CirqueLouis combines circus arts with theater. | Photo by Brad Cottrell Photography
CirqueLouis combines circus arts with theater. | Photo by Brad Cottrell Photography

Have you ever wondered if Shakespeare’s classic lines would sound any different if delivered 40 feet in the air on a swinging trapeze? Me, neither. But the folks behind the new group CirqueLouis have a peculiar passion for merging theater with circus performing, and they’re taking Shakespeare to the circus, essentially, as they present “A Midsummer Night’s Circus” on Saturday, July 9, at the Iroquois Amphitheater.

CirqueLouis was formed last year. | Photo by Brad Cottrell Photography
CirqueLouis was formed last year. | Photo by Brad Cottrell Photography

Co-founder Abbie Springer tells Insider the troupe was officially formed in Louisville last year, but the core members have been studying and performing circus arts for 20 to 30 years. She says it’s really more of a calling than a job for most of the 45 performers in the group.

“Circus arts has given us so much, and what makes our hearts sing is to give it to others in the form of performance and instruction,” says Springer. “We have aerialists who have been performing since they were 8 years old and fire eaters who have been practicing for 30 years.”

It was artistic director Christine Moondancer’s love of the Bard that inspired the group to combine “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” with “Night Circus,” says Springer.

The story follows four lovers and a group of amateur entertainers into the mysterious world of a Big Top circus. The circus-within-a-circus motif will allow the troupe to utilize all their talents — in the air, on the ground and everywhere in between. And along with the production, there will be live music composed and performed by local band Aby Laby Land.

Springer believes what enthralls people the most about circus performing is the limitless possibilities. And the group’s love of theater falls right in line with their spirit.

“Taking our study of circus arts further by combining it with theater is a passion we all share, and we are, literally, improving each time we get together. We imagine, and then together as a group we achieve our next dream.”

CirqueLouis' executive director Jessica Marquardt | Photo by Brad Cottrell Photography
CirqueLouis’ executive director Jessica Marquardt | Photo by Brad Cottrell Photography

“A Midsummer Night’s Circus” takes place at 8 p.m. on Saturday, July 9, at the Iroquois Amphitheater. Tickets are $15.

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Sara Havens
Sara Havens is the Culture Editor at Insider Louisville, known around town as the Bar Belle (barbelleblog.com). She's a former editor of LEO Weekly and has written for Playboy and The Alcohol Professor. Havens is the author of two books: "The Bar Belle" and "The Bar Belle Vol. 2."