A lot of enthusiasm at the Karlsruhe ATOLL Festival 2019
Expansion of the festival for contemporary circus has been worthwhile in every respect

With well over 8000 visitors, the Karlsruhe ATOLL Festival for Contemporary Circus came to an end on Sunday, 29 September. The Kulturzentrum Tollhaus was highly satisfied with the visitor response. "It was a very intensive festival, where everything worked as we could only hope for. During the two weeks we were able to show almost the entire spectrum of the contemporary circus and during this time we became a melting pot of circus arts that impressed and inspired many people," said Bernd Belschner, one of the managing directors of the Karlsruhe Cultural Centre.

For the first time the festival, which in Germany is one of the very few dedicated exclusively to the New Circus, was extended to two weeks. "We didn't want to double our number of events," says Stefan Schönfeld, who is part of the festival management, "but we needed an extension of the duration in order to do justice to the great diversity of the genre". More than 20 formations and individual artists had shown about as many different programmes in around 50 events. The art form, which is based on circus often also spans other genres, unfolded a broad spectrum from the body-focused acrobatics show to the comedic love story and the nostalgic-magic homage to the circus history to the avant-garde theater experiment and the highly personal show of strength that overcomes physical injury in a poetic and moving play.

The Australian company Gravity & Other Myths and the German-Belgian formation Common Ground, which celebrated the premiere of their debut in Karlsruhe, co-produced by the ATOLL-Festival, played a major role in the audience's success. The two groups performed in the large Tollhaus-Hall had already inspired well over 3000 people at their mostly sold-out performances alone. Other artists played in small tents and venues that were often filled to capacity. The Italian-French company My!Laika inspired with two furious pieces full of bitter nonsense. About 150 artists, who often work in international groups, animated the Tollhaus area for two weeks. ATOLL also played in other places and rooms of the nearby surroundings on the Alter Schlachthof and the Otto-Dullenkopf-Park. They praised the warm and inviting atmosphere that ATOLL 2019 radiated and made Karlsruhe the centre of the European circus world for two weeks, as did the guests and numerous trade visitors, who had also travelled from neighbouring European countries.

With the integration of the European support programme circusnext and the first edition of the German ZirkusOn scholarship, ATOLL 2019 broke new grounds, as did a special presentation for pupils with and without disabilities and a panel discussion on the situation of the contemporary circus in Germany. In the 2019 ATOLL programme, renowned circus groups such as Compagnie Galapiat, Cirque Aital, Les Colporteurs, Compagnie Circoncentrique and Bêtes de Foire, as well as up-and-coming young artists such as the Dutchman Monki, the German Josef Stiller and the British-German formation Rough Connections and Knot On Hands, also marked great highlights in 2019.



Monki Business & Laura Murphy are circusnext laureates 2018-2019.
Their projects are supported by the Creative Europe Program of the European Union


german version

We thank our supporters:Kulturbüro Karlsruhe



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