First performed in The Ulster Bank Festival at Queen’s Spiegeltent, Custom House Square, Belfast on 24th November 2008.

Cast & Crew

Director: Paula McFetridge

Performers: Maggie Cronin, Vincent Higgins, Paul Kennedy, Liam McMahon, Patrick O’Reilly, Tanya Wilson,

Musical Direction/Violin: Oleg Pomoronov

Aerial Artist: Kelsey Long

Guitar: Drazen Drakic

Design: Tonic Design

Producer: Hugh Odling-Smee

Administrator: Fionnuala Kennedy

Production Manager: Donal McKendry

Set and Costume Design: Sabine Dargent

Costumier: Rosie Moore

Choreographer: Andrea Da Silva

DSM: Elaine Barnes

ASM: Caroline Curran

Publicity: Crockard Communications

The dark side of circus life, family loyalty and poverty is revealed in Carnival, the riveting new play from Belfast prize-winning author and playwright Lucy Caldwell which premieres as part of Queens Festival from October 24 – November 1. The play is inspired by the incredibly strange but true story of an Italian ‘circus of horrors’ in which teenage girls were alleged to have lived in “inhuman” conditions and forced into dangerous acts with animals, including deadly snakes and flesh-eating piranhas.

In the play two sisters, taken in by a Romany carnival troupe during the Balkan wars of the 1990s, find themselves at the end of the road in Belfast in 2008 and at the centre of a sick barter between two rival sides of a family. The carnival troupe is disintegrating, in more ways than one, from poverty, discrimination and dying customs and soon find out that pride is not a sellable commodity.

But leaving the life – even a poor life – that you’re only ever known is never easy and Caldwell’s first play to be premiered in Belfast promises a theatrical experience that will provoke questions as well as entertains.

One of the most spectacular shows at this year’s Belfast Festival is Carnival — a circus extravaganza set in the splendid surroundings of the Speigeltent. It’s the world premiere of a new play by Belfast
writer Lucy Caldwell. Aged just 26, Lucy has already written an award-winning drama which last year was co-produced by Druid Theatre Company and London’s Royal Court Theatre…
“We tell stories about our lives to remind ourselves where we are and who we are. I consider myself a storyteller, and I hope Carnival will be a ripping yarn.”

GRANIA McFADDEN Belfast Telegraph