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Curatorial Statement

What a thrill to present a brand new Circus this year with a focus on the collision of art and contemporary circus. Being a leading Contemporary Arts Hub in Canada, it is essential that we offer new angles and fresh viewpoints from the sidelines while inviting our youngest culture lovers to participate and celebrate the intervention of ideas and art making.

For HarbourKIDS: Circus, two established and extraordinary contemporary circus artists in their own right have been invited to curate our two most popular stages. Holly Treddenick of Femmes du Feu has filled the Concert Stage with aerial silks, trapeze and acrobatics all with a contemporary edge. On our Stage in the Round the incomparable Adam Lazarus, former director of the Toronto Clown Festival, takes a turn curating the stage with mimes, comedians, and clown type characters that will have you doubling over in laughter and re-thinking how theatre and circus can combine.

As we explore ideas of progress, you may notice throughout the programming many references to our favorite iconic circus animals. In this age you'd be hard pressed to find an animal performing tricks in a circus ring, and we believe this step forward in the circus world is a good one.

So, as an ode to the animals of the past we are saying goodbye, thank you and celebrating their new found freedom. The Animal Show in the Brigantine Room will pay proper homage with an installation performed by dancers in the ring.

Come down and celebrate the first long week-end of the summer, we sure have earned it this year. Enjoy the lake, and the sights and sounds of the circus as Harbourfront Centre transforms into a place where people discover new feats, break the rules of convention and keep trying something new.

— Allison Cummings, Artistic Associate

A programme of the complexity and size of our 2016 festival season is only possible with the cooperation, contributions and hard work of every department and all members of the entire Harbourfront Centre staff and volunteer teams. We extend our thanks to them all. We would also like to acknowledge and thank the dedicated Harbourfront Centre Volunteer Team who for over 37 years have worked tirelessly to make all our activities possible.

Femmes du Feu

Holly Treddenick

This year's main stage event offers you three shows per day featuring an extraordinary variety of contemporary circus artists brought together by Holly Treddenick of Femmes du Feu. Here's what she has to say about how she has curated our beautiful Concert Stage overlooking the lake:

“For the curation of the Sea and Sky Circus Stage, my priorities were to highlight new contemporary circus works. I aimed to create an ethos in performance for children that was not only entertaining, but also contemporary, critical and current. I've drawn from diverse communities to support the growing Ontario ecology of new circus. This stage considers the five families of circus: prop manipulation, aerial, clown, balance and acrobatics.”

Adam Lazarus

Adam Lazarus

We are excited to have the very talented Adam Lazarus join our team this year and take the reins at the Stage in the Round. With his deep appreciation for the absurd and hilarious, I am certain the lawn around this stage will be full all weekend. Mark your spot early.

Here is what Adam had to say about the opportunity to curate this central venue for HarbourKIDS: Circus:

“What is a circus without a clown? The function of our red-nose friend is to showcase the joy of being ridiculous, of looking silly, and of making mistakes. Join us on the Side Show Carousel with some of our city's best entertainers as we look beyond the traditional red-nose definition of clown and expand it to include characters, mimes, musicians, dancers and silent physical performers. Stop by, have a laugh, sing a song and rejoice as our artists entertain and act the fool.”