Today, 2 September 2012 in celebration of the London 2012 Games, Central London will be transformed into a pedestrianised paradise, full of surprises and spectacle, as streets are brought to life and iconic landmarks become the playground for some of the world's most exciting contemporary circus performers.
For one day only, Piccadilly Circus, Regent Street, Lower Regent Street, Piccadilly and Waterloo Place will become PICCADILLY CIRCUS CIRCUS, a pop-up circus spectacular.
This extraordinary live event will take place from 13.00 until after dark today, Sunday 2 September 2012 and will feature more than 240 international circus artists comprising 17 nationalities, including aerialists, high wire trapeze artists, hula hoopers, jugglers, stilt acrobats, BMX street dance, tightrope walkers, acrobats, Chinese pole artists, aerial dance performers, contemporary clowns, musicians and a beat boxer.
Piccadilly Circus Circus is one of several high profile events being presented by the Mayor of London and the London 2012 Festival as part of an unprecedented summer of cultural events taking place in every corner of the capital that is showcasing the UK's world leading arts and landmarks when the eyes of the world are on us. It is also supported by the Olympic Lottery Distributor with National Lottery funds and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.
Performances will unfold on twelve specially created stages and structures at street level and above, including a freestanding 13.5 metre-tall circular structure at Waterloo Place that will host flying trapeze artists, Cirk Vost, and a 10 metre rigged goal post spanning Piccadilly that will host nine aerial artists. Roaming performers will also mingle with the crowd as spectators promenade between stages.
The day will culminate at sunset with a dramatic aerial finale in Piccadilly Circus. The LonDon Skyline will be transformed in unforgettable style as French artists' Les Studios de Cirque presents the UK premiere of Place des Anges.
Granted 24 hours parole from heaven, a renegade group of angels play merrily in the sky. Gradually drawn down to the Earth, the angels begin to shed their wings, and feathers begin to fall on the unsuspecting spectators below…
Soaring more than 30 metres over the audience on zip wires strung across Piccadilly Circus, Place des Anges is unlike anything ever before seen in the Capital. It was created by Stéphane Girard and founder of cult circus troupe Archaos, Pierrot Bidon. Place des Anges was the last work Pierrot Bidon created before his death in 2010.
Piccadilly Circus Circus will involve a series of road closures to create a pedestrianised paradise for spectators. Piccadilly Circus itself will be closed to traffic from 04.00 on 1 September to 05.00 on 3 September for the event.
Piccadilly Circus Circus is conceived and created by Crying Out Loud. Curated by Co- Artistic Directors Rachel Clare and Aletta Collins, it features original music by Street Furniture Music.
Piccadilly Circus Circus has been commissioned by the Mayor of London and the London 2012 Festival, with funding from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and the National Lottery through the Olympic Lottery Distributor.
Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London said: "Piccadilly Circus Circus is a truly one-off spectacle, a thrilling highlight of the many free events we're hosting to celebrate the Games. Not many people know that 18th century London was home to modern circus and the first shopping arcades in Britain. So where better to stage this extraordinary event than the West End, the most exciting entertainment and shopping capital in the world today? With the sky as the big top, it'll be one of the greatest shows on earth, so roll up roll up for a thrilling day in this summer like no other."
Ruth Mackenzie, Director, London 2012 Festival said: "The London 2012 Festival has commissioned events across the UK that showcase our world leading artists and much loved landscapes. Piccadilly Circus Circus will be a once-in-a-lifetime event that will make people look at this world renowned part of the Capital in a very different way."
Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport said: "As the London 2012 Festival draws to a close, Piccadilly Circus Circus is set to be one of the most exciting and breathtaking festival highlights yet. The festival has well and truly delivered on its aim to provide 'something for everyone', and to date, 12 million people have seen or taken part in a festival event. I know people will be talking about this amazing circus spectacular, in the heart of capital, for many years to come."