With more than 7,200 visitors, our ATOLL Festival for contemporary circus came to an end on Sunday. "There is no doubt that the sixth edition of our festival was outstanding in terms of versatility, internationality and quality of the programme, bringing us quite a bit closer to normality in culture again after the Corona crisis," says Britta Velhagen, who founded the festival in 2016. From the large-scale multimedia show by the Canadian company The 7 Fingers to the Scandinavian marquee production "Circus I Love You" and the breathtaking trampoline solo "O'dd" by the Finnish Race Horse Company, not only prominent representatives of the young genre of contemporary circus travelled to us in Karlsruhe from 15 to 26 September. Even lesser-known groups such as the Hippana Maleta Theatre from Germany and Ireland with their juggling piece "Runners" on treadmills performed in front of sold-out auditoriums and were completely enthusiastic.
Six German premieres as well as three world premieres were presented at this edition of ATOLL, which also scored points with its ambience in the TOLLHAUS, the Old Slaughterhouse and the adjacent Otto-Dullenkopf Park. "I am very happy that, apart from the fact that one of the final performances had to be postponed by an hour because of a shower, we were able to realise our very elaborate programme," says TOLLHAUS director Bernd Belschner: "We had a wonderful atmosphere, which artists and audiences emphasised again and again, established ourselves even more strongly with national and local audiences and were able to send a clear signal of hope for the circus and culture in general.
Even though the contemporary circus scene has recently experienced a noticeable upswing in Germany, the ATOLL Festival is still one of the few events dedicated exclusively to this genre. In addition to more conventional stage and circus pieces, there were a number of unusual formats to discover this year, such as the production "PIT", which travelled from the Netherlands with a huge box. Here you could watch three artists from an unusual perspective from above. A tour of the Alte Schlachthof grounds showed artistic miniatures with artists from Baden-Württemberg in unusual places. For the Fleischmarkthalle, the Swiss artist Julian Vogel conceived an enchanting exhibition with moving objects and interactive installations of his work series "China Series". In the exhibition, the artist, who deals with variations of the diabolo, also repeatedly showed a highly concentrated performance.
The open-air performance of the EU-funded circus project "WeLand", which alone attracted around 1200 people to Karlsruhe's Messplatz, was also unusual. The Italian troupe MagdaClan illustrated the connection between climate change and migration in a circus spectacle accompanied by rock music sounds. "It is precisely the artistic diversity of this young art form that makes it attractive and extraordinary for so many people of different origins and all ages," says circus director Stefan Schönfeld, who is responsible for the festival programme together with the TOLLHAUS team. Other outstanding highlights of the ATOLL Festival 2021 included guest performances by the Catalan Compañia de circo "eia" and the production "Random", which also came from Spain.
This is our ATOLL Festival-Trailer
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