Kalabanté Productions, in collaboration with The Welcome and Factory Assembly, officially opened Manchester’s new Aviva Studios with a spectacular performance that transcends borders and cultures.
This multi-sensory extravaganza, titled “Afrique en Cirque,” celebrates African culture with the vibrancy of youth, joy, and the diaspora, while inviting the audience to join them on an unforgettable journey inspired by daily life in Guinea.
The circus is on for four nights as one of the paid highlights of the venue’s Welcome programme. The Welcome, a two-year project led by 22 representatives from different boroughs of Manchester and curated by Factory Assembly, aimed to reflect the rich tapestry of Manchester’s communities and bring forth a unique cultural experience for all.
Most of the activities are free which means you can enjoy a full day of festivities, including music, delectable cuisine, and a range of engaging activities such as creating your own art work to add to Leeroy New’s ‘Balete Spacecraft’ sculpture.
It feels like the venue could well be a spacecraft because once inside Afrique en Cirque, bursting with colourful costumes and stunning scenery, transports us to another continent for a night filled with joy, unity, and inspiration.
The performance features mesmerising live Afrojazz music and traditional West African instruments, from soul-stirring percussion to the enchanting sounds of the kora. Through breathtaking acrobatics, the talented performers paint vivid pictures of life in Guinea, captivating the audience from start to finish.
What sets Afrique en Cirque apart is its ability to establish an intimate connection with the audience. Laughter and beautiful sounds bridge the gap between performers and spectators, making everyone feel like an integral part of the show. As an audience member you’ll find yourself not simply a passive observer but an active participant in this immersive experience.
The lighting design adds to the enchantment, casting a spell that leaves the audience in a trance. The interplay of light and shadows adds depth to the storytelling and heightens the emotional impact of the performance.
The Welcome invites everyone to explore their creativity, emphasising that creativity resides within each person; it only needs to be discovered. In a world filled with diversity and unique perspectives, Afrique en Cirque serves as a reminder that the beauty of culture and creativity lies in its ability to unite us all.
In this sense, Afrique en Cirque at Aviva Studios is more than just a circus performance — it is a celebration of culture, a fusion of talents, and an invitation to explore the boundless possibilities of human creativity.
Afrique en Cirque is at The Hall, Aviva Studios from 11-15 November 2023 as part of The Welcome a cultural, community celebration from 11-19 Nov for the opening of the new space. Visit the website for the full programme of events.