Circus Abyssinia: Ethiopian Dreams was inspired by our story, and tells the tale of two little Ethiopian brothers (Little Bibi and Little Bichu), whose dream of joining the circus is made real by the Man in the Moon.
The adventure truly begins when the brothers realise their dream is a shared one: their journey is joined by a host of high-flying, contorting figures, some enchanting, others menacing - and at least one ridiculous! - but all of them circus dreamers, whose feats of acrobatic daring call up a world of rushing adventure that awakens the possibility of a bona fide Ethiopian circus!
The show delves into the rhythms and roots of Ethiopia's rich musical and artistic traditions to weave its story through death-defying tricks, and feats of juggling, clowning and contortion, all performed to the irresistible beats of Ethiopian song.
We all grew up dreaming of joining the circus, but with no circus tradition in Ethiopia, there was little chance of running away with one! The show is a surreal retelling of how in following our dreams, we found each other, and in each other, found the means to make our dreams come true.
Circus Abyssinia is the first Ethiopian circus made by and for Ethiopian artists. The story at the heart of the show is a mix of autobiography and dream, and tells how we came to be jugglers - not from our adult perspective, but how as children we dreamed it.
Circus Abyssinia: Ethiopian Dreams is deeply indebted for its words and premise to brilliant stage and screen director, Cal McCrystal, whose direction of Moon Songs, our 2015 show with Giffords Circus, staged a musical and acrobatic exploration of the childhood imagination, and realised the notion of circus as a waking dream. Circus Abyssinia unfolds with a sense of surreality inspired by Moon Songs, and does most of its storytelling through the physical and musical language of circus itself.
Our goal at Circus Abyssinia is to thrill and inspire, to celebrate the beauty and power of the imagination, and the real possibility that when we work together and fight for them, our dreams are for the taking.
The show has realised the dreams of its Ethiopian acrobatic cast, because, for us, to perform is to be happy and free, and we love nothing more than to share the beats and excitement of acrobatic daring and dance with an audience. And that’s what it’s really all about - although our circus stages a journey through Ethiopia’s culture, and explores the ties and traditions that set us apart, at its heart is a celebration of the impulse to hope and dream common to all cultures and continents.
Our show celebrates the joys and thrills that transcend our differences, and remind us, wherever we're going, whatever our hopes are, we all dream under the same moon.