It’s Circus Time!

Exhibition at Pointe-à-Callière

Relive the greatest moments of the circus from here and abroad
until March 6, 2022

Pointe-à-Callière is shining a spotlight on the circus arts with It’s Circus Time!, the Museum’s all-new exhibition. An engaging look at the fascinating and always surprising world of the circus, from early European and American troupes to today’s over-the-top international shows.

Through generous loans from some twenty institutions in Canada, the United States, and France, the exhibition features over 350 objects on display. Some moving, some completely mind-boggling, they bear witness to the evolution of this living art form that has thrilled Quebec for over 200 years. Costumes, set pieces, works of art, props, a giant scale model, iconic objects, training and backstage equipment—along with supporting archival documents, photos, and videos—take visitors on a journey through time, from England’s first 18th century circuses to today’s gigantic American-style shows. The exhibition also examines the evolution of the circus in Quebec, showcasing seven local troupes that have made names for themselves on today’s international scene while making us all proud!

In a colourful and entertaining setting, It’s Circus Time! awakens a sense of wonder, introducing visitors to an extraordinary heritage. A joyful intermingling of grand spectacle and anecdotes filled with delight, surprise, suspense, laughter, and movement to set the mood throughout the exhibition.

Explore the wonderful world of the circus
Upon entering, the exhibition transports visitors to the earliest days of the modern circus as we know it today. It then introduces a few archetypal circus figures whose mere names awaken childhood memories: the ringmaster, the horseman, the acrobat, the clown, and the tamer. Also featured are certain famous personalities who left their mark on circus history, like Philip Astley, equestrian and father of the modern circus; legendary little person Tom Thumb; the Fratellinis, a trio of internationally renowned clowns; and Jules Léotard, inventor of the flying trapeze, who popularized the bodysuits that acrobats wear and that now bear his name.

Quebec and Montreal circuses in the spotlight
A full floor of the exhibition is dedicated to the evolution of the circus arts in Quebec—from pioneering strongmen, like the famous Louis Cyr, to street performers, the first acrobat families, and modern-day companies whose renown has spread beyond our borders. It’s Circus Time! places a special emphasis on seven Quebec-based troupes: Les 7 Doigts, Flip Fabrique, Machine de Cirque, Cirque Alfonse, Cirque Éloize, Cavalia, and Cirque du Soleil.

Visitors also get to peek behind the scenes of the circus, exploring the art form’s various disciplines, life on tour, the preparation that goes into a performance, and post-circus life. It’s a chance to pay tribute to local artisans and creative artists who have garnered accolades for their savoir-faire and inventiveness in creating shows, designing costumes, and staging circus productions.

A show zone allows visitors to relive emotional high points in the Quebec circus milieu. A celebration of the originality and daring of these troupes that have set today’s international standards!

Play your part in a fun, family-friendly exhibition
Young and old alike are invited to join the circus! Climb into a mini clown car, test your balance and coordination, and try your hand at an interactive game to discover your inner circus artist! These experiences and more promise to make this exhibition a memorable one for the whole family!

Visit Pointe-à-Callière for free through January 2, 2022!
Please make sure to reserve your tickets online prior to your visit.

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