Cirque show headlining Spiegeltent at Fringe

05:00 AM, Sep 15, 2013

Cirque du Fringe is being produced for the Rochester festival. (Michael Zirkle/ / Photo courtesy of Fringe)/

Written By Caurie Putnam

About the spiegeltentThe Magic Crystal Spiegeltent will sit at the corner of Gibbs and East Main streets throughout the Fringe. Besides Cirque, the venue also will host silent discos (where you choose from music choices and hear the songs through headphones) at 10 p.m. this Saturday, and Sept. 27 and 28. The structure is made from oak, velvet, mirrors and stained glass — much like the original spiegeltents, first built in Belgium in the 19th century as ornate, traveling show spaces. One of the most famous — known, appropriately enough, as The Famous Spiegeltent — consists of thousands of pieces that are dismantled and reassembled from location to location.
Outside will be the Spiegelgarden, with wine, beer and food on Thursday through next Monday, then again on Sept. 27 and 28. The area will also be used for free outdoor movies (deposit of $20 or a drivers license for the special headphones): Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory next Sunday, The Big Lebowski on Sept. 24 and The Breakfast Club on Sept. 26. The movies start at 7:30 p.m. At 7:30 p.m Sept. 25 will be a Rochester trivia contest.

Cirque du FringeThis is the headline show in the festival’s premiere venue, the Magic Crystal Spiegeltent, which will be set up at the corner of Gibbs and East Main streets. Performances are at 8 p.m. every night of the festival but Friday, when the show will be at 9 p.m. There also will be 2 p.m. performances on Saturday and Sunday, and on Sept. 28. The 8 p.m. Saturday show is sold out. Tickets are $31. There also is an option to reserve a six-person booth for $180. Details and advance tickets are available at

From its home base and training facility in Orlando, Fla., an elite cirque troupe of international aerialists, athletes, magicians and dancers can be dispatched to perform in cities around the nation.

Next week, the performers’ destination will be Rochester.

This is a brand new show just for Rochester,” says John McConnell, executive producer of Cirque du Fringe, which will premiere at the First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival. “It has never been shown or produced before.”

Cirque du Fringe will feature influences from vaudeville, Las Vegas and Europe and is one of the headline acts at this year’s Fringe, which opens Thursday and runs through Sept. 28. The show will be performed 13 times during the festival, and the 8 p.m Saturday performance is already sold out.

It’s a little bit of everything and a little something for everyone,” says McConnell, whose favorite part of the show features athletes performing “rolla bolla,” a strength and high-rising human stacking act.

The show is a great mixture of incredible aerial and novelty acts — and a lot of audience participation,” says McConnell, of Book It Inc., which books the cirque acts, as well as Blues Brothers and other celebrity impersonators, bands and specialty acts for a variety of corporate events and special shows all over the country.

The venue for Cirque du Fringe is a place as unique and one-of-a-kind as the show itself: the Magic Crystal Spiegeltent, from Malle, Belgium. Spiegeltents, Dutch for “mirror tents,” are large, ornate, mirror-adorned, traveling venues that were first built in Belgium in the 1800s.

Very few still exist today. Rochester’s is the first fringe festival in North America to host one. Most are used in fringe and other festivals in Europe.

Our troupe has never performed in a spiegeltent,” McConnell said. “It will be very fun and a totally new experience.”