5 June 2018
By Bryan Smyth
Cork Midsummer Festival, running from 15-24 June, is to celebrate 250 years of circus with ground-breaking new work and free family-friendly events. Munster’s largest annual multi-disciplinary arts festival will mark the anniversary of the popular art form with the Irish premiere of hip hop/circus fusion Union Black at Neptune Stadium from 15-17 June.
Further performances for Circus250, a UK and Irish anniversary programme celebrating circus, include a hip hop takeover at UCC, supported by UCC Creative, an initiative of University College Cork. It stars Cork dance troupe and 2018 winners of Ireland’s Got Talent, RDC. For full details on all events visit www.corkmidsummer.com.
Created for Cork, Union Black is a mix of dance-theatre and circus from critically-acclaimed hip hop collective Far From The Norm and a selection of Europe and Ireland’s best hip hop dancers and circus artists. They include Crying Out Loud (UK), Le Plus Petit Cirque Du Monde (France) and Subtopia (Sweden).
Cork Midsummer Festival Director, Lorraine Maye said: “This is an incredible new show for Cork, created especially for the Festival. Exploring football culture and politics, Union Black is an exhilarating experience — from the amazing footwork, to the physical floor routines, to the skill of the Chinese pole.
“By commissioning shows like Union Black and hosting other great circus inspired events, we are showcasing ground-breaking and innovative work, building new partnerships, and ensuring that the circus artform is celebrated and cherished.”
Union Black is made possible with the financial support of the Creative Europe programme of the European Union; The Arts Council; UCC Creative, an initiative of University College Cork; Institut Français; The British Council and Cork City Council Arts Office.
The family-friendly hip hop takeover at UCC, Can I Kick It? / Yes You Can! will see free live performances at the University’s Devere Hall and outdoor amphitheatre on 16 June from 1pm to 5pm. The event is a collaboration with Ireland’s Got Talent champions, Billie-Jean’s RDC; along with representatives from Union Black; hip-hop co-op Cuttin’ Heads Collective; and rappers, singers, and musicians from The Kabin Studio (supported by Music Generation Cork City). It is hosted by Red FM’s Stevie G.
Two discussion panels take place at the event, examining the common ground between hip hop, soccer, circus performance, and other allied art forms addressed in Union Black.
Also featuring special performances to celebrate 250 years of circus is the ever-popular Picnic in the Park at Fitzgerald’s Park on 17 June.
During the Cork Midsummer Festival, in conjunction with Circus250, Circus Factory is holding a ‘Run Away With The Circus’ Summer Camp. Taking place from 19 June – 21 June, it is open to those aged over 12, and runs at the Circus Factory, Centre Park House, Centre Park Road.
Cork Midsummer Festival runs from 15-24 June, featuring 10 days of theatre, literature, dance, music, visual art and family-friendly festivities. See www.corkmidsummer.com for more. Cork Midsummer Festival is proudly supported by the Arts Council, Cork City Council and Fáilte Ireland.