The Greatest Show on Earth


Anna Wagner & Eike Wittrock

Set design and light design

Philippe Quesne

Concept, choreographies and staging by

Antonia Baehr & Valérie Castan, contact Gonzo, Florentina Holzinger & Vincent Riebeek, Eisa Jocson, Maika Knoblich & Hendrik Quast, Meg Stuart, Jeremy Wade, Marcio Canabarro, Emmilou Rößling, Vânia Rovisco, Karol Tymiński, Les Trucs

© Anja Beutler

Can you imagine a circus that brought together performance artists and famous international choreographers? What would the art of the circus reveal about their work? The Greatest Show on Earth returns to the golden age of circus, in the late nineteenth century, when raucous acts followed each other with noise and glitter, when freaks and monsters were exhibited and where the unknown was the most cherished offering for the audience’s pleasure. This show is far from being politically correct, but creates a space of voyeurism and virtuosity. The artists contributing to this colourful and excessive evening already use elements of circus in their own shows: and now, the American choreographer Meg Stuart designs a grotesque training program to survive the future ; the duo Vincent Riebeek and Florentina Holzinger present a high wire act illustrating their artistic collaboration; Valérie Castan and Antonia Baehr explore the monstrous dimensions of the human being: Filipino dancer Eisa Jocson highlights the unavoidable eroticism and exoticism involved in dancing for others; the duo Hendrik Quast and Maika Knoblich perform a dressage act in which they reverse the roles of human and animal; Japanese group Contact Gonzo engages in a fight between man and machine, and their key motif becomes taking risks; and American dancer and choreographer Jeremy Wade and Karol Tymiński save the world in a clownish overture. The circus acts follow one another in an arena designed by Philippe Quesne, accompanied by the Dadaist music of two-piece orchestra Les Trucs. While bodies are exhibited, dressed up and exposed, it is our own relationship to show-business, money and foreignness that is under the spotlight.

30 September – 5 October 2016



Anna Wagner & Eike Wittrock

Set design and light design

Philippe Quesne


Antonia Baehr, Valérie Castan, contact Gonzo, Eisa Jocson, Hendrik Quast, Maika Knoblich, Vincent Riebeek, Florentina Holzinger, Meg Stuart, Jeremy Wade


Les Trucs (Charlotte Simon and Zink Tonsur)


contact Gonzo, Florentina Holzinger, Eisa Jocson, Marcio Canabarro, Maika Knoblich, Hendrik Quast, Vincent Riebeek, Emmilou Rößling, Vânia Rovisco, Karol Tymiński, Jeremy Wade


Jean-Paul Lespagnard, Caroline Creutzburg, Christina Neuss

Set construction

Nanterre-Amandiers Workshops


Nicolle Müller

Head of Production

Eva Lämmerzahl

Performance times

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday at 8:30pm

Saturday at 6pm

Sunday at 3:30pm

Running time (estimated)

1 hour 45 minutes


Plateau grande salle


In French, German and English


Not suitable for audiences under 16 years of age.

Premiered 11 August 2016 at the International Summer Festival Kampnagel, Hamburg (Germany).