The Continental Circus Berlin has arrived in Northern Ireland for its debut – the first marquee to move to Belfast since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Spectacular two-hour shows will take place two and sometimes three times a day from Wednesday November 17 to Sunday November 28 at Boucher Road Playing Fields.
This particular production even features Ireland’s only professional freestyle motocross (FMX) rider.
FMX is a variation of the sport of motocross in which motorcyclists perform jumps, flips and aerial stunts, something Evan Mullarkey perfected during his trip to Europe with his number.
“I started riding at a young age. There were no motocross tracks where I come from in Ballina County Mayo. So I built a ramp with my dad and kept training all the time, ”said the 25-year-old.
A British rider put Evan in touch with a boss in Hungary, where he started performing four years ago.
“I toured everywhere – in Spain, Hungary, Portugal, Denmark and Germany. This is my first time coming to Belfast and last year was the first time I have performed anywhere in Ireland, ”he told the Belfast Telegraph.
Circus goers will be able to watch Evan fly through the air on his motorbike while performing mind-blowing stunts, and watch him whisk away inside the metal globe of death.
Circus general manager David Fitzgerald said the entire team, from the clowns and acrobats to jugglers and everything in between, are “so excited to be here.” Despite the government’s easing of coronavirus restrictions in Northern Ireland, the circus will maintain the separation of social bubbles for customers when they come to the show, and there are numerous hand sanitizing stations on site.
“We want to give everyone the confidence to come and see us in a safe and secure environment,” said David.
“It’s great to have live entertainment back. It has been a very difficult time for everyone, especially people in the entertainment industry.
“We’ve been based in England for a year and a half between closings. We’ve been on tour since May all over there so we’re excited to be able to bring it to Belfast.
“We had Circus Extreme here in September 2019 in the Botanic Gardens which was the last circus production to take place in Northern Ireland. This is a different production with the same company.
“We also run the Moscow State Circus, so traveling the world our directors, looking for the best Russian artists for this production, found a way to discover other circus talent and that’s where it was born. Continental Circus Berlin.
“We change our programs every two years, so every time you come to see us you will see a different program, with different artists. “
Customers can also expect dancers, contortionists, tightrope walkers, and various other stuntmen with an array of weird and wonderful tricks.
While there is no specific law prohibiting the use of wild animals in traveling circuses in Northern Ireland, animal rights activists will be happy to know that no animals will be used in performances of this production.
The Republic of Ireland banned the use of wild animals in traveling circus acts in 2018, as did Scotland, becoming the first UK country to do so. Wales and England quickly followed suit, and the NI Assembly once suggested that would follow, but since the collapse of the executive in January 2017, no progress has been made since.
David also joked that the circus is always on the lookout for new, exhilarating acts if aspiring thrill seekers from Northern Ireland want to try their hand at a marquee first.
But such ambitions might not be so far off, as Evan has proven.
He recalled that 14 years ago he watched the world’s most popular FMX event, the Red Bull X-Fighters competition, on television when they performed at Slane Castle in County Meath.
Since then, the Mayo man knew this was the career he wanted to pursue and hopes to encourage all determined young runners to stay focused and believe that one day they too can be center stage, running the world for a living, adding to “never stop dreaming and pushing yourself for what you want”.
Tickets for Continental Circus Berlin can be purchased at the Boucher Road Playing Fields website or online at www.circusberlin.co.uk. Prices range from £ 11 to £ 25.80 for children and £ 13 to £ 32.25 for adults.