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Clowning around: Pitch'd Circus Arts Festival returns to Cork

Pitch'd Circus Arts Festival, presented by the Circus Factory Cork, will return to Cork later on this month.

The popular festival will have performances and workshops in various venues across the city and county from Friday, September 20 until Sunday, September 29.

Locals will get to see circus acts, street performances, aerial arts, and comedy. They will also be able to attend workshops for all ages.

The circus festival will begin on Friday, September 20 with a performance on Culture Night, where Dare Devil acts will take over Skiddy's Plaza on North Main Street.

Afterwards, a teen circus disco will take place on the street. Inferno fire performers will then perform flame-throwing tricks on Coal Quay at 10pm.

One notable performer attending the festival is Lucy Hopkins. She will be performing her contemporary clown show, Le Foulard, in St Peters on North Main Street, on Saturday, September 21. This critically acclaimed show is free and suitable for all ages.

Lucy will also teach a four hour clown workshop the following morning in the Circus Factory training centre. 

Circus Factory members warming up for Pitch’d Circus & Street Arts Festival which takes place throughout Cork city 20 - 29 September. Photo: Joleen Cronin
Circus Factory members warming up for Pitch’d Circus & Street Arts Festival which takes place throughout Cork city 20 - 29 September. Photo: Joleen Cronin

Other highlights of the ten-day festival include Darragh McLoughlin's third feature performance, Stick Man, which is a performance of improbable feats of balance which transforms the body into a variety of different images.

The highly anticipated Pitch'd Gala Cabaret on Saturday, September 28 will feature Irish and international performers, who will dazzle crowds with contemporary circus, comedy, music, and burlesque.

Circus training for all ages and experience levels will be on offer throughout the festival.

Pitch’d will bring street performance acts to Macroom Food Festival on Saturday, September 28, and to the Douglas Street Autumn Festival the next day. Here they will showcase upcoming talented street performers Von Drip Duo and Síolta Collective.

Galway Community Circus / Wire Crossed will also set up on Douglas Street, with tutors in tightwire teaching people the art of funambulism (tightwire walking with balancing pole).

The festival also features two special commissioned shows at Circus Factory on Centre Park Road.

Time or Place is on during the evening of Saturday, September 22. This is a site-specific performance, developed as part of a collaborative process with a selection of circus, physical theatre, and music performers entertaining the crowds.

Creative training and engagement will be led by Elaine McCague and Jonah McGreevy from the award-winning modern Circus company, Loosysmokes. Music direction is by Caoilian Sherlock (The Shaker Hymn) and Elaine Howley (The Altered Hours), and artistic direction by Festival Director Cormac Mohally (Lords of Strut).

The Pitch'd Circus Arts Festival will be closed out on Sunday, September 29 with a Circus Factory community show called Exquisite Corpse.

Festival Director Cormac Mohally, who is one half of the comedy duo Lords of Strut said that he has performed around the world and he aspires to bring  "a bit of that weird and wonderful world I get to be part of to the streets of Cork during Pitch’d."

 "From "weird clowns" to high skill circus performers, with free and ticketed shows, it’s got something for everyone. But my favourite thing about the festival is the coming together of our circus community, from far and wide, having a huge party to celebrate our diversity and making new friends along the way. Hope to see you all there," the comedian said.