Festival Of Fools 2018

This May Day Bank Holiday weekend the Festival of Fools brings a jam-packed programme of circus performances, featuring breathtaking acrobatics, gut-busting comedy and jaw-dropping juggling.

The largest comedy and street theatre festival on the island of Ireland, with more than 100 performances due to take place on the streets of Belfast City Centre and Cathedral Quarter. Artists from Japan, Italy, France, Canada, Argentina, Finland and England, will be on the line up, alongside the best of home-grown street theatre artists from the island of Ireland.

Established in 2004, the festival has put Belfast firmly on the world map as a capital of street theatre and circus excellence. Artists apply from across the globe to take part, and audiences are spoilt for choice with a huge programme of events. All shows are free to attend, and no booking is required.

Highlights of the programme for this year are:
• Quatuor Stomp, a dynamic four-man acrobatic team from Quebec. This group have travelled across New Zealand, Australia, South Korea, Canada and throughout Europe with What's Next? their unique street show which relies on audience participation and chance to see which skills they will showcase, from an incredible jump-rope routine to acrobatics and juggling.
• Victor Rubilar, 5-time Guinness world record holder and football freestyler from Argentina, demonstrating highly technical juggling feats, including a jaw-dropping finale that only he can perform. Rubilar has toured the world with this fast-paced show combining football juggling, dancing and audience interaction, appearing alongside football legends including Messi, Figo, Ronaldo and Pelé.
• Otto Il Bassotto, the rubber-faced Master of Balloons from Italy, whose show combines classic clowning and mind-blowing balloon tricks, brings a surreal and topsy-turvy world to life in a show suitable for all ages.
• Kate & Pasi, a double act from Finland, who perform heart-stopping acrobatics and astonishing foot juggling.

Festival of Fools is the brainchild of the late Belfast Community Circus School director Will Chamberlain, who believed passionately in the power of street theatre and laughter to bring people together regardless of background, religion or language. He established the Festival in the Cathedral Quarter in Belfast at a time when the area was a far cry from the bustling cultural centre it is today, leading the way in the regeneration of the north inner city. Nowadays the Festival is a firm fixture on the cultural calendar for Cathedral Quarter, bringing 40,000 visitors to the areas who spend an estimated £1.2m in local businesses. Festival of Fools attracts a range of funders and sponsors including the Arts Council for Northern Ireland, Translink, Belfast City Council, Tourism Northern Ireland, and the Ramada Encore Hotel.

The 2018 Festival will also present performances from the Mysteries and Drolls project, a three-year partnership venture funded by the EU Creative Europe programme with partners in Poland, Spain, Italy and Germany.

Festival of FOODS – The Festival of Foods sees Festival of Fools teaming up with cafes and restaurants in the area to promote local food and hospitality. Over a dozen bars, restaurants and cafes in Belfast city centre take part, offering a wide range of deals ranging from special Festival menus through to free meals for children. The Festival's brochure and website show details of which restaurants are participating.

The Festival of Fools will fill streets throughout Belfast City Centre between 04 and 07 May, 2018. Pick up a programme across the city, or find out more @foolsfestival on Facebook.

Image: Otto Il Bassotto by Jean-Pascal Schorro

Recent News