Cirque Africa prepares to take Armidale by storm

CIRQUE Africa is as colourful as it’s director.

LOTS OF LAUGHS: Cirque Africa performers entertain crowds with colourful costume and original music. The circus is a taste of African culture and dance styles.

LOTS OF LAUGHS: Cirque Africa performers entertain crowds with colourful costume and original music. The circus is a taste of African culture and dance styles.

Zimbabwean born German citizen Winston Ruddle, known as “Papa Africa” is the first African to own, direct and produce a big top circus.

It’s one of the few circuses in regional Australia with original music.

“Last year I was in Australia visiting my friend,” Mr Ruddle said in CNN interview.

“We talked about doing a circus in Australia – without a promoter.

“In the past I’ve always made productions and then sold it to a promoter.

“This is the first time I’m really taking a risk on my own with the help of my friend.”

Founded in Tanzania, the circus has trained more than 150 acrobats and dancers, 80 per cent of them are Tanzanian.

Beginning as an underground acrobatic school in Kinondoni, costumes are handmade in Africa – with different colours and fabrics for each act.

Mr Ruddle said each production has a different taste and a different feel.

“A show in Australia will have over 200 to 250 different costumes – right from the opening of the show to the finale,” he said.

“I want the show to look really African authentic.

“At the same time I want it to be modern, I don’t want it to be too much stereotypical.”

Performers from the circus have gone on to work in Circus Mama Africa, Andrea Heller and Mathias Hoffmanns, Afrika, Afrika Super Circus and more.

Mr Ruddle said previously that he had put all of his heart and passion into the show to make it successful.

“A lot of the shows I’ve done in the past have always used copyright music from other artists,” he said.

“So this time I decided for the first time I really need to do something that is unique.”

The show is made of 70 tonnes of circus equipment, professional sound lighting and stage equipment, elevated seating and a 12 metre high big top tent.

Mr Ruddle said the show was a unique experience for himself, and Australians.

“I hope that the show is very successful in Australia and the audience love what they’re going to see,” he said.

The circus will tour Australia for three years.

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