Theatre and Movement

The Greatest show on earth, © Nicolas Ritter
The Barnum & Bailey Greatest Show On Earth, Boston Public Library, Richard Dale McMullan Collection CC BY 2.0,

The Greatest Show on Earth

An international performance circus for the 21st century

The strategies and techniques of performance art, as they were developed in the 1970s, aimed to flout the mechanisms of the market. In the meantime, the concept of performing has become an integral part of the money-making machine itself. The project “The Greatest Show on Earth” attempts to rescue performance art by integrating it into the “circus” format. As Walter Benjamin once said, reality, and not pretence, takes centre stage at the circus. The circus promotes complete self-economisation, it displays the disparate and loud, presents freaks and strangers while offering them a place of refuge. This project invites 15 internationally renowned artists and collectives from various countries to develop performances for a circus programme and put their own artistic practices to the test in this unusual form. Dancers, choreographers and performance artists will experiment with dressage, eroticism, magic, acrobatics, buffoonery and ballet: Choreographer couple Florentina Holzinger and Vincent Riebeek show an exposing trapeze act. Valérie Castan and Antonia Baehr perform their dressage act of the self, performance duo Hendrik Quast and Maika Knoblich put the relationship between man and animal to the test and contact Gonzo does a daring battle with their death machine. And the neo-Dadaist 2-person “thing”-orchestra Les Trucs will be the circus band.

Artistic directors: Anna Wagner & Eike Wittrock
Artists: Meg Stuart (US), Philippe Quesne (F), Antonia Baehr & Valerie Castan (F), Jeremy Wade (US), contact Gonzo (J), Florentina Holzinger & Vincent Riebeek (A/NL), Eisa Jocson (RP), Maika Knoblich & Hendrik Quast and others

11.08.2016 - 20.08.2016 Kampnagel, International Summer Festival, Hamburg Performance circus
01.09.2016 - 10.09.2016 Künstlerhaus Mousonturm, Frankfurt am Main Performance circus
21.09.2016 - 23.09.2016 Sophiensæle, Berlin Performance circus
13.10.2016 - 16.10.2016 Kammerspiele, München Performance circus

Additional Venues:

Nanterre-Amandiers, Paris: 30. Sep. - 5. Oct. 2016