August 07, 2022

Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys


Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys
Is Russia the ringmaster? Unsplash, Mark Williams

The Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation, Olga Lyubimova, has chosen to "invite everyone" to take part in the festival of circus art in St. Petersburg on November 3-6, including performers from the United States and Ukraine. 

This comes as a surprise, amid heightened tensions after Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

After Russian artists were banned from the International Circus Festival in Monte Carlo, the organizers of the festival in St. Petersburg chose to name the event "Without Borders." Lyubimova commented that "there are no borders behind scenes, there are no borders in the arena... we understand that these are our partners."  In addition to artists from Russia, Ukraine, and the United States, the festival says it will feature performers from Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, France, Spain, Turkey, Vietnam, Mexico, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Moldova, and Mongolia, among others.

The general director of the Russian State Circus, Sergei Belyakov, spoke about the international artists who expressed their interest in participating in the festival. Performers from 21 countries have already begun signing contracts as the date of the festival approaches.

For clarification, the minister noted that St. Petersburg may not ultimately be the location of the festival, though it seems that it will remain in Russia: "Perhaps the regions will fight" for which may host the circus, she said.

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