Cirque Africa is a celebration of African culture and colour arriving at Brisbane’s The Roundhouse Theatre on 24 October. A mix of acrobatics and a custom composition of heartbeat-driven African music performed by a live band, it ultimately portrays uplifting stories of family. Rated five stars at the 2017 Adelaide Fringe Festival, the show has been compared to The Lion King on steroids.

The  talented ensemble is composed of 22 performances from across six African countries. They will feature Jean Marc Agbogba from Ivory Coast, a country on the coast of West Africa.

Jean is a professional African dancer who specialises in West Africa Mask dances such as the Echassier Stilt dance, the Masque Saple, and the Zauoli dance.

Performer Yeshewamebrat Meherete, who also goes by Kiacho, from Ethiopia, is also a professional dancer and a hula hoop artist.

Tanzanian neighbours and lifelong friends Omary and Fadhili Ramadhani also join the crew; they balance head t0 head, dependent on each other’s strength and skill.

The cast is rounded out by professional acrobat, performer, producer, and founder of Cirque Africa Winston Ruddle from Zimbabwe, or Papa Africa. Ruddle recruited many of the ensemble’s performers from the acrobatic school he established in Tanzania in 2003, or from the ranks of the Hakuna Matata Acrobats, the largest African acrobatic troupe in Africa.

“I started [the circus school in Dar es Salaam] in 2004, it started as a mistake then it became a profession.

Eventually Cirque Africa was born. Teens now spend a minimum of two years training at the school before becoming part of Cirque Africa or being head hunted by troupes, acts and venues around the world,” Ruddle explains.

“Cirque Africa is a highly visual show – there are no language or religious barriers to enjoying it. It is fresh, funky, bold, cooly urban yet infused with centuries of history, and it’s incredibly fun. It enthralls, and takes your breath away. Our acrobats and dancers will challenge your imagination with their strength and flexibility. And of course, there’s the smile, the most shining, glorious happy smiles you have ever seen,” he said.

Tickets are $89 for adults, $79 for concession card holders, $59 for students, $49 for children under 15, or $189 for a family of 2 children and 2 adults. Bookings can be made online via Cirque Africa’s official website, or here.

Other readers enjoyed our story on local Cirque du Soleil star Daniel Crispin here.