When: 29th April – 2nd May 2016
Where: Belfast city centre
What is it?
Belfast’s Festival of Fools returns over the May bank holiday weekend, with 120 free shows being performed across the city centre. It is the 13th year of the festival and this year it will feature daredevil acrobatics, chaotic clowning, heart-stopping hip hop and madcap musicians, hoping to put smiles on the faces of strangers.
Leading street theatre companies from Europe, North America, the UK and Ireland present over 120 shows and walkabout performances. Comedy, circus, dance, puppetry, magic, live music, and visual arts are all on the menu. The shows will take place in close walking distance to each other, so there’s literally something happening around every corner!
The festival will open on Friday 29th April at 7pm in Writers’ Square with Les Dudes. It will be Canadian duo Les Dudes’ first appearance in this part of the world and their impressive circus skills promise to take the audience’s breath away (and have them doubled over with laughter).
The Festival continues with daytime shows on Saturday, Sunday and bank holiday Monday. Each evening finishes with The Big Finish in Saint Anne’s Square, a variety style show featuring highlights from the day’s acts.
On Saturday 30th April and Sunday 1st May, the public will be treated to shows from 8 different youth and community groups from Belfast, Derry-Londonderry, and Lisburn. These shows will highlight the talents and achievements of 8 to 18 year olds, including one group of young people with a range of learning needs and abilities.
Visitors can expect bizarre sightings of aubergines in nappies being bottle fed by the Vegetable Nannies, and non-existent wounds being patched up by the accident prone St Joan’s Ambulance.
Sorin Sirkus will be making the trip from Finland for their first performance in Belfast. They started out in 1985 to deliver circus training to children and young people in Tampere. They share a birthday with Belfast Circus School, and the two schools are founding members of CARAVAN, the European youth and social circus network.
The Kamikaze Fireflies from the USA are sure to make a memorable mark on Belfast with their fast-paced blend of skills, banter and idiocy. Umami Dance Theatre from Spain combine hip hop, physical comedy and more back flips than you can possibly count. Ola Muchin is the first Polish performer to appear at the Festival of Fools. Muchin, a puppeteer, brings her trusted magician friend, and this show promises mystery, illusion and… chickens. Mister Mustache from Italy is the man to watch if you’re looking for some tips on how to woo the person of your affections. Of course things don’t always go to plan, with hilarious results.
Finally, Dan Holzman, holder of two Guinness World Records, will return with his supreme juggling talents and comic banter, and Jamey Mossengren the World Unicycling Champion will also be performing.
This year’s Festival will also host the Great Artdoors Gallery in Writers Square, with artists from across Belfast creating and exhibiting their work.
More info: foolsfestival.com