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Budapest Grand Circus to Help More Than 100 Ukrainian Artists

Hungary Today 2022.03.26.

More than a hundred Ukrainian circus artists have been accepted as refugees by the Budapest Grand Circus, and students from the Kyiv and Kharkiv circus schools can now continue their studies in Budapest.

An extraordinary board meeting was held in the manege of the Budapest Circus on March 17 to discuss the situation of artists, children, parents, and teachers who have fled Ukraine. The full care of the new arrivals, employment, and cooperation between Hungarian and Ukrainian circus schools were discussed at the meeting.

The refugees, among others, came from the Kyiv Academy of Circus and Arts and the Kharkiv Circus Studio.

We are living in a historic situation, never before in circus arts has such a situation arisen, which we are now gathered to analyze,”

said Péter Fekete, State Secretary of Culture, in his opening speech. “We are used to and know that circus art is an art form where the doors are open to each other, and all artists have always felt at home in the Budapest Circus. In a situation of war, these basic characteristics of a key national strategic and cultural institution are reinforced: the doors of the Budapest Circus are open to all artists,” he added.

We have a serious responsibility to set an example, to send messages not only to Hungary but to the whole world.”

Over the past weeks, hundreds of artists from Ukraine have arrived in Hungary: children, parents, art teachers, and art students, Színház Online reports.

Photo by Noémi Bruzák/MTI

Fekete expressed his gratitude to the National Center for Circus Arts, the INspiral Circus Center, the Imre Baross Artist Training Institute, the Recirquel Company, and the Balance Acrobatics & Gymnastics Club for the unique cooperation in the Hungarian circus arts. The State Secretary for Culture also pointed out that there are further opportunities in this unique historical situation. He also stressed that we cannot exclude our Russian artistic colleagues, we must turn to them with the same love as we have done so far: “We must set an example to each other and to the world that within the circus arts we work together with mutual faith, regardless of color, political position, ideology or identity.”

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The staff of the Budapest Circus provides three meals a day for a hundred people, helping with the distribution of large amounts of donations, interpretation, and the smooth running of daily tasks. During their stay, the Circus has two options for adults.

  • One is to volunteer to help the institution under the supervision of young people.
  • The other is to become a formal employee.

The legal framework for employment, as well as notification and administration, is ongoing.

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Dr. Beáta Borsós, Executive Director of the National Center for Circus Arts, explained that when the first groups arrived, a base was set up at the secretariat to register the arrivals. They assessed who could work in what field, and two groups were formed:

  • Teachers who would be involved in the school education
  • Accompanying parents or adults working in other fields who could perform other tasks, including office work.

Kovács said that all the proceeds from the performance of ‘Midsummer Night’s Dreamers’ on March 22 and 23 will be used by the circus to support the artists and art teachers here, especially to provide them with props. They want to create the conditions for them to work, create, and practice in the Artists’ Village and in the rehearsal rooms.

Thank you very much for taking us in and allowing us to live in a peaceful environment where bombs are not falling from the sky. You have welcomed us as if we were relatives, we have everything we need: accommodation, clothes, toys, cleaning products. There is food, too much and too delicious. We don’t want to be a burden, we definitely want to do useful work,”

said the instructors from the Kyiv Academy of Circus and Arts and the Kharkiv Circus Studio.

Photo by Noémi Bruzák/MTI

Kovács also anticipated that on the occasion of World Circus Day, April 16, a joint performance of Ukrainian and Hungarian artists is planned. “I think that creating together and learning from each other is a message for everyone, not only in the circus world but also outside it,” concluded the Director of the Artist Training Center.


This is not the first time that Ukrainian and Hungarian circuses have been linked:

Gábor Dénes Kovács, the director of the Imre Baross Artist Training Institute, recalled that a Hungarian class was trained in Kyiv from September to December, thanks to the National Center for Circus Arts and with the help of Tamás Viczián. In October, the Hungarian audience was able to see the Kyiv Circus and Arts Academy’s production Circle at the Budapest Circus as part of the Synergies series of the Budapest Circus.

The Budapest Circus also organizes various programs for the mental health of refugees: they can visit the Budapest Zoo, the Palace of Wonders, the ElevenPark Playhouse, a fire brigade headquarters where they can see old and new fire engines, a boat trip, and a dog show.

Source: Színház Online

Featured photo by Noémi Bruzák/MTI

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