The C!RCA Circus Comes to Town

On Saturday, March 26, Australian contemporary circus company C!RCA delighted children and families in its Exelon Family Series debut. The program, “Carnival of the Animals,” based on the Camille Saint-Saens classical music suite of the same name.

Circa's Carnival of the Animals - Exelon Family Series Performance
C!RCA’s Carnival of the Animals – Exelon Family Series Performance

“Carnival of the Animals” is a fun and whimsical performance that also encourages children to think about how abstract representations through music and movement relate to the world they live in. Like the music itself, the performers use their bodies to evoke different animals throughout the piece, helping children to use their imaginations and connect what they hear and see in the performance to real animals they are familiar with.

The day began with a special pre-performance event with Access Tickets Program partner Illinois Action for Children, an organization that provides family support for early childhood care and education. More than 60 children and families attended a pizza party, provided in-kind by Giordano’s Pizza, animal masks and coloring activities, and a backstage tour concluding with an artist meet-and-greet.

C!RCA acrobats meet with children and families
C!RCA acrobats meet with children and families
Pre-performance pizza party and activities with Illinois Action for Children
Pre-performance pizza party and activities with Illinois Action for Children

In addition to Illinois Action for Children, nine Access Tickets Program partner organizations were in attendance, and the Theater provided more than 400 underwritten tickets for the performance.

The performance was a great success with more than 1,300 families in attendance. The artists blended acrobatics, theater, and music with beautiful stage design and interactive elements. Children and adults were on the edge of their seats as giant red balloons bounced through the theater, and blow-up “sharks” planted kisses on audience members.

CIRCA Family Series
“Carnival of the Animals” featured interactive elements to connect with the audience

As with other performances in the Exelon Family Series, program books included special inserts with educational activities and questions designed to encourage discussion beyond the theater setting. After the performance, all children and families in attendance were invited to meet the acrobats in the Level 1 Lobby for questions and autographs.

Audience members meet the C!RCA acrobats in the Harris Theater lobby
Audience members meet the C!RCA acrobats in the Harris Theater lobby