BRATTLEBORO — Circus performers from around the world will grace an online stage at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Circus Spectacular, the annual fundraiser by the New England Center for the Circus Arts, will for the first time broadcast acts from Australia to Vermont, with live performer and audience interaction. International circus companies and solo acts will display a wide range of performances, from traditional to a modern dance approach. Organizers handpicked the performers to bring a variety of visions to a shared online experience.
NECCA co-founder and Circus Spectacular producer Serenity Smith Forchion is excited about the opportunities this new platform offers.
“Because of the pandemic, we can’t do in person live theater, and we’re sorry to not be at the Latchis Theater this year,” Forchion said in a statement. “But the opportunity to bring artists from around the world to our virtual stage, and audience from as far away as well, is a positive.”
Presented through a new virtual platform, performers from across the globe will grace the online stage during the New England Center for Circus Arts annual fundraiser benefiting scholarships and outreach programming.
Group acts from Gravity and Other Myths out of Australia and Cirque BarCode join from Europe, while solo stage acts such as Joel Herzfeld’s hand balancing act provide contrast. From Celebrity Cruises, renowned contortionist Ariana Ferber-Carter shares a specially filmed contortion act, where the camera is a partner in the dance, and Micah Ellinger of Cirque Eloise, Cirque du Soleil and Circus Monti presents an engaging hand to hand act.
Hollywood actress and circus veteran, Tristan Avelina Cunningham, hosts this year’s event alongside ringmaster Jeff Raz, lead clown from the Pickle Family Circus and Cirque du Soleil. Raz founded a hospital clowning unit in San Francisco and devises theater focusing on the Jewish experience.
“They are sure to entertain and delight online audiences through their unique voices,” NECCA co-founder, Elsie Smith, said in a statement.
Vermonters with international fame include hula hoop artist Chloe Somers (Walier) and juggler Eric Bates. Somers grew up in Brattleboro and discovered NECCA as a teenager. She graduated from NECCA’s ProTrack before embarking on an international career that led to a European tour with the 7 Fingers. Bates also grew up in Vermont and performed in original creations with the 7 Fingers, Cirque Eloize and Cirque du Soleil, won multiple medals at Cirque de Demain, and is now a cofounder of Cirque Barcode, with a mission to use circus to bring attention to the climate crisis.
Molly Gawler, originally a dancer starring in international tours with the modern dance company Pilobolus, performs her Cyr Wheel dance, filmed in a Maine dance studio with picture windows.
This is the first time audiences can enjoy the production outside of Brattleboro.
“I’m looking forward to having a virtual watch party with my family and friends from all over the world,” NECCA marketing director Julia Langenberg stated. “We can share the experience of a live show together, even though we’re apart.”
There will be a live Q&A with the artists after the online performance. Tickets, which range from $15 to $50, are available online at necenterforcircusarts.org. For information, call 802-254-9780.
NECCA’s sponsors include Brattleboro Savings & Loan, Oak Meadow, Trust Company of Vermont, Brattleboro Tire, Berkley & Veller Greenwood Country Realtors, The Works Bakery, Chroma Technology Corp, The Peak Radio Group and the Brattleboro Reformer.