By Sylvain Fezay
The highly anticipated high-wire balancing act over the river Corrib, as a part of Galway 2020, has once again being cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Galway Community Circus (GCC) had planned the Wires Crossed performance as the result of a European community project in support of mental health for young people.
Ulla Hokkanen, executive Creative Director of Galway Community Circus explained how they have had to revise their plans.
“We were going to have a big festival last August in 2020 with the spectacle, high-wire over the river Corrib. But of course, because of Covid, we were not able to go ahead with this and that was quite difficult. We had to stop the project last March and to let go of the original idea for the event.
“Since then, we have been revising and adapting our plans with our European partners. We are hoping to run some outdoor workshops at the end of April and the month of May and June. Some of it is part of Galway 2020. Some of them are funded by the government of Ireland, it’s called Healthy Ireland. Of course, if Covid allows it,” she said.
Beyond promoting mental wellbeing through the art of funambulism, the event was part of a more general development of the Galway Community Circus in the west of Ireland, with the opening of the Irish centre of funambulism in Galway in 2018 and which will continue after 2020.
Ms Hokkanen said: “For us, it was never about just a year 2020. It was always about what happens during that journey to get to the year 2020, but also what happens after.
“Our partner in this project is called the European Centre for funambulism and they are based in Brussels. They have been running there for 10 years now, delivering workshops and performances. So with this, we have a network of European partners and we have these centres like training locations in different countries and in Ireland. It’s here in Galway and we have the equipment, the facilities to train and practice.” she said.
Ms Hokkanen hopes to return to normal and stressed how more important than ever outdoor activities are.
“People are missing so much of our activities and taking part in a community-based activity that is about connecting with other people and also doing something that takes you away from your house and that is good for your mental health.” she said.
Despite the difficulties and challenges of the last year, the GCC director is still determined and positive about the future and gave more details about the future project.
“We are heartbroken that the events that happened last year but at the same time, we are really determined that there’s a strong legacy of Galway 2020. So we will organize the crossing of the river in July 2022 with a new professional high-wire ensemble. A new company called Bassalto,”
“We held auditions in Brussels for this project. From there, we were told there that the people who were the best suited to work together on this ensemble just happened to be all female. The show will be premiered in Galway and with five female artists,” said Ms Hokkanen.
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