced by Gender Fucked Productions. This company of queer, trans, and nonbinary choreographers and storytellers will perform up to 30 dances that will have audiences booty shaking, grooving, and connecting with the queer community.