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Classic and contemporary circus in Budapest

Budapest - Spice of europe
BudapestGreater Budapest

Home of the venerable Municipal Circus, Budapest maintains its long tradition in circus arts. Renowned local dynasties of performers still take their skills around the world, most notably the Richter family behind the Hungarian National Circus. Recently, Budapest’s Recirquel company showcased its cutting-edge contemporary circus show at Edinburgh, with a Hungarian premiere lined up for autumn 2018.

Located beside the zoo, opposite the Széchenyi Baths and the alfresco attractions of the City Park, the Municipal Circus has been woven into Budapest’s urban fabric for generations. Originally founded by one Ede Wulff in 1889, the circus changed hands before being taken over by a stream of colourful impresarios. In 1971, a more solid construction was built, where three or four major productions a year feature top trapeze artistry, acrobatics, juggling and family-friendly fun.


Every two years, the building also hosts the Budapest International Circus Festival, held for the 12th time in 2018 and next due in 2020.

At any given time, several travelling circuses are operating around Hungary, testimony to the long and proud tradition here. Two dynasties stand out in particular: the Richter family, who founded the Hungarian National Circus in 1995, and the Eötvös family, now approaching its centenary in the circus business. The Richters can trace their own history back to 1821 and a circus tent set up by the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. In 2012, dynastic head József Richter passed directorship down to his son, József junior, to oversee the Hungarian National Circus, its 70 permanent staff, 1,500-capacity venue at Szada outside Budapest, and near constant touring schedule.

Also in 2012, artistic director Bence Vági arranged for a group of performers from the world of circus, dance and physical theatre, to create a show for the 20th anniversary of the Sziget Festival. Its success was so immediate that a company was formed, Recirquel, who would soon be performing at Budapest’s prestigious Palace of Arts, Müpa, and at other major cultural festivals around the world. After directing the jaw-dropping closing ceremony at the FINA World Aquatics Championships in Budapest in 2017, involving some 200 circus artists and dancers, Vági took Recirquel to Edinburgh. Presenting its new production ‘My Land’ to sold-out crowds, Recirquel now brings this show to Budapest in the autumn of 2018, a striking fusion of age-old circus skills, contemporary dance movement and the cultural heritage of the Central and Eastern European region.