Fire breathing and aerial stunts return to Philadelphia’s Laurel Hill Cemetery

“No matter how much we give them, the audience always wants more fire,” Lauren Raske, creative director, Ghostly Circus: Tides of the Climate

The 6th annual Ghostly Circus will bring aerial and fire performances back to Laurel Hill Cemetery this weekend. Performers will climb chains, roller skate with fire and other daring feats amongst the tombstones and mausoleums at one of Philadelphia’s most beloved historic sites.

At a recent rehearsal at a warehouse practice space in Kensington, the show’s creative director, Lauren Raske, said the inspiration for this year’s circus comes from Greek mythology’s Prometheus’ gifting of fire to man and the biblical flood story of Noah’s Ark. The resulting conversation between mortals and gods begs the question, can humans reverse the damage they’ve done to the Earth? The Noah character argues vehemently that the mortals deserve another chance to protect their home.

Raske chose the themes, but the show’s acts are the creative works of their performers. “This is a chance to get my effects pedals out and make some really weird sounds with a cello that I may not otherwise,” said Eric Michaels, who performs an original cello piece in the show.

Erin Flanigan, an aerial performer, said the show is really a collaboration between artists. “A lot of my gigs, I’m getting paid for corporate stuff, so it’s somebody else’s vision. At Ghostly Circus, I’m creative and forming relationships, which is what makes it all worth it,” said Flanigan.

The Ghostly Circus runs August 9 & 10.

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