Today, 25th May, the incredible 15-strong Abyssinia group, Circus Abyssinia is hurling into London’s Underbelly Festival in Earls Court tonight with the production running until 18th June 2022. Following their acclaimed production of Ethiopian Dreams, Circus Abyssinia is returning with the exhilarating London premiere of their second production Tulu.
Celebrating the true tale of an Ethiopian icon, charting her rise from humble beginnings to become the first African woman to win Olympic gold, the show sees jaw-dropping performances including the Cyr Wheel, Russian Swing and Contortion.
Co-founded and produced by Bibi Tesfamariam and Bichu Shimellis, who also directs, the 15-strong troupe will showcase incredible talent in the iconic upside down, purple cow, Udderbelly at Underbelly Festival Earl’s Court. There is contortion and rollerblading from Etsegenet Ashenafi and Semeret Getachew, Cyr Wheel from Hannah Tina alongside aerial flight from Bezawit Ashagre. Joining them are hoop-divers and Russian swing artists Behaylu Tesfaye, Cherenet Dereje and Dagmawi Fekeru, who perform awe-inspiring stunts with the youngest members of the troupe, Ezera Nigusse and Alemayehu Mulugeta. Dagmawi also performs Icarian Games with Zenebe Fantu and Betelhem Dejene leads the troupe in stunning displays of hand-vaulting and synchronized acrobatics.
A dazzling display of speed, skill and flight has landed in Earl’s Court. Following their acclaimed production of Ethiopian Dreams, Circus Abyssinia has returned with the exhilarating London premiere of their second production Tulu.
Celebrating the true tale of an Ethiopian Olympic icon, Derartu Tulu, this is an unmissable showcase of superhuman strength. A blend of breathtaking contortion, awe-inspiring acrobatics, and mesmerising fire-juggling with a rocking, exuberant soundtrack.
Derartu Tulu grew up in a tiny village where she tended cattle and lived to run – up and down steep valleys, and over dusty plains where hyenas prowled, she ran alone. With breath-taking displays of circus virtuosity, Circus Abyssinia celebrates the ferocious skill and tenacity of young Derartu: how, unmatched in speed and guile, she chased her dreams all the way to the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and won gold in the 10,000m with a heart racing sprint to the finish.
Derartu Tulu said today: ‘I’m excited and so flattered that Circus Abyssinia has chosen to tell my story I’m very intrigued by the circus arts, which are quite new to Ethiopia, and how they might express and connect with my passion for my sports’.
Bichu Shimellis added: ‘It’s very important to us to share Derartu’s story. ‘Tulu’ is inspired by a true Olympic icon and pays tribute to some of the extraordinary women who have helped shape Ethiopian history. Right now, women in Ethiopia are winning the long fight for equality, and their stories – sadly often ignored by history – need to be known. Derartu is one of the greatest unsung heroines of modern Ethiopia and we are thrilled to invite audiences of the UK to share and celebrate her life and achievements with us.’
Performances run 24 May – 18 June.
Tickers are on sale now at https://www.underbellyfestival.com/events-display/circus-abyssinia-tulu